Updated date:

Analysis of the Play: 'The Black Hermit'

The Black Hermit is a play written by Ngugi wa Thiong’o. It was first published in 1968. The play was first played out on November 1962 by Makerere College Students Dramatic Society at the Ugandan National Theatre. The cast included members from Uganda, Tanzania, Britain, Malawi, Kenya and India.

The play highlights various problems or challenges the newly formed African countries under a new local government faced after gaining independence. It is worth noting that successive African governments have never fully solved the issues that were raised by the general public immediately after their countries gained independence. Tribalism, land clashes and inequalities are some of the problems that still face African countries in the 21st century despite enjoying over twenty years of self-rule.

The Play's Structure and Characters

The play is divided into three parts: Act One, Act Two and Act Three. Both the acts have three scenes. The first and third acts occur in the countryside while the second one in town.

The characters in the play both the major and minor ones are: Remi, Thoni, Nyobi, Omange, Pastor, Jane, Leader, Elder, 1st Elder, 2nd Elder, Elders, 1st Neighbour, 2ndNeighbour, Woman and All.

Act One

In the first scene, Thoni is kneeling on the floor near the hearth in the hut sorting out beans spread in a basin. Nyobi, her mother-in-law enters carrying a water-barrel which she puts down in a corner.

She asks Thoni if she has finished sorting out the beans. Thoni replies they are about ready. Nyobi notices Thoni has been crying. She asks her whether she has been crying which forces Thoni to turn her head aside. Nyobi reflects how the world has changed. Sons no longer respect their mothers and carry out their wishes. She wonders why her son has never replied to her numerous letters.

She tells Thoni it pains her to see her maiden years wasting away. She asks her to get another husband even if the man will not marry her, she should at least ensure she’s impregnated. Thoni responds she won’t allow herself to become a public ball or a common whore. She will wait for her husband even if it will take over twenty years.

Nyobi says she has seen a lot. She has seen the sun rising and setting, seasons followed by many others including birth and death alternating. She has tasted the pain of beatings and experienced the pangs of birth and death’s blow. She says she has learned the joys of a woman. However, she wonders why her son has been silent for many years. Thoni tells her mother-in-law it is not her (mother-in-law) he hates but her (Thoni’s) flesh and bed.

They hear a voice outside the hut. They become excited. It must be Remi. Their excitement is diminished when they realize the voice is that of an elder. Thoni exits after the elder enters. The elder influences Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine and the man who will carry it to town. He tells Nyobi he has been sent by the elders for they believe once Nyobi blesses the medicine it would aid in bringing Remi back to the village.

After the elder exits, Nyobi looks for a shawl. She believes she has done unchristian thing by blessing a traditional medicine. Will God punish her by not bringing Remi back because she has accepted to bless a traditional practice that is against Christian teachings? She must see the pastor and urge him to go to the city to convince Remi to return to his homeland.

In Scene II, the elders and their leader have gathered in a meeting ground in an open area. They are discussing the difficulties their tribe is undergoing and the fact their tribe isn’t represented in the current government. For instance, the leader says that independence hasn’t benefited their tribe. Instead, it has brought them heavier and heavier taxation. “We are told about roads, about hospitals; but which hungry man wants a road...” He tells them they should make sure once Remi returns he should not be influenced by his mother or the pastor.

In Scene III, Nyobi is running after the pastor to exhort him to go to the city. At first, the pastor refuses. After a while, the realization he’s growing old leads him to accept Nyobi’s plea. He acknowledges the church needs a young blood which is energetic. He agrees to go to the city to look for Remi.

analysis-of-the-play-the-black-hermit

Act Two

In this act we come across Remi. He is working in the city in an oil company as a clerk. He is seeing a woman, Jane, who is of European descent.

In the first scene, Jane finds Remi lying on the sofa. She asks him why he is not ready for a night out. He replies he is tired. Jane laughs reminding him how in the previous year he used to go from one nightclub to another like someone who was haunted, running away from something.

In Scene II, Omange, Remi’s friend in the city visits him. After the greetings, the discussion focuses on politics. In Scene II, we learn Remi had fallen in love with Thoni but as shy as he was then he found it difficult to let her know how he felt. He left the country to go to the city to study. Later, he is sent a letter inviting him to attend the wedding of his older brother and Thoni. His elder brother dies six months later after the wedding in a car accident. His father having learnt the death of his firstborn becomes ill. The shock of his son's death leads to his demise a few days later. As is the customary law of Marua tribe, Remi has to inherit his brother’s wife. He tells Omange he has a wound in his heart, and that wound is a woman–Thoni.

As they are discussing about Thoni who ‘broke’ Remi’s heart, the leader of the elders and two elders come into limelight. Omange leaves at Remi’s instruction to find Jane to prevent her from going to Remi’s room. The elders plead with him to return to their land factoring their tribe isn’t represented in the government. Since Remi is educated, he is better suited as a political leader to steer his tribe in the political direction. Remi refuses their offer and pleadings, insisting he will remain in the city. They tell him they’re hopeful he will return to his land. They leave behind a bundle wrapped with banana leaves which is the traditional medicine.

When the elders have left, the pastor enters. He too wants Remi to return because his mother, his wife and the church needs him back. Remi offers the pastor various reasons he does not want to go back. All of a sudden, he turns to the pastor with an ironic smile and tells him, “Go back to the village. Tell the elders this; if they need me, I’ll come. If you Christians want me, I’ll not fail you. If my mother calls for me, I’ll not disappoint her hopes. Go and tell it to all: The ridges, hills and the mountains. Tell it to all the land.” This ironic smile, as we’ll find later will spell doom because the events that will unfold will result from this simple yet drastic action.

The pastor leaves behind his Bible. Remi weighs the Bible and the bundle wrapped in banana leaves. He utters, “These…These…pieces of superstition meant to lure me home. Shall I find my peace and freedom there? These are part of me, part of my life, my whole life.”

In Scene III, Jane pleads with Remi to go with her to his homeland. Remi tells her she will not be able to adapt to the traditions of his tribe neither does she understand the sufferings his people are going through. She tells him she will try to adjust to the ways of his people but Remi refuses. At her insistence, Remi reveals to her that he has a wife. This sets a confrontation between the two of them. It is at this point we learn further the characteristics of Remi from Jane which offers an insight of how his attitude/behavior leads to the catastrophic events that will unfold when he returns to his homeland. Jane tells him to go back to his little wife and storms out of the room.

analysis-of-the-play-the-black-hermit

Act Three

Nyobi and Thoni are in the hut tiding while talking about Remi’s return. The pastor had communicated Remi’s message that he will come back to his homeland. Thoni tells Nyobi she fears Remi will be different. She tells her of a terrible dream she had the previous night. In the dream she saw a man who had a face like that of an insane man. Nyobi too had the same dream.

Remi delivers his speech in his village on the same day he arrives. Nonetheless, his speech is not received well by the villagers who had gathered to hear it. Even when alone with his mother, wife, the pastor and Omange; he doesn’t utter nice words to his mother and wife.

Thoni leaves without anyone realizing she’s not in their presence. This is after Remi stating, “I was wrong to marry her who was another’s wife, a woman who did not love me.” Nyobi is the first to realize her disappearance. She goes out to look for her.

In Scene II, a village woman is persuading Thoni not to leave. Thoni is adamant she will leave. She tells the woman she longs the country she had experienced when she was young. It is a country where “there is no light and no people. It’s all darkness, swallowing you wholly so that no man from this world may know or recognize you.” She leaves despite the village woman’s insistence.

In Scene III, the beating of drums is heard followed by men carrying a dead body. Remi kneels beside her, a broken man. He wishes she had sent him the letter earlier. He was handed the letter by the village woman who had persuaded Thoni not to leave. When he asked her whose letter it was, she replied, “She was kind. She who was true. A tender sapling growing straight though surrounded with weed.” Confused, he asked her again. She responded angrily, “The best woman the village had ever borne. Many curses on you.”

As he stares at the dead body, he utters, “I came back to break Tribe and Custom, instead, I’ve broken you and me.”

