Reviewer: Iniobong Ikpe
“How can we free ourselves from the power of dirt? By washing our hands, by washing our feet, by washing our minds.”
???? Ayi Kwei Armah’s masterpiece, “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born” is a captivating novel that takes readers on a journey through post-independence Ghana, exploring themes of morality, corruption, and the struggle for personal integrity. ????✨
Set against the backdrop of a nation grappling with political and social upheaval, Armah weaves a compelling tale that revolves around an unnamed protagonist. This unnamed railway clerk struggles to maintain his integrity and avoid corruption in a society where everyone seems to be taking advantage of their new positions of power. He finds himself torn between his ideals and the pervasive corruption surrounding him.
The plot unfolds with meticulous detail, revealing the moral dilemmas faced by the protagonist. The clerk is constantly tested by his colleagues, superiors, and even his own family, who pressure him to accept bribes and participate in unethical practices. Armah’s vivid descriptions immerse readers in the protagonist’s inner turmoil, as he grapples with the choice between conforming to societal norms or staying true to his moral compass.
✨???? “He asked himself why life had not given him, instead, a secure job, a proper home, a position of respect. He saw clearly now that for all the years he had cursed the gods and the people, his complaining had been a waste of time, just as he had been a waste of space.” ✨????
The author’s evocative writing style beautifully captures the essence of Ghana’s post-colonial era, painting a vivid picture of the country’s social and political landscape. Armah skillfully explores the complexities of power dynamics, shedding light on the human struggle for truth and righteousness in the face of overwhelming odds.
????❤️ “Corruption is power when right lies dead.” ❤️????
One of the most remarkable aspects of “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born” is the depth of its characters. Each individual, no matter how minor their role, is intricately developed, adding layers of richness to the narrative. Through their interactions, Armah unveils the harsh realities of a society grappling with moral decay.
✨???? “The world is full of dirty people. Some are dirty because they have no water, others because they have no soap, and still others because they are dirty at heart.” ????✨
Armah’s thought-provoking exploration of integrity and the human spirit serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of staying true to one’s values, even in the face of adversity. It shows how despite the temptations and challenges he faces, the clerk remains steadfast in his commitment to honesty and morality, even as his personal life and relationships suffer.
???????? “I have chosen my side, you see. I have chosen it, finally, and I am doing what I can with my strength to be loyal to my choice. I cannot wait for others, I have to work on my own rightness, because you must understand, at the end of it all, only rightness survives.” ????????
In conclusion, “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born” is a literary masterpiece that delves into the depths of morality, corruption, and the struggle for personal integrity. Ayi Kwei Armah’s powerful storytelling and poignant prose create an unforgettable reading experience. ????????✨