Thematic Analysis Essay

Thematic Analysis The Rain Came is a short story by a renowned African writer Grace Ogot and is developed on a cultural background of an ethnic community (the Luo) living in Kenya. Grace Ogot tries to picture the culture of the Luo people hence enlightens the readers on how the traditional people believed in unsubstantiated, rootless activities with no rational judgment. Ah-Bah’s Money is a story by Catherine Lim and is developed on family dynamics with Ah Bah as the main character. Various conflicts are arising from the two stories such as being versus being, society versus being, being versus nature and being versus self. Also, the writers use story elements such as conflict, actions of a protagonist, symbolism, figurative language, and actions of other important characters to communicate their ideas.

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Grace Ogot and Catherine Lim make several comments on conflicts between obligations to family members or society and individual happiness or fulfilment. Conflict arises when the Luo people are undergoing a heart-rendering situation caused by the lack of rain. At any cost, Labongo, the chief of the community, is expected to find a solution to help “rescue” the village from drought. On the other hand, conflict in Catherine Lim’s story arises when Ah Bah, is torn between not concealing money in inconspicuous places and living a miserable life (Lim 50). Catherine portrays Ah Bah as a pitiful and miserable individual who is corrupted by his sad family background.

Throughout the entire story by Grace Ogot, the four types of conflicts presented in the story are being vs. nature, being vs. being, being vs. society as well as being. The being versus being conflict is portrayed by Labongo who wants water for his village and does not want to lose his only daughter. Although Labongo is the bravest man in the village, he is torn up on which is the best decision to make; whether to let his village die from hunger or sacrifice his only daughter. The being versus society conflict is evident in Oganda who did not want to die, and no one made an attempt to her life. Oganda knew she had to die for everyone in the village to live and nobody in the village attempted to sacrifice themselves on her behalf or else find another means to get water (Gale 111).

Regarding the being versus nature conflict, rain was a precious commodity the village needed to survive. Letting Oganda go was worth it since the town contained hunger-stricken individuals and rain was all they needed to survive as they would grow crops and feed the animals. The Luo people have to sacrifice one of the village members to the lake monster to get rain. The most prominent conflict in Catherine Lim’s story is the being vs. society (family). Ah Bah is conflicted on whether to hide money from his father or live a healthy life like other people; if Ah Bah hides cash from his father, he will be forced to live a miserable life.

Catherine Lim and Grace Ogot also use actions of a protagonist to communicate their ideas. In The Rain Came by Catherine, the protagonist is Oganda while in Ah Bah’s Money, the protagonist is Ah Bah. Ah Bah is a secretive, native individual made to keep money hidden from his dad in places like calendars as well as old newspaper stacks. Ah Bah confides to his mother who betrays him by stealing money and uses it for gambling. Catherine portrays Ah Bah as pitiful due to his troubled family background. Ah Bah’s father would become aggressive and sullen when drunk. Therefore, his son was always terrified of him. On the other hand, Grace Ogot uses Oganda as the protagonist of the story. Oganda is a brave girl who is to be sacrificed to end the drought in the village. Nonetheless, on the day of the sacrifice, Osinda rescued Oganda and took her to safety. After taking Oganda to safety, the rains came down which is evident that all the gods wanted was an act of bravery from Oganda (Gale 116).

Moreover, both writers use the actions of other famous characters to develop their stories. In Grace Ogot’s novel, other important characters are Osinda, Miya and Labongo. Oganda’s mother, Miya, was upset because the loss of her daughter was imminent and also felt honoured as she was the mother of the great sacrifice. Labongo is the chief of the village as well as Oganda’s father. In the Catherine Lim’s story, other important characters used in developing the story are Ah Bah’s mother who was a gambling addict and Ah Bah’s father who was an alcohol addict. The authors also use symbolism in communicating their ideas. In Ah-Bah’s Money, money connotes greediness. On the other hand, in The Rain Came, the author likens Oganda and her parents’ relationship to cooking stones.

Overall, both stories make good use of conflict and other story elements to communicate their ideas. Ah-Bah’s Money is an exciting drama with the Ah Bah as the main character who is forced to hide money from his alcohol addict father. The Rain Came is a story on the strong beliefs in the customs of the Luo community in Kenya.

Works Cited

Gale, Cengage Learning. A Study Guide For Grace Ogot’s “The Rain Came”. Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016. Lim, Catherine. The Best Of Catherine Lim. Heineman Asia, 2011.

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