How To Find A Theme

Themes

1. Poverty

When Remi was studying in the city, he influenced the elders to support the Africanist Party which would bring the needed changes after leading the country into independence. However, it has done nothing to tackle the problems faced by the people after it attained the government’s seat. The leader tells the elders during their meeting, “…Because we love that soil, we, years ago, agreed to fight the white man and drive him away from the land. Today the same love of our soil makes us turn to the only educated man in the country. Look at our country since independence. Where is the land? Where is the food? Where are the schools for our children?” Furthermore, he says uhuru (independence) has not brought them anything to be proud of. In its place it has brought them heavier and heavier taxation. The promise of roads and hospitals are useless when people are hungry. When people are over-taxed, it would be difficult for them to meet their basic needs let alone secondary needs.

analysis-of-the-play-the-black-hermit

2. Cultural Practice - Wife Inheritance

One of the noticeable traditions practiced in Marua tribe is wife inheritance. This involves a man inheriting the wife of his deceased brother. When Thoni’s husband dies in a car accident, Remi is reminded of the Marua’s custom - he should inherit (marry) his brother’s wife. Remi refuses because he believes Thoni had never loved him. Instead, she had accepted to get married to his elder brother. This doesn’t go well with his parents. His mother weeps while his father though a Christian wails and curses him. The elders implore him to obey the tribe’s custom by agreeing to his father’s wishes. They remind him when he asked them to join the Africanist Party, they agreed. Now, it was his turn to obey theirs.

He runs away to the city not wanting to share the same bed with Thoni. He believes Thoni had never loved him. He tells Omange, Thoni knew he loved her before she agreed to be married by his older brother. We find Remi’s hatred for Thoni is misplaced. Remi never told Thoni he loved her. Without having been told how would she know the feelings she had for Remi was reciprocated by him?

3. Conflict between Religion and Politics

When the elders meet to discuss the difficulties their tribe is undergoing and which elders should go to the city to convince Remi to return; the leader utters something profound before releasing the elders. He says, “…When Remi comes back, he must not fall under the influence of his mother, or the pastor..."

They don’t want Remi to lean on the Christianity (religion) side. Their intention is for their tribe to be represented in the government. The only person who can represent them in the government is Remi due to his level of education. He’s the only who can steer the tribe in the political direction.

When the pastor returns to the country, he visits Nyobi and Thoni. He tells Nyobi, “… But be prepared. He must be kept away from politics. Away from the influence of tribal elders.”

It is evident that one group does not want the other group to influence Remi to join their camp. Each camp has its own expectations for Remi.

4. Tribalism

Marua tribe appears like a non-existent tribe in a self-ruling or republic country. The tribe isn’t represented in the government which poses various problems in terms of economic, social and technological development. The lack of a representative in the national government is poised out by the leader of the elders. “Look at our country since independence. Where is the land? Where is the food? Where are the schools for our children? Who of our tribe is in the government? Who of our own flesh and blood can be seen in long cars and houses built of stone? Our tribe waits under a government composed of other tribes.”

The elders want Remi to return to his homeland so that he can steer his tribe in the political direction. They want him to represent them in the government. The fact the other tribes are represented in the government except Marua tribe questions the government’s stand on not favoring any or some tribes against others. In addition, no one from Marua tribe has a house made of stone or drives a long car. This elicits jealousy among the Marua people that the other tribes are well-off than them.

Furthermore, in his speech, Remi was aware of the troublesome fact the country was divided on tribal lines. He utters, "Go now dear elders. And remember what I told you. We must all turn to the soil. We must help ourselves build more schools; turn our hearts and minds to create a nation, then will tribe and race disappear, And man shall be free..."

When Remi is left alone with Nyobi, Thoni, Pastor and Omange, he tells Nyobi, his mother, "I will no longer be led by a woman, priest or tribe. I'll crush tribalism beneath my feet, and all the shackles of custom..."

Lastly, when discussing the state of affairs affecting their nation, Omange tells Remi, "...But take tribalism for instance. Since Independence tribalism and tribal loyalties seem to have increased. And even leaders who were the supporters of the Africanist Party are the very ones who are encouraging these feelings."

5. Death/Suicide

Thoni is a strange woman according to the village woman who persuaded her not to leave. This strangeness results from Thoni desiring to return to the state she experienced when she was young. A state where there is complete darkness. She tells the woman, “… I am not afraid. I’ll go through the world, a maid flouted by both fate and man. And I’ll go to a country where I’ve many times thought of going. There, there is no light and no people. It’s all darkness, swallowing you wholly so no man from this world may know or recognize you. I’ll go there, I shall never meet anyone who’ll see me and pause to whisper: There is a girl no man will touch. There is stillness, all stillness in that country which I saw only once when I was a child. I was then small–very small.”

She desires to be dead than alive because in death she won’t experience any form of suffering or pain e.g. rejection from her husband. Using darkness as a symbolism, the playwright emphasizes Thoni’s desire to depart from this ‘hurtful’ world. In death she won't know anyone nor will anybody recognize her because it's something she desires - no one to take notice of her.

analysis-of-the-play-the-black-hermit
analysis-of-the-play-the-black-hermit

6. Haunted/Hermitage

According to the events that have unfolded in the play leading to the climax, a hermit is a person who runs away from something. In the play we can locate Remi as a hermit. The fact he is termed a black hermit indicates his origin is black - African. He ran away from his village to the city, not to live a solitary life but to escape from what he considered as a prison life in the village.

Jane reminds Remi how the previous year he was going from one nightclub to another as if he were being hunted, running away from something. We find out during his conversation with Omange that he ran away from the country because he’d a wound in his heart and the wound was a woman - Thoni. The fact he was forced to marry her, the woman he believes betrayed her love for him by accepting to be married by his brother made him flee to the city. He tells Omange he was trapped by his tribe, forced to marry the woman he believes never loved him the reason he stopped his engagement in political activities. Omange asks him whether he told her that he loved her. Remi replies that he knew she didn’t love him. But, the letter Thoni wrote before she committed suicide did elaborate her love for him. It is acceptable to guess and justify the guess as a fact that the letter clearly explained Thoni's love for Remi even before Remi's brother had asked her for her hand. She had waited for him to tell her that he loved her but as shy as he was then, he never told her.

Kneeling beside her wife’s dead body, Remi says, “And she is gone now, gone from me and my heart, with her words of love still ringing in my heart. Dear Remi - I loved you all of my life. Oh, what have I done? Thoni, what have I done?”

7. Superstition

The elder who was sent by the other elders to convince Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine told Nyobi, "Thank you wife of Ngome, may God guard his spirit. He was a man, oh yes your husband was, before the white-man stole his heart and turned him into a Christian. The gods themselves are jealous, they only take away the choicest in the land, leaving the weak and the feeble." The elders believe the reason Nyobi's husband died is because he had accepted to convert to Christianity, a white-man's religion, thus angering the gods who passed their ultimate judgment - his death.

Also, we find another example of superstition during the elder's meeting. The leader tells the elders, "You all know what a fine man his father was, before he came under their influence and lost all his manhood. He never became himself, except he was near death..." Thus, the leader is implying Nyobi's husband lost all his senses including reasoning when he accepted to become a Christian.

Lastly, the elders believe it was the evil eyes of their neighbors (the surrounding tribes) which spoiled Remi's mind. We know Remi wasn't bewitched. He ran away from the village to the city because he was forced to accede to Marua traditional practice of inheriting his brother’s wife. The elder who had visited Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine told her, "You know what our neighbours are. The tribes that surround us don't want to see us rise. Who knows? You are there. I, your neighbour, here can't I use black magic to turn your mind against the tribe and this hearth?"

8. Nationalism

Nationalism refers to one's love (loyalty/patriotism) for his/her country. This entails an individual and government working together towards realistic development of their country and ensuring it heads in the right direction in respect to individuals' interests (rights and freedoms) and national (government) interests.

Remi was instrumental in convincing the elders of his tribe to join the Africanist party. He believed the political party would steer the country into positive development once it attains the government's seat from the colonial regime. However, Remi's hope and dream of a better future for his country didn't materialize. The nation is divided on tribal and racism line which threaten the existence of the newborn nation.

