Book: The Lion and the Jewel

Author: Wole Soyinka

Rating: 4.5/5

The Lion and the Jewel-Wole Soyinka

The Lion and the Jewel The Lion and the Jewel is a play that moves from act 1 (Morning) to the last act (Night). Act 1 starts by introducing us to Sidi and Lakunle. Sidi and Lakunle have an argument because the latter tells the former to change the way she dresses and to stop carrying heavy loads on her neck. The argument engrosses as Lakunle tells Sidi that she has smaller brain than him and that shortly all women will be replaced by machines. Shortly after, Lakunle asks Sidi to marry him and tells her that it is helpful if a man has a woman to stand by him. Sidi responds to him by saying that she will marry him whenever he wants but he has to pay a full pride-price. Lakunle refuses adding that he does not want her to be a property to him. Because Lakunle stupidly steals her a kiss, she complains about his strange way of kissing, so Lakunle calls her uncivilized and primitive. Later on, Lakunle encounters again with Sidi who is accompanied by some other girls. These girls start to mock Lakunle and calling him names. While drinking and dancing, Lakunle accidently hits a girl with a bottle and gets punished by Baroka (the lion) who suddenly changes his mind to honor the stranger ( Lakunle). The story flows from Act 1 to Act 2 (Noon). While in the first act Lakunle is the only man who is interested in Sidi, Act 2 brings about a new interested man, Baroka, who entrusts his most senior wife to persuade Sidi to marry him. In this act, there is a conflict between Lakunle and Sadiku (Baroka’s wife) since both try to persuade Sidi to be part of their family. Whenever one ceases to persuade Sidi, the other gets hopeful. Lakunle tries to show Sidi the drawbacks of being simply another wife, whereas Sadiku keeps telling Sidi the advantages of being Baroka’s last wife. Act 2 ends with Sadiku telling Baroka that she has failed her mission and adds that Sidi believes that Baroka only wants her because he is jealous of her. Act 3(Night) begins with Sadiku’s last mission to get Sidi to pay a visit to Baroka. Baroka tells Sadiku that he has lost his manhood but asks Sadiku for secrecy even though he is positive that she will not keep the secret. Baroka has done that on purpose but Sadiku does not realize it and runs straight to Sidi to tell her. Because Sidi gets happy with the news about Baroka, she pays him a visit, but she encounters a nasty surprise. When she reaches Baroka’s compound, she realizes that Baroka has successfully lured her to take away her womanly innocence. She cries in despair but later gets happy with the thought of marrying the lion who has given her strength. Lakunle, on the other hand, loses his one love he has dedicated so hard to make his wife.

Social/Historical context:

This book was written during the era of colonization. The review on this book will offer further information needed.

Writing Style:

Simple and persuasive

My Thoughts:

This book expresses all the conceptions or misconceptions of the African and European ways.

Book Reviewed by William Patrick Resende Moreno

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