Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Cell One

I am now going to present two paragraphs from the short-story “Cell One”. Cell One is a short-story about a family who lives in Africa. The son of the family is a bit troubled. He is one of the “popular” boys, which means that he is one of the guys who steals and bullies with other guys. The daughter is the opposite of her brother. However the short-story is really about how the son learns what is right and wrong.  

“The thieving boys were the popular ones. They drove their parent's cars in the evening, their seats pushed back and their arms stretched out to reach the steering wheel. Osita, the neighbor who had stolen out TV only weeks before the Nnamabia incident, was lithe and handsome in a brooding sort of way and walked with the grace of a cat. His shirts were always sharply ironed; I used to look across the hedge and see him and close my eyes and imagine that he was walking toward me, coming to clame me as his. He never noticed me. When he stole from us, my parents did not go over to Professor Edube’s house to ask him to ask his son to bring back our things. They said publicly that it was riffraff from town. But they knew it was Osita. Osita was two years older then Nnamabia, and perhaps that was why Nnamabia did not steal from another person’s house. Perhaps he did not feel old enough, qualified enough for anything bigger than my mother’s jewelry.”

The first paragraph reflects how the boys in the neighborhood behaved, and how their parents ignored it. I think that one of the reasons why the parents of the boys ignored that they were stealing and misbehaving, was that if they got caught they did not get a chase to study and get educated. Moreover it was a shame to have misbehaving children, because that meant that the parents had failed raising them.

““Yesterday the policeman asked the old man if he wanted a free bucket of wather. He said yes. So they told him to take his clothes off and parade the corridor. My cell mates were laughing. But some of them said it was wrong to treat an old man like that.” Nnamabia paused, his eyes distant. “I shouted at the policeman. I said the old man was innocent an ill and if they kept him here they would never find his son because he did not even know where his son was. They said I should shut up immediately or they would take me to Cell One. I didn’t care. I didn’t shut up. So they pulled me out and beat me and took me to Cell One””

This is one of the last paragraphs in the short-story. Earlier in the short-story Nnamabia got himself imprisoned. However even after weeks Nnamabia had an attitude, he did not care that he was in prison. He sort of thought it was “cool” to be in prison. But after this episode his attitude changes, and he realizes that there are things in life that is more important than himself. He learns to step up for things that matter, he learns to respect other people.

Chimamanda Nogozi Adichie
My opinion of the short story is that I thought it was a good reflection of the culture. It is a big difference between the culture in Norway. A good example of that, is when the parents of the main character don’t want to confront their neighbor about their son stealing their TV. If something like that had happen In Norway, the police would have been involved at once. There is a different type of respect in Norway and Africa. Again, if an incident like the stealing of the TV would have happened in Norway, you would have lost the respect for the whole family, but in Africa you still respect the head of the family. In the short-story the parents of Nnamabia almost ignore the fact that he stole from his own mother. They acted like it was normal, and a shame that he did not earn more money on it than he did. In Norway, the son would be punished in a whole different way. Moreover, you simply don’t steal especially not from your own family. However I must say that there are "nice" mothers in Norway as well. So there are of course some similarities between the culture in Africa and the culture in Norway. But the main point is perhaps that parents should speak up to their children before it is to late.

Read about Chimamanda Nogozi Adichie 
 the autor of the short-story "Cell One" here. You can also see the autor talk about the book "the thing around your neck" where the short-story "Cell One" is, here

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you, the important part is for parents to show their children, in this case sons, how to behave. If they don't they might end up in jail. Stealing is a serious felony and anding in jail is difficult and dangerous. Failure on the part of the parents is easier to cope with when they are young.