The elders joined the political party in the hope the new local government will deal with issues affecting the people of the country including their tribe. They thought by joining the Africanist party, the new government would deal with the problem of taxation by lowering it. However, the government has done nothing to deal with the issues that are affecting the tribe.
The leader asks his fellow elders during their meeting, "What has Uhuru brought us?"

They answer, "Nothing."

He tells them, "Not nothing. It has brought us heavier and heavier taxation...When we all stood solidly behind the Africanist Party we thought that once Uhuru was gained, taxation, for the poor, would stop."

The Marua tribe’s individual and communal interests weren't taken into account. They were sidelined by the government in various aspects of development because they lack someone from their tribe to represent them in the national government. The leader of the elders points to the elders the saddening fact about the state of their country. "Look at our country since Independence. Where is the land? Where is the food? Where are the schools for our children..."

Lastly, Omange isn't happy with their government. While Remi still supports the government, Omange is of a different view. He feels the government isn't fulfilling its mandate. For instance, the government has made all strikes illegal. This means people can't fight for their rights when they feel they are oppressed by the government or companies they're working for. He says, "...Since independence tribalism and tribal loyalties seem to have increased. And even leaders who were supporters of the Africanist Party are the very ones who are encouraging these feelings. Do you think these people would pass an effective piece of legislation when it would touch the very taproot of their power?"

Literary Devices with Mr. Taylor

9. Position of Women in the Society

This refers to how women are portrayed in the Society. In Black Hermit, we find that in Marua tribe women can’t choose for themselves who will marry them. It's a decision that is made by their parents as dictated by the tribe’s traditional practices. When a woman's husband dies, she is married to her husband's brother. Thus, the wife is inherited by the husband's brother. The woman can't object because the laws of the tribe don't allow it. Remi is forced to marry Thoni since his elder brother (Thoni’s husband) died in a car accident.

Another point to consider is that women aren't accorded the respect they deserve. Even though Remi felt he was forced to marry Thoni, it doesn't translate to him disrespecting his mother. Furthermore, publicly disowning Thoni as his wife is lack of respect, consideration and in turn it humiliated Thoni who later committed suicide as a result of it. Remi tells his mother in front of Thoni, the pastor and Omange: "And you mother. I turn to you. What did you do to me? You harped on my weakness and made me marry a woman whose love and loyalty will ever lie with those in grave." He further says, "I will no longer be led by a woman, priest or tribe. I'll crush tribalism beneath my feet, and all the shackles of custom. I was wrong to marry her who was another's wife, a woman who did not love me."

Nyobi tells her son, "Everything is not tribe and custom. Your mother, your wife or child are not merely tribe. Search your heart. You have never known her." Despite attaining education to university level, Remi treats women as ‘weaker sex’ who are unfit to lead a tribe or a group of people. We find Remi has preconceived ideas about Thoni which stems from the notion that Thoni accepted to be married by Remi's older brother and not him.

Another consideration is that women cannot inherit their husband's property. Mothers and their daughters aren't afforded that privilege. Nyobi tells the elder who was sent by the other elders to ask Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine: "...My first son...was taken from me, like that, for no reason a man could divine. And not a year had passed since he brought us joy by marrying a young girl, the best in the land. Our tears had hardly dried before my man follows. And now, Remi, the only man left to head this house, went and died to us in the city."

Men are considered as the final decision makers. While their wives' decisions may be taken into account, what they say is final.

Questions & Answers

Question: What is the role of women in the play "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: The major role of women in the play is that they serve as custodians or guardians. When Remi ran away from his wife (Thoni), Nyobi took her under her wings and began taking care of her. The pastor told Nyobi God had brought Thoni to her care to lead her to Christianity.

Question: What message do we get from the play, "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: There are plenty of messages that are derived from the play. One of them is not to base one's belief on assumption. Remi believed Thoni never loved him but at the end he learns Thoni had always loved him. He should have told her that he loved her and ask her if she feels the same for him to be sure whether what he believes to be true or not is the case.

Another thing to be learned from the play is that tribalism rips a nation apart. It leads to divisions, hatred and unhealthy competition for power. The elders wanted Remi to represent them because their tribe wasn't represented in the government. Tribalism never works for the good of a nation.

We also learn the true essence of love. Love means you're faithful to a person and committed in the relationship or marriage till the end. Even though Remi had run away from his wife, she still remained royal to the marriage. Her mother-in-law, Nyobi, tries to convince her to get married to any man. Or, if no man would want to marry her, she should at least ensure she's impregnated since a woman without a child is not a woman according to the Marua people. But, she said she'll wait for her husband even if it will take more than twenty years. Being faithful is one of the indicators of true love.

Another thing we learn is that you can't escape from your past. You have to face it. You have to deal with the problem or challenge that you're facing. A person can't escape a problem which he can only solve. You have to find a way to deal with it.

Another one is that we shouldn't allow politics and religion to blind us to reality. We can become religious to the extent the kind of reaction or attitude we display towards others isn't justifiable. The differences between the elders and the pastor complicated matters instead of lessening them. One can be religious and a politician but shouldn't be biased against others because of the religion he professes or the title he has in the government.

Lastly, as individuals, we can never solve every problem or challenge that faces our community. The ones we can, we should solve them. A president can lessen corruption in his country but he can't get rid of it. At the end of the book, we learn Remi learns that while he tried to fight against tribalism and conflict between politics and religion; he had in fact ignored one thing that really mattered a lot to him which he didn't realize then - Thoni. He was able to deal with tribalism but what about his wife committing suicide?

The above are some of the things we learn from the play.

Question: Which conflicts do we get from the play, "The black hermit"?

Answer: There are several: Conflict between the elders (politics) and the church (religion). The elders don't want Remi to be influenced by the church (the pastor and Nyobi) while the pastor tells Nyobi when Remi comes back to the village he shouldn't be influenced by the elders.

There's conflict between Remi and Thoni. Remi misunderstood and misinterpreted Thoni. He thought and believed so Thoni never loved her the reason she got married to his brother. Remi ran to the city because he didn't want to share the same bed with the woman he thought never loved him. But we find Thoni used to love her, and was willing to wait for her husband to come back even if it took twenty years. Obviously, Remi's assumption about Thoni was misplaced.

There is conflict between Christianity and Traditional Practices. When Nyobi blessed the traditional medicine, she began having second thoughts. She thought God would not bring Remi back because she accepted to bless a practice that is against Christian teachings. Thus, she hurriedly for her scarf in search of her pastor to urge him to go to the city. We find Christianity doesn't merge with traditional beliefs of Maria tribe and vise versa. The elder tells Nyobi the gods took her husband, the finest in the land, because he had accepted to be converted into Christianity, a white man's religion.

There is the conflict between Remi and Jane. When Jane learned the truth that Remi was a married man, and that he had hidden from her this fact, made Jane to hate him. She left Remi's room an angry woman because Remi had betrayed her trust. He had lied to her.

There is the conflict between Thoni and herself. This is an internal conflict. While she told Nyobi she would wait for her husband no matter how long it took, still she wanted to be dead than alive. She believed in darkness - death - no one would recognize her and she wouldn't need to talk to anyone. She would only be by herself. When Remi disowned her in front of people, she went to an undisclosed area and committed suicide.

Question: What is the relevance of the "The Black Hermit" play in the society?

Answer: The issues discussed in the play are relevant in modern society (African societies).

Tribalism is prevalent in African societies which divide the countries on tribal lines including employing people in government offices on tribal allegiance.

In the modern world, people still hold beliefs in superstition. There are people who believe traditional medicines can do wonders (supernatural powers).

Nothing has changed much since African countries gained independence. For instance taxes. People are being imposed with heavy taxes. School buildings aren't enough, roads are still poor, hospitals aren't enough including other basic social services. One can't say there is much to brag concerning our independence.

Traditional practices are still practiced in African countries that are outdated e.g. wife inheritance and women not eating certain parts of chicken or specific foods.

Question: What is the language used in the play, the Black Hermit?

