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The Old Chief Mshlanga

Nkosikaas - main character, a young white settler in the 1950's.


Colonialism- A policy by which a nation maintains or extends its control over foriegn
dependencies.
Native Africans were kept in poor economic conditions and families and villages were
routinely uprooted.
Themes.
Colonialism: Lessing helps us understand the reality of colonialism throught one of the
colonials, a young white girl, as long as it exist it will cntine to creatue division.
White attitude towards the africans made them seem inhuman, existing merely to serve.
Learded Prejudice/Discrimination:
-young narrator has been taught that Africans are not equal to her. these behaviors begin
to affect reality
Coming of Age: Encounter with cheif is the catalyst of change for the caharacter. Natives
are humans.
Nkosikaas(protagonist and Central Figure)- Story begins in a third person to introduce
social atmosphere and thoughts of white settlers in Africa but transform into the
perspective and narration done by Nkosikaas.
Dynamic Character- she experiences change thoughtout story by understanding world
around her after encounter with chief.
The Old Chief- He was a symbolic figure not only as a figure of authority to his native
people,but also he was viewed as a figure of his land. He represents dignity and pride.
The old chief also serves as a catalyst for Nkosikaas in her devvelopment and questioning
of her enviroment.
Nkosi(baas)Jordan(antagonist)- Nkosikaas Father. instills his believs in his daughter.
Mother(antagonist) - continues with prejudice beliefs and remarks.
Naturalism
-marxism
socio0economic 0 nkosikaas is a product of her enviroment. She has been conditoned to
be prejudice and discriminate.
Imagery and Symbolism
Contextual
"This child could not see a masas tree or the thorn for what they were"
Represents how the white settlers take the land for granted.
Imagery changes as she grows as a character, she moves from looking at the land without
feeling then to looking at the land with a renewed appreciation.
The Gun/Dog- symbolizes power and authority. By the end, she lossens the grip on the
gun and lets the dog run less close.
Chief Mshlanga - The spirit of the people.
Do you agree or disagree with the notion that Nkosikaas as an example of Marxism?
Give an example. Is she a product of her enviroment?
Yes, she is a victim because she wants to change.
-Do you think that there are learned prejudices in our society today that have negative
impacts on individuals of different cultures in comparision to your own?
She simply repeats what she's learned from her parents until she encouters the cheif,
when she is put in contact with the other culture in a positive or neutral way
What interpretation might the reader in fer from reading this quote..."I had learned that if
one cannot call a country to heal like a dog, neither can one dismiss the past with a smile
in an easy gush of feeling, saying: I could not help it, I am also a victim"