Ambiguous Adventure Summary

Ambiguous Adventure Summary

Ambiguous Adventure, was first published in 1963. The protagonist of the book, Samba Diallo is Diallobe's spiritual heir. To prepare for his role as spiritual leader, Samba is sent to Thierno to learn the customs and traditions of the position he is to inherit. He teaches Samba the didactics and teachings of the Koran. He is a stern and demanding teacher and Samba is often exhausted after his lessons. Samba is being groomed to take over Thierno's position one day.

Diallobe faces poverty and starvation as a consequence of French colonialism. The French build schools around Senegal and force the people to attend these schools in an effort to encourage the adoption of French culture. Most of the elders of the village are against the schools, including Thierno. However, the Most Royal Lady of Diallobe, Samba's aunt persuades Thierno to let Samba attend a French school so he can learn the sophisticated European ways and bring it to Senegal. Samba completes his training under Thierno and leaves to attain his Western education at the French schools.

In school Samba excels in his lessons, his thoughtful and analytical nature steer him towards trying to understand western ideals and values. Samba comes to assimilate to these ideals and he concludes that he can practice his religion whilst still adopting a different culture. He also believes that this can ultimately benefit his people. After finishing school, Samba expresses his desire to study abroad. His father is reluctant, fearing that Samba would eventually abandon his culture. However, Father Lacroix, convinces his father that it is important for Samba to go out into the world and find his own way.

In the second part of the novel, Samba is in Paris. There he studies Philosphy and learns about every kind of religion and ideology. The more he studies the more he feels that he is abandoning his faith. He finds himself coming to understand and accept European capitalism and atheism. Samba's father writes to him, pleading with him to come home before he completely rejects his faith and culture. Samba heeds his father's words, fearing the same outcome. However, when he returns to Senegal he finds that he no longer belongs with the people of Diallobe. In the years that he has been away Thierno had passed away. Faced with his growing disillusionment and ambiguity, he decides to visit Thierno's grave.

Samba goes to visit Thierno's grave with a man known as 'the fool', he was an old student of Thierno's who suffered a mental breakdown whilst studying abroad and never came to be his old self again. At the grave, Samba is unable to pray, his feelings of ambiguity and the sense of hypocrisy that came with it didn't allow him to. The fool, on seeing Samba's unwillingness to pray is enraged, convinced that he is deliberately disrespecting their teacher. He stabs Samba in the chest. Samba dies at the foot of Thierno's grave. He sees an afterworld, a place where he hears that there exists no hypocrisy or ambiguity where one's faith and culture are the same. In his death Samba finds peace, putting to rest the warring forces of his faith and his ideals.

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