Answer: The author has used both formal and informal language. Most vocabularies used in the play is formal, language that is mostly used in institutions. Only once has the author used informal language or mother tongue. This occurs when Thoni tells her mother-in-law she had a weird dream. She saw the face of an 'irimu.' Irimu is a Kenyan Kikuyu word which means crazy or insane person.

The author has also used simple language or vocabularies which are easier to read.

Lastly, he has mostly used concrete words. These are nouns which a person can use his/her five senses to touch, see, hear, taste and feel. He has rarely used abstract nouns which you can't use your five senses. For instance, the pastor who left behind him a Bible when he had visited Remi. A Bible is a concrete word because you can be able to visualize it in your mind in terms of seeing and touching it because it's something you've come across.

Question: What part did the women play in the play Black Hermit?

Answer: The two major roles they have played are:

They acted as the za faithful wives to their husbands. Thoni remained faithful to her husband despite the fact her husband ran away from her.

They also played the role of parents. Nyobi is Remi's mother and Thoni's mother-in-law.

Question: What is the position of woman in the play, "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: 1. Housework is reserved for women including farming. Men are involved in other jobs such as hunting but not house chores.

2. A woman's job is also to give birth and raise their children. Thoni says a woman without a child is not a woman.

3. To take care of their husbands, that is, to act as wives. Thoni says she longs to carry out the duties of a wife and a male body to warm her bed.

Question: What are the miseries which the women faced in the play "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: The following are some of the miseries faced by women in the play.

Firstly, the women are still treated as a liability. They can't make their own decision because the customary laws don't allow. Thoni couldn't make a decision of who should marry her because the Marua laws don't allow. If there's an immediate brother to the wife's deceased husband, then he should be the one to marry her.

Secondly, they find themselves cheated by their boyfriends or husbands who claim they love them. Remi had a wife but didn't disclose it to his city girlfriend. He only revealed to Jane when he didn't want to go with Jane to his homeland at Jane's insistence. Thus, Jane was being taken advantage of by Remi as a covering to the wound he thought existed - Thoni had never loved him.

Thirdly, they can't inherit land or property. When Nyobi's husband and her older son die, Remi disappears to the city. Nyobi says the only man left in the house is lost in the city. This clearly shows how women are undervalued. Without a man in the house, it's no longer a house.

Lastly, children are ungrateful to their parents. Nyobi had sent Remi numerous letters but he never responded to them. Even if he believed his mother did him injustice by forcing him to marry Thoni, she was still her mother. When he returned, he didn't show any respect to his mother. He talked to her as if they were of the same age. He didn't value his mother.

Question: What are some examples of imagery in 'The Black Hermit'?

Answer: By definition, imagery is a literary technique where a writer uses words that will enable a reader to form an image or picture in their mind about what the writer is talking about.

The writer has used a lot of imagery in the book, as follows:

1. Remi kneeling while mourning the death of his wife, Thoni who is on a stretcher. Here, you are able to create an image of Thoni being carried on a stretcher; and Remi kneeling beside the dead body of Thoni, crying.

2. Thoni telling the woman she longs for the darkness and tells her of a time she was lost in darkness (lost consciousness). In the book, darkness symbolizes death. Thoni says in the darkness you can't see anyone because it's very thick. In the darkness, there is peace and no one to hurt you. In this instance, you can picture how total darkness is. You can't see anybody. You will create a relationship between darkness and death, and be able to form an image of what death is like. When you're dead, there is nobody to hurt you because you're not alive or breathing. People can't hurt a dead body.

3. The meeting of the elders. You can picture the elders responding together when their leader utters several statements.

Question: What are the elements of folkore in Black Hermit?

Answer: There are two elements in The Black Hermit: myth and superstition. The Marua people believe Remi was bewitched by surrounding tribes because he was very educated. This is a myth. Remi wasn't bewitched as we find later towards the end of the book. Thus, the people of Marua have developed a story or believe a story that tries to explain why Remi ran away from the village and why he isn't helping the tribe in terms of political development of achievements.

The people of Marua hold superstitious beliefs. An elder brought Nyobi a traditional medicine for Nyobi to bless it. The elders believe the traditional medicine will help in bringing back Remi. The elder tells Nyobi, "I, your neighbour, here can't I use black magic to turn your mind against the tribe and this hearth? It's evident black magic, a type of magic is practiced among the tribes in the nation. Since magic is not considered a rational belief, it's categorized as a superstitious belief.

Question: Why has the playwright called his book 'The Black Hermit'?

Answer: The word 'black' symbolises an African man. The word 'hermit' means someone who lives in solitude (alone) especially for religious purposes.

Remi tells Jane that he has been a Hermit for long. He ran away from his village to the city to escape from the village's bondage. He was forced to marry Thoni, a woman he believed never loved him.

Thus, Remi is the black hermit. He thought by running away from the village to the city to live a solitude life (not live in the village), he will find meaning of his life. Jane told Remi when they met, Remi looked like someone who was bring haunted by something.

Remi was haunted by his village. He never responded to his mother's letters because he didn't want to associate with her or the villagers.

After he was approached by the elders and pastor, he knew where his life was heading to. He realized what he was meant to be.

An African (Kenyan), Remi had run away to the city to live a solitary life to find meaning of his life and not to associate himself with the village. He wanted to live his own life in the city, not influenced by his village.

Question: What lessons did you learn from the play, "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: There are several lessons I have learned from the play.

1) We should not presume things. We can believe something is true or a fact but it isn't. This is because we haven't investigated to be certain about what we claim is the truth. Remi believed that Thoni never loved him. He said in the presence of the pastor, Image, and Nyobi that he won't accept to be married (live) by a woman who never loved him. At the end, he regrets having uttered those words. The letter he was handed by the village woman which Thoni had written before she died was a testament that she did love him.

2) We shouldn't force people to do what they don't want. A person has the right to decide what he/she wants because he/she is a free-will human being. Remi ran to the city because he was forced to marry Thoni. He believed Thoni never loved him the reason he accepted to be married by his older brother. We should advise but never force anyone to do something.

3) Tribalism never benefits a nation. A nation isn't composed of one tribe or several. It brings disunity and hatred. It can lead to war (genocide) as witnessed in several countries in Africa.

4) People have the right to demonstrate when they feel the government is being unfair to them. People demonstrate to show they are not satisfied with the government. Thus, it needs to do something about it as Omange pointed out to Remi.

Question: How is the play "The Black Hermit" relevant to our societies?

Answer: The play is relevant to our societies because the issues highlighted in the play still occur in African society. Things have not changed much since independence. Instead, they have become worse. People are still overtaxed by the government. There is a shortage of schools and hospitals. Tribalism is still a major problem in African countries. There is hatred of one's tribe against another. An example is post-election violence that occurred in Kenya whereby some people from certain tribes were targeted and killed. Politicians are taking advantage of people's ignorance or deceiving them with promises they never fulfill when elected.

Question: What are the characters in the play 'The Black Hermit' and their roles?

Answer: 1. Remi is the son of Nyobi and the most educated person in the village. He knows much about politics and the government the reason the elders want him to represent them in the government.

2. Thoni is a widow. She is the wife of Remi's deceased brother. According to the traditions of Marua, Remi had to marry her. She becomes Remi's wife and daughter-in-law of Nyobi.

3. The Pastor is the shepherd of the local Christian church in Maria. He is against the Maria's traditional practices and beliefs as they go against the Christianity's teachings.

4. Omange is Remi's friend in the city. He invites him to go with him to his village. This is when he has decided to become their leader and represent them in the government.

5. The village woman is a woman who was persuading Thoni not to commit suicide. She is the one who delivers to Remi the letter which was written by Think before she killed herself.

6. The elders act as the village's council. They want their village to be presented in the government. They are both the village's political and spiritual body.

Question: What are the disadvantages of placing women in a second position?

Answer: There are negative effects associated with placing women at second position.

Firstly, they will be treated as not important or of no value compared to men. This will make them to become easy targets or vulnerable to being abused or treated with disdain.

Secondly, they won't fulfil or get to do what they want. This is because they will be regarded as not worthy to work anywhere except at home and in the farm. This was the case in the African setting before Africa was colonized.

Thirdly, it will lead to early marriages. Since they will be regarded as of no value, it will be easier to force them to be married at an early age. They will be treated as a property, not as human beings.

Question: How do customs and beliefs contribute to the misunderstandings in the play?

Answer: According to the play, misunderstandings relating to the customs and beliefs of Marua tribe arise as a result of the clash between the tribe's customs and the modern view of such practices.

Religion (Christianity) also plays a hand in disapproving the traditional practices as they go against the religion's teachings.

Remi was against being forced to marry Thoni, his brother's wife after his brother died in an accident. He felt it wasn't right to be forced to marry someone against their will. One has the liberty to choose the person he loves and wants to get married to. This is the major reason he ran away from the village to the city. He didn't feel wife inheritance was fair at all.

When Nyobi blessed the traditional medicine she became repentant. She started having doubts as to whether God will not assist her in bringing back her son. The Christian teachings are against doing anything that is related to the gods as they are evil. Only the true God should be worshipped.

When the elders left the medicine covered in banana leaves at Remi's room, Remi knew the medicine was meant to lure (influence) him to go back to his village. He vowed to get rid of all the village's traditions and customs that are barbaric or of no use.

Thus, we can see the modern understanding of these practices and beliefs have no justifiable grounds why they should be practised. Also, religions such as Christianity are against the practices that deem are evil and barabaric.

On the other hand, the elders and the villagers that stick with their traditions believe Christianity is evil because it's man's religion, and that the modern life goes against the will of wishes of their gods who guide their community as a tribe.

Question: What are the roles of women in the society in "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: Women are treated as caregivers. The pastor told Nyobi to nurture her daughter (daughter-in-law) in spiritual matters. It was the duty of Nyobi to take care of Thoni, meeting both her basic and spiritual needs. Also, it's evident from Nyobi's and Think's conversation that a woman without a child is not a woman. Therefore, they fit the role of both parents and caregivers.

Another role they play is as housewives. Thoni said he longed to have a child, to cook a meal of her husband and other things expected of wives. The women knew their roles as wives and had the notion a man who doesn't have a child and isn't a married person is not a woman. She isn't complete.

Question: Using two plays, explain why conflict is inevitable?

Answer: Something that is inevitable is something that can't be prevented to happen. It's something that will occur.

Remember conflict refers to an obstacle all challenges that prevent one from accomplishing his or her goals. It also means disagreement with all differing views between two or more people.

In Black Hermit, we find that the conflict between Remi and his parents is inevitable. When Remi was told to inherit the wife of his deceased elder brother, he refused. This is because of the education he gained which provided a different viewpoint from his tribe. He knew he had to choose a lady to be his wife, not to be forced. His hatred for his mother was a result of it.

The village woman couldn't convince Thoni not to commit suicide because Donnie wanted to be dead. Tony had wanted to be dead since she was young. She had a longed to be in the presence of darkness where she could not see anyone and no one would see her all know that she exists. Therefore, Thoni's desire to be engulfed in darkness is something that she had planned for a long time. The woman couldn't prevent it from committing it.

Question: Do you think Remi can change the society?

Answer: I don't think Remi can change the society. While he has leadership skills and has a 'good' vision for his tribe, his personal qualities disadvantage him from making the necessary changes needed in his society. These qualities also make him an ineffective leader.

First of all, he is haughty/proud. He feels he is superior to others. He is better off than others. How can you help others or bring the changes in society when you think lowly of the people?

Jane tells Remi before the breakup, "You don't know yourself, or what you really want. Only that you like thinking yourself a delicate being, superior and so much better than anybody else "

When you want to deal with issues that affect the people in society, you have to approach or deal with issues in a professional manner. You can't demean the people who practice what you think isn't right or think you are better positioned to deal with the issues than others. Also, you can't disrespect people because of what they do that contributes to the problems in society. Remi showed a lack of disrespect to his mother because she had forced him to marry Think. Also, he spoke ill of Think. Instead of addressing his concern to the concerned people (in private), he talked openly (in front of people). This is a negative trait that shouldn't be part of a leader.

His pride and how he behaves towards other people is revealed in the manner he responds to his mother. "Everything will give way to my leadership."

He thinks he knows better because city life has taught him everything. However, at the death of his wife, we learn he does know much.

When the pastor insisted Remi should return to his homeland, he turned towards him with an ironic smile. This ironic smile was the cause of the death of his wife. He thought he knew better and would deal with the issues in his society his own way.

To make changes in the society, you should listen to others. Your own views won't help. Also, as noted above you shouldn't address people in a manner that shows you know better than others.

The woman who handed Remi the letter that was written by Thoni tells Remi, "You are a leader! Our leader indeed. Know you not what you have done? Flint insults at your own tribe, trampled mercilessly on wives everywhere? You may praise yourself (how you have succeeded in politics). What of here? What have you done to the lives of many? To the hearts of many a man who looked up to you for guidance?"

However, it might be Remi can make the changes needed in society. Why? The death of his wife (suicide) taught him something. He says while mourning the death of his wife that he came to deal with tribalism and customs of his tribe but his actions led to his wife committing suicide. It might be he learned his errors or gained a new perspective on what leadership entails and what is required (he needs to do) to ensure he brings out the changes needed in the society. It might be he reflected on his personal qualities and the need to change them. We might never know whether he changed after the death of his wife. There might be some hope that he changed for the better.

Question: How does the title "THE BLACK HERMIT" relate to what is discussed in the book?

Answer: A hermit is a person who decides to live a life of solitude mostly for religious purposes. The reason for deciding to live a life of solitude far from people and the place he is accustomed to is to look for a solution or to find out about something. However, it doesn't mean the person won't talk to people he meets. He will but his main purpose is to find the 'truth' about something.

In the book, a black hermit refers to an African hermit due to the fact black colour is associated with black people - Africans.

Remi ran away from his people in the countryside and got lost to the life in the city. The reason for running away is because he was escaping from a wound in his heart which is Thoni. Remi believed that Thoni knew he loved her but decided to get married to his elder brother. He hated his mother because together with his late father, they forced him to inherit his brother's wife according to the customs of the Marua tribe.

He ran to the city to find the meaning of his life. But, did he? No. It's until the elders and the pastor visited him that he learned what was required of his life - what he was supposed to do or what he was created for. He learned what was required of his existence.

When Remi revealed to Jane that he wants to go back to his village and he is married, she told him that he doesn't know what he wants in his life while she knows what she wants in life - who she wants to become or the direction of her life. She told him that a hermit is a person who seeks the truth.

Before revealing to Jane he's married, he told himself he has been a hermit for too long. What the elders and the pastor had discussed with him made him realize his purpose in life.

Remi goes back to his people because he knows he is the one who is supposed to steer his tribe in the political direction and as a politician and a leader, he knows things that need to be adjusted/changed in his tribe because of his education.

Question: What are the themes of The Black Hermit?

Answer: I listed them in this article. Check the article as I have explained the themes. Some of them are:

1. Traditional practices: wife inheritance

2. Clash between religion and tradition

3. Death ((Suicide)

4. Racism

5. Tribalism

Question: What images talk about superstition in "The Black Hermit'?

Answer: Please note, this is a general response.

1. The elder telling Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine so that it can be effective in bringing back Remi.

2. The leader telling the elders that they know the neighboring tribes used black magic to bewitch Remi because he is the most educated person.

3. The elders who had visited Remi, leave behind the traditional medicine which is covered by banana leaves.

Question: What are the lessons learned from the play “The Black Hermit”?

Answer: There are several lessons one can learn from the play. I will list a few of them though they are brief.

1. We shouldn't let pride/haughtiness or the feeling one is superior/better than others get in our way. We shouldn't treat others as fools or belittle them. An individual or leader can't bring the needed changes in society if they exhibit such traits. A leader should listen to others; not belittle them or consider them as unimportant or lacking in knowledge. From Jane's words, we learn that Remi thought of himself as superior to others. Also, when he told his mother that things will give way to his leadership. The end result is the death of his wife.

2. We shouldn't assume things we have no evidence of. Remi thought Thoni never loved him the reason she accepted to be married to his elder brother. At the end of the play, we see Remi mourning the death (suicide) of his wife. He asks her why she hadn't told him earlier that she loved him.

3. Tribalism doesn't benefit a nation. Instead, it divides the nation and leads to some tribes missing governmental (social) services that are beneficial to them. Marua tribe has been sidelined in accessing governmental services due to the lack of a representative in the government. The government is composed of other tribes.

4. Racism is another issue that we shouldn't be embraced. A person is at liberty to marry another person of a different nationality. People shouldn't be discriminated against or criticized for getting married to people of different races.

4. Some cultural practices aren't of any benefit to individuals and communities. Remi felt that he was forced to marry a woman who never loved her. This affected him psychologically to the point he fled from his home to find solace in the city. Even though Thoni loved him, it wasn't acceptable for his parents to force him to marry her. It's a decision he should have made on himself.

5. We shouldn't let politics get in the way of religion or interning politics and religion together. We shouldn't prevent others to immerse themselves in politics or discourage them from professing their faith or religion. A person is at liberty since we are free men and women. Politics is part of life. We face it on most occasions e.g. handling a dispute between neighbors and so on.

Question: What are women's roles in building the nation?

Answer: The women have been portrayed as people who advise the young females on different issues pertaining to life e.g. marriage and religion. They act as teachers who educate young women on several subjects.

They act as the backbone of a family. This aids in making families stronger. Nyobi is taking care of Thoni after Remi ran away. Her first husband died and Nyobi's husband died too. It's left upon Nyobi to look after her daughter-in-law. Not only are the backbone of families but also the head of the family after their husbands die. By uniting their families they make a country stronger because values are upheld.

Question: What images in 'The Black Hermit' help bring out themes in the book?

Answer: There is a question asked which resembles yours. I have pasted my response to that question here.

Please, note this is a general response.

Death. This theme is brought out when Thoni tells the woman she longs for a country that is full of darkness. No one will be able to see another person in that dark country. And there will be no hurt. Darkness symbolizes death. She longs to be dead.

2. Superstition. An elder asks Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine so that it can be powerful to bring back Remi.

3. Racism. Omange narrating an incident of an African seen with an Indian woman. That African are criticized for being in a relationship with someone of a different color.

4. Religion Vs Politics. The leader telling the elders when Remi comes back, they should make sure he is not influenced by Christianity. Also, when the Pastor tells Nyobi when Remi comes back he shouldn't be influenced by the elders.

5. Wife inheritance. Remi's father cussing Remi for not accepting to inherit his dead brother's widow. Also, his mother pleading he does so according to the custom of Maria tribe. Also, the elders pleading.

Another theme is:

6. Tribalism. Remi, kneeling beside the corpse of Thoni, says that he thought he had come to break tribalism and customs but instead, it lead to her death. This signifies tribalism was a rift in that region.

Here is another theme:

7. Immorality. Remi knew that he was married but decided to engage in adultery. Even though he ran away from the village because he was forced to marry Thoni whom he thought never loved him. At least, he should have divorced her so as to engage in a relationship with Jane. The imagery that brings out this theme is Jane entering Remi's house and asking him if he is not ready to go to the night club. Also, where Remi reveals to Jane he has a wife in the village.

Question: What are the lessons from the play, "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: 1. Tribalism undermines unity and development in a country. We can see Marua tribe was sidelined because they didn't have a representative. They were behind in various developmental sectors.

2. Every person has an equal opportunity in employment. The country was faced with nepotism. It isn't lawful for people of a certain tribe to be employed in an organization it government positions.

3. People should be left to marry who they want. Traditional beliefs shouldn't be forced on them. Also, one shouldn't be discouraged from marrying a person from a different race.

3. A leader should engage other people instead of taking it upon himself to solve issues facing a society. This will spell disaster. He should consult with the local leaders and experts. A person can't rely on his own judgement alone in all situations involving a mass of people.

4. We should never assume things because our assumptions is always never true. Remi assumed Thoni never loved him or didn't respect his feelings for her. The truth is that Remi was the one to tell her what he felt about her.

Question: Who would make the perfect wife for Remi between Jane and Thoni?

Answer: It's quite hard to figure out who will make the perfect wife for Remi. Both of them love Remi.

Jane is willing to get out of the comfort zone and dress like the women in Remi's village. She asks Remi to take her to his village. Remi tells her that she doesn't know the ways of his people. She says she will learn from the women in his village. This is a form of sacrifice that's required of love.

Thoni is loyal. She has refused to be married by any man or be impregnated. She will wait for Remi even if it'll take 20 years. This is a form of love expressed by being faithful.

Both of them will make a perfect wife for Remi because they possess two factors that determine one's love for another - sacrifice and loyalty (faithfulness).

Question: By using a character from The Black Hermit, show their roles to the society?

Answer: I will pick Thoni. Thoni is a reflection of a woman who is faithful to her husband. She acts as a wife who knows her love and faithfulness is directed to her husband even if Remi doesn't know it. Sadly, Remi realizes how much Thoni loved her at the end of the play after his wife committed suicide.

Thoni also depicts how in Africa, it is the man who proposes to a woman that he loves her. Remi had expected Thoni to confess her love for him. She couldn't. It was Remi's role to tell her how he felt towards her.

Also, Thoni acts as a helper towards her mother-in-law. It's sufficient to say her mother is old thus she does assist her in doing house chores and maybe in the 'shamba.'

Question: Is the cover and name of the book reflecting the themes of the book "The Black hermit"?

Answer: Yes. The illustration portrait of a black man wearing a suit and holding that 'thing' on his hand clearly expresses that the person is a politician or a leader. In this case, it would refer to Remi. The conflict between religion and tradition is evident because Remi wanted to bring to an end the fight between the two and also to get rid of tribalism. He acted as both a leader and a politician both in the Christian religion and in politics.

Colours also symbolize something but I'm sorry I'm not conversant with the meaning of many colours used in covers of literary books.

The name 'The Black Hermit' also reflects the themes in the book. Remi running away from the village only to realize later he can't run away from his people and the tribe. He realizes he was meant to be a leader and a politician which are qualities he possesses. As an educated person, he can well present his tribe in the government or be appointed in a government position for the benefit of his tribe.

Question: What practices portrayed in the play the "Black Hermit" seem irrelevant to the society today?

Answer: 1. Wife inheritance. This practice is no longer effectual in modern Africa. Part of the reason is the possibility of getting infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

2. Looking up to a traditional diviner to transmit a message from the gods to the people. People no longer trust these diviners. Very few tribes look up to diviners.

Question: What is the setting of the play, "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: The setting of the play is in Africa. The illustration of the black man on the cover of the page and the customs of the village (dowry and wife inheritance) are reminiscent of African traditions.

Question: What brought benefits to Africa by using two plays?

Answer: I will use 'The Black Hermit' and 'The Lion and the Jewel' to answer your question.

Literacy or education brought various benefits to Africa. It is through Remi's advanced education (university learning) that the elders asked him to lead their tribe in the political direction. A leader who lacks knowledge in diverse things is incapable of leading a community.

It is through literacy (knowing how to read and write) that African countries are able to interact with foreign nations and with each other. International relations can't exist if people don't understand each other because of a lack of a common language or not knowing how to write or read.

Foreign companies invested in Africa as shown in 'The Black Hermit' thereby leading to the development of the countries in various sectors.

It is through education that Lagos, the capital city of Nigeria is advanced in development in terms of the definition of modern development. This was witnessed by Lankule who wanted to modernize his village. He told Sidi that he will bring machines that will ease work and home and on farms.

Without education, we wouldn't know some African traditions are discriminatory or harmful such as wife inheritance. Even though Thoni loved Remi before she's married by his brother, it was Remi's lack of self-confidence to tell her how she felt about her. He was against wife inheritance but the issue of Thoni's love for him wasn't in any way associated with wife inheritance which is a discriminatory practice.

Question: What are the traditions in the play "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: They are as follows:

1. Wife inheritance. When Remi's elder brother died, he was required to marry his late brother's widow (Thoni).

2. According to the Marua's beliefs, a woman is not a woman if she doesn't have a child. The villagers believe women attain that status when they bear children.

3. Traditional medicine. The villagers believe traditional medicines are powerful - can do wonders or miraculous things. When the elders who visited Remi left the traditional medicine wrapped in banana leaves at his house, they thought the medicine had power to influence Remi to return back home.

4. Man is the head of a house. Nyobi laments that her husband and elder son died and Remi has refused to back home. She says that a house without a man is not a house. The villagers believe men bring life in a house (family) and the ones to make decisions.

Question: What are the sources of conflict in the play "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: The following are the sources of conflict in the play:

1. Traditional beliefs. Although we learn later in the book that Thoni loved Remi, the fact Remi's parents told Remi to marry the widow of his late brother resulted in Remi's father cussing him. Also, it resulted in Remi hating Thoni because he was forced to marry her believing she never loved him or didn't respect his feelings for her.

2. Politics. Politics can work for the good of a country or cause conflict in a country. Omange told Remi it wasn't justifiable for the government to ban demonstrations. People demonstrate to express their grievances or disappointment with the government or those in authority. Also, he talked about nepotism which involves employing people from a particular tribe. Also, Marua people are living in a deplorable state. Taxes are high, there are few schools and social services. It is behind in development, unlike other tribes.

3. Pride. We learn from Jane that Remi always thought he was better or superior to others. The result of Thoni committing suicide and causing anger among villagers was because of his pride. He thought he knew better. He didn't want to consult with elders and religious leaders on how to solve issues facing the tribe.

Question: What are the position of woman in the society ?

Answer: The following are the position of women in the society:

1. House work is reserved to women. Despite her young age, Abooki does the house chores - washing utensils, cleaning house, washing clothes and cooking food. When her mother is not around, she does all the work. Atwoki doesn't help his sister even though they're are in the same class meaning they're of the same age (or nearly the same age).

2. Women are required to behave recently and are expected not to engage in activities that are termed as men's activities. Vicky was chased by her uncle from his house because her uncle saw her riding a bicycle.

3. Women don't have a say in the family. The final decision on family matters is made by men. Adyeri told Vicky and Amoti he is the only man in the house so he is the one to make the final decision concerning dowry and the man who wants to marry Vicky.

Question: Which theme has more images than the others in the play "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: Traditional beliefs.

Please note this is a general response to provide an insight into where to locate them in the book.

1. The elder telling Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine. It is superstition but is termed as a traditional practice because it is something that has always been practiced in the tribe. The elder tells Nyobi how the white men thought about the medicine which the elders believe is very powerful.

2. The leader telling the elders Remi was bewitched. Also, this is superstition but in the modern world is considered a traditional belief because the modern world believes such thing as bewitching exists.

3. Wife inheritance. Remi's mother pleading with him to marry Thoni after he refuses. Also, the elders pleading with him to marry Thoni.

4. The elders leaving behind them the traditional medicine at Remi's room. Another instance of superstition but also termed as a traditional belief.

It appears traditional beliefs and superstition have appeared in many places.

I would superstition appears a lot if we have to differentiate between superstition and traditional beliefs.

Question: What are some of the images used in the play "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: Please, note this is a general response.

1. When Nyobi enters her hut and notices Thoni had been crying. She asks her why she had been crying but Thoni says she won't cry again. She will be strong. If she feels like crying, she will go to the forest...

2. The elder who tells Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine that will bring back Remi.

3. Thoni notices her mother-in-law is looking for something. She asks her. Her mother-in-law is looking for a shawl. She tells Thoni she has to see the pastor.

4. Remi telling his mother that he will no longer allow being controlled by a woman.

5. Remi kneeling beside the dead body of his wife, crying.

Question: What images used in 'The Black Hermit' brings out the themes in the play?

Answer: There is a question asked which resembles yours. I have pasted my response to that question here.

Please, note this is a general response.

Death. This theme is brought out when Thoni tells the woman she longs for a country that is full of darkness. No one will be able to see another person in that dark country. And there will be no hurt. Darkness symbolizes death. She longs to be dead.

2. Superstition. An elder asks Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine so that it can be powerful to bring back Remi.

3. Racism. Omange narrating an incident of an African seen with an Indian woman. That African is criticized for being in a relationship with someone of a different color.

4. Religion Vs Politics. The leader told the elders when Remi comes back, they should make sure he is not influenced by Christianity. Also, when the Pastor tells Nyobi when Remi comes back he shouldn't be influenced by the elders.

5. Wife inheritance. Remi's father cussing Remi for not accepting to inherit his dead brother's widow. Also, his mother pleading he does so according to the custom of Maria tribe. Also, the elders pleading.

Another theme is:

6. Tribalism. Remi, kneeling beside the corpse of Thoni, says that he thought he had come to break tribalism and customs but instead, it lead to her death. This signifies tribalism was a rift in that region.

Question: Characterization is one of the artistic devices used by the playwright through which their respective audience can understand the story. Use the play The Black Hermit to verify the statement?

Answer: Characterization refers to creation of characters and giving them certain personal traits.

It is through characterization we as readers understand how people interact, how one's personal traits influences others or causes trouble and if people can change if they possess bad behaviours or attitudes.

Let's take Remi as an example. We learn towards the end of the play that Remi thinks he is superior to others maybe due to his level education. It is through Jane that we learn this trait of Remi. At the end of the play, we are not suprised to find the commotion that resulted after his speech and the death of Thoni. It resulted from how he addressed the villagers and what she said about Thoni. He said that he won't accept to be controlled by a wan which wasn't the case. At the end of the play, he regrets how he addressed Thoni.

Again, we are not surprised by Thoni's decision to commit suicide although we are saddened that she decided to carry out the activity. At a tender age, Thoni had longed the darkness she felt while she was young. She appears as kind, polite, respectful, faithful but a troubled woman. We might not know why she desired to be dead at that young age but how she felt inferior contributed to her ending her own life.

Therefore, the personal traits or qualities of the characters assist us to understand why they behave the way they behave and the ramifications of their behaviors towards others and society at large.

Question: What are three images of The Black Hermit?

Answer: Please, note this is a general response.

1. Nyobi looking around and not seeing Thoni. This is after Remi saying that he won't love a woman who was another man's wife, who never loved her. Thoni disappeared without them knowing. Nyobi says she's going out to look for her.

2. People carrying a corpse on a stretcher.

3. Remi kneeling beside the dead body of Thoni, crying saying he came to bring an end to tribalism and customs but instead it leads to the death of his wife.

4. The woman who hands Remi who is with Omange a letter. He tells him, She was kind. She who was true. A tender sapling growing straight though surrounded with weed.” She indicates Thoni who was innocent and faithful committed suicide because of him. She's very angry at him even though Remi doesn't understand why.

5. Omange amazed at Remi's being shaken by reading the letter. He wonders how a village girl can shake him to his core. Also, laughing at Thoni's grammar when reading the letter.

Question: What is the role of the Leader in the play ''The Black Hermit''?

Answer: The role of a leader as portrayed in the book was to bring unity in the village (tribe) and to steer the tribe in economic and social development.

We find Remi brought disunity in the village at the end of the play due to his selfish mission.

As a leader, he was supposed to listen to both sides and find an appropriate path to ensure people live in peace despite the differences they exhibit. More so, the village was lacking in economic and social development. Thereby, these are some of the things he was supposed to focus on which he failed to do so.

Question: What theme can be related to three images in 'The Black Hermit'?

Answer: There are questions that I have answered related to imageries that bring out the theme of Superstition. You can check the response to those questions.

Here, I will provide a different theme, Death.

1. Thoni tells the woman she longs a country where light doesn't exist. A country where there are no people. A country she had experienced while young. Darkness represents death. In death, there is no light. In death its total darkness. You can see anybody or hear anyone. You only exist alone in death.

2. The woman who was urging Thoni not to kill herself hands Remi a letter. She says, "She was kind. She who was true. A tender sapling growing straight though surrounded with weed.” The woman was talking in past tense indicating it is an action that was completed. Thoni had committed suicide the reason the woman is very angry at Remi.

3. Remi kneeling beside the dead body of Thoni who was being carried on a stretcher, mourning her death.

Question: Where did Remi go in the play, "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: It is not apparent where Remi went or what he decided to do after the death of Thoni.

A probable course of action he undertook is returning to the city. Many villagers especially women were angry at him. His speech caused divisions and worsened the already depressing situation the tribe was undergoing. Thus, he might have felt guilty of his actions and decided he was not the best political leader to guide them. How could he reconcile the effects that occurred as a result of his speech?

Question: What images bring out themes in the play "The Black Hermit"?

Answer: You have not indicated which theme. I have rephrased the question to refer to several themes

Also note, this is a general response.

1. Death. This theme is brought out when Thoni tells the woman she longs for a country that is full of darkness. No one will be able to see another person in that dark country. And there will be no hurt. Darkness symbolizes death. She longs to be dead.

2. Superstition. An elder asks Nyobi to bless the traditional medicine so that it can be powerful to bring back Remi.

3. Racism. Omange narrating an incident of an African seen with an Indian woman. That African is criticized for being in a relationship with someone of a different color.

4. Religion Vs Politics. The leader telling the elders when Remi comes back, they should make sure he is not influenced by Christianity. Also, when the Pastor tells Nyobi when Remi comes back he shouldn't be influenced by the elders.

5. Wife inheritance. Remi's father cussing Remi for not accepting to inherit his dead brother's widow. Also, his mother pleading he does so according to the custom of Maria tribe. Also, the elders pleading.

© 2019 Alianess Benny Njuguna

Comments

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on August 25, 2020:

@David, thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

David martine on August 25, 2020:

i'like the way you have analyised the play you have used simple english which made any reader to understand.Well done

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on June 10, 2020:

Thank you Aisha Juma Masasi. You are indeed good at all for your feedback. Much appreciated.

Aisha Juma masasi ur good at all on June 10, 2020:

Ur good at all

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on June 10, 2020:

I have received a number of questions concerning the stylistic/literary device/form, imagery. The question is: How do images bring out themes from the play, The Black Hermit.

Currently, I don't have the play near Mr whereby I would have provided a comprehensive answer. Consequently, I will throw some clues which can aid you where to locate images, and find out if they bring out themes.

The response, therefore, to this question will be general due to the limitation I have listed above. I hope you'll bear with me concerning this.

Moving on, let's start by figuring what is imagery. Imagery is a literary device used in literature by writers to enable readers to visualize in their minds or form an image in their minds concerning what a writer is describing in a literary work.

Writers use descriptive words to enable a reader to form a motion picture in his/her mind. They will use words or phrases, which can be a sentence or several ones, to stimulate our five senses: taste, smell, hearing, touch and sight. Also, imagery can stimulate a reader to feel what a character is feeling e.g. fear.

For instance, he knocked on the door aggressively. Here, we will create a picture, kind of a movie, in our minds whereby in our minds we see the person knocking on the door very hard. The writer has used descriptive words to engage our sense of sight and sound.

Let's see where imagery has been used in the play, The Black Hermit.

1. Thoni and Woman: The woman is begging Thoni not to leave. However,Thoni insists she has to go. She wants to go to a country where there is darkness, and no ray of light. In this country, no one can see her. Also, in this country, she won't be hurt. She narrates to the woman her experience of total darkness when she was a young girl.

Darkness is a symbolism used to represent Death. Thoni was implying she didn't want to live. She wanted to be dead. In death, you won't see each other because the dead don't have eyes. No one will hurt her when she is dead.

2. A corpse is carried on a stretcher. Remi realizes the corpse is that of Thoni. He kneels, tears on his eyes, asking her why she never told him that she loved him. The playwright has described vividly this scene that we can see in our minds Remi kneeling besides the dead body of Thoni, crying. The writer has engaged our sense of sight and sound (creating in our minds the sound made when a person cries). This imagery brings out the theme of Death.

3. Thoni and Nyobi. Nyobi notices dried tears on Thoni's cheek. She asks him if she has been crying. Thoni turns aside so that her mother can't see. She says she won't cry again. She will be strong. This brings out the theme, Family Separation or Disintegration of Family which we come to learn later. Remi ran away from her to the city. She has been crying because the man she loves ran away from her. She couldn't love another man other than her husband.

4. The elders. They are congregated in a meeting in an open area. They want to discuss about politics and Remi. We can see the elders in our minds discussing and responding in a chorus whenever their leader utters statements that requires all to respond at once. Here, we get the theme, Politics or Conflict Between Politics and Religion (Christianity). They don't want to be influenced by religion when he comes back to the village.

5. Jane and Remi. Jane enters the room where Remi has rented. He finds Remi lying on a sofa. She asks Remi why he is not ready. Remi replies he is tired. Jane laughs at him reminding him how the previous year he was active in participating in nightclubs. Jane asks him to tell him why he is tired. Lastly, Remi says they should go to the nightclub because life is too short. We can see in our minds the double life Remi is living. He has a mistress. They go to nightclubs and have been in a relationship for more than a year. This brings out the theme of Immorality or Degradation of Morality. He has a wife back at the village but in the city he has relationship with a woman.

6. Remi and the elders. One of the elders places a setting that has been wrapped with banana leaves on a certain location. They leave Remi at his room. Later, the Pastor leaves Remi with a Bible. Remi holds the traditional medicine on one hand and the Bible on the other hand. He weighs them. We can see him looking at those two things that he grew up with. This brings out the theme, Politics Vs Religion or Conflict Between Politics and Religion.

The above are some examples of imagery that has been used in the play. When reading, if the words you're reading are enabling you to create a picture or image in your mind, then the writer has used imagery. From reading those words which can be a sentence or several ones, find out if they touch upon a theme.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on June 09, 2020:

@Ghania, I am grateful for your feedback.

Dora on June 09, 2020:

Images that brought about the theme

Ghania Nassor on June 09, 2020:

Nice work , Sir

Massawudu God Dey on June 08, 2020:

Discuss the use of any three images in the black hermit that helps bring out a theme of your choice

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on May 09, 2020:

Thank you Erick for your comment. I'll work on the analyzing the characters and will post it as a continuation in this piece of work.

Erick on May 09, 2020:

The characters and their characterization maybe added to the analysis of the book in order to the reader to understand deeply each personal informotion of the characters involved in the story.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on April 29, 2020:

Thank you Paul. I really appreciate your gladness and motivation.

Paul Makiya on April 28, 2020:

Nice work go ahead

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on March 28, 2020:

I agree with you. It is a play worth reading.

Evaline fanuel on March 28, 2020:

this book is very well

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on September 25, 2019:

Thank you, Munawar. I'm glad you found this analysis helpful.

Munawar el matar on September 25, 2019:

Wow thanks a lot for helping us on it god bless u and give u the ability to analyse more books

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on June 24, 2019:

Thank you, Mr. Wise.

mr wise on June 23, 2019:

good job teacher

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on March 13, 2019:

Agreed but if we accept not to do what he has warned or adviced not to do because it is for our own good.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on March 13, 2019:

3. If we accept the idea that God/ The Ideal is Good, then all stories to the contrary are Blasphemy. Agreed?

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on March 13, 2019:

You are Jay. Peace is an individual decision and tribalism must yield to nationalism. The playwright hasn't detailed enough information about Jane but we have a glimpse of her. Being a Hermit does at times help. It assists in refocusing or bringing things into perspective and it's a time of reflection and finding the inner peace we so long. About God, he is not evil though the negative emotions we call bad aren't negative until we let them rule us. An emotion such as jealous is not bad but when it takes control of us till it blinds our judgment, then it becomes evil. There is scientific evidence too in this.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on March 10, 2019:

Well, this is an extensive and detailed article! Here are a couple of points to ponder.

1. Suicide is wrong.

2. Tribalism must yield to nationalism.

3. The Bible is wrong in every story which depicts God with negative human emotions (jealous, vengeful, wrathful). To do so is Blasphemy. God is peaceful and merciful, not violent.

4. Sometimes it is good to be a hermit. Getting away from people helps one to weigh and balance competing systems (tribe vs. country).

5. We do not know enough about Jane.

6. Peace is an individual decision.

Related Articles