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Postcolonial Literatures Unit 4 The Girl Who Can
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The Girl Who Can
VERY SHORT TYPE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
1. Who is the writer of the story “The Girl who can’.
Ans: Ama Ata Aidoo is the writer of the story ‘The Girl who can’.
2. Who is the narrator of the story?
Ans: A seven year old girl is the narrator of the story.
3. Why does the grandmother criticize Adjoa’s legs in “The Girl Who Can”?
Ans: She thinks the girl’s legs are too spindly.
4. At the beginning of “The Girl Who Can,” what does Nana think of the village school?
Ans: It is a waste of time.
5. In “The Girl Who Can,” how does Nana change at the end of the story?
Ans: Nana admits that Adjoa’s legs may be useful after all.
6. Where does the “The Girl Who Can” take place?
7. Adjoa in “The Girl Who Can” loves her grandmother except for……….
Ans: The specific perspective from which a story is told.
8. Point of view refers to ………
Ans: The specific perspective from which a story is told.
9. First-person point of view is identified by………
Ans: The use of pronouns “I,” “me,” or “my.”
10. What does the story tells about?
Ans: The story tells us about African women’s struggle to find a rightful place in the society.
11. What does Adjoa love?
Ans: Adjoa loves to run and she always wins in every running competition in her school.
12. Who is Kaya?
Ans: Kaya is Adjoa’s mother.
13. Why does Nana criticize the narrator’s leg?
Ans: Nana criticizes the narrator’s legs because they are too skinny.
SHORT TYPE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
1. What is the problem of the little girl Adjoa?
Ans: Adjoa’s elders never pay attention at her and always underestimate her for whatever she is doing. She feels confusing with their treatment. Adjoa doesn’t know whats wrong with her.
2. What is the setting of the short story, ‘The Girl Who Can’?
Ans: Adjoa was born in Hasodzi, it is a very big village in the central region of the country, Ghana. When all of Africa is choking under a drought, Hasodzi lies in a district known for its good soil.
3. Write a short note on the story of ‘The Girl who can’.
Ans: Adjoa is seven years age, and she lives in Hasodzi which is a big village in Ghana. She thinks that she has only one problem: that she has thin legs. Her grandmother, Nana, does not like that. She thinks that women should have legs that have meat on them, have good calves and are strong to be able to have children. Furthermore, Adjoa does not also have the proper language to speak. When she says something, her grandmother laughs until tears run down her cheeks. If someone comes, she tells him/her about Adjoa and laughs again. Adjoa never knows why they laugh.
Back to her main problem, legs, her mother and grandmother always discuss about them. Nana complains about Adjoa’s legs because they are very thin. However, Adjoa’s mother, Kaya, does not like that, Adjoa wishes to see legs of any women, but it is not easy in her village. She sees her friends’ legs, and she thinks that they look like her legs. Another thing that Nana does not like is school because she thinks that it is a waste of time. However, Kaya disagrees with her, and she wants Adjoa to learn. In addition, teachers choose Adjoa to join the district games.
Adjoa tells her mother and grandmother about the game and they are very happy. Moreover, during the week before the race, Nana has washing Adjoa’s school uniform herself. Adjoa joins the race and wins. She also wins the cup for the best all-round junior athlete. Nana is very pleased, and she carries the gleaming cup on her back. She shows Kaya the cup and returns it to the headmaster. Then she carries Adjoa on her knee and says: “saa, thin legs can also be useful… thin legs can also be useful”.
4. What are the major characters in the short story?
Ans: There are three major characters in the short story, ‘The Girl Who Can’.
(i) Adjoa: The seven (07) years old girl. The story is told in Adjoa’s perspective.
(ii) Maami: Adjoa’s mother.
(ii) Nana: Adjoa’s grandma; Maami’s mother.
5. Why was school a waste of time for women?
Ans: Women are meant only to create a family and take care of the family. Education is not important. African countries were under colonial rule for a long time and the colonizers did not take any effective steps for their education. So after colonization, the women especially were stuck to their earlier condition.
6. Write a short note on the character of Adjoa.
Ans: If we analyse the character of Adjoa, we shall get at least four characteristics which perhaps may be based on her psychological state. First of all, there are some monologues of Adjoa in the short story and these show that she is a real thinker and she thinks of her physical problem. In her age she has shown all of us that she is completely different from the other children not only because of her physical state but because of her mental state also. She is confused on how the elders know and accept her opinions. She may be considered as an analytical girl.
If we go through the short story in detail, we shall notice that Adjoa always remembers what the reactions she will get if she says something to the elders. From all types of reactions, she can make a conclusion and this shows that she is an analytical girl. Adjoa is a highly sensitive girl. Adjoa is not so communicative because she has a sense of fear in herself. The trauma-like situation absorbs her by the words of Nana spoken to her almost all the time and by the neighbours who laughed at her unnatural physical appearance.
So, she decides firmly to prove herself in the field of action and finally she has become able to get her achievement. The character of Adjoa is a symbol of inspiration, determination and resolution to all of us. She is an amazing little girl who proves her ability facing all the hardships in her life. Finally, Adjoa’s creation is a great characterization on the part of Ama Ata Aidoo.
LONG TYPE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
1. Discuss the theme of the story ‘The Girl who can’.’
Ans: In the short story ‘The Girl Who Can’ by Ama Ata Aidoo, we find the theme of conflict, innocence, liberty, insecurity, family-connection and pride. It is adapted from her collection of the same name and the story is narrated in the first person by a young seven years old girl. At the end of the short story, the readers realise that the writer, Aidoo perhaps is going to explore the theme of conflict. Nana and Maami often make arguments about two things. The narrator’s skinny legs and the narrator’s father.
It is as if Nana has a strong sense of dislike towards Maami when it happens. She does not agree with the fact that the narrator will have the ability to be the mother of children because of her thin legs and those legs will not support the hips that Nana believes are needed for a woman to carry a child. This may be significant because in various ways Nana may not only criticise the narrator but she might also be criticising Maami and blaming her for the fact that the narrator as well as the protagonist has such skinny legs. As to Nana’s judgement on the narrator’s father, we, the readers, can only think that again Nana is criticising Maami for her choice of husband. It may convey some readers to suggest that there is a conflict between both Nana and Maami and in this created conflict, Nana always acquires the upper hand possibly due to the insecurities that Maami may feel due to the criticism she gets from Nana.
It is also interesting to observe that the narrator herself does not feel insecure about how her legs look rather she is more inquisitive as to whether or not she will be able to have children. Even though she will have to grow up sufficiently and is only seven years of age. The narrator’s curiosity may be important as it suggests that she is still somewhat innocent as one would expect a seven years old child to be. It is also noticeable that at times the narrator says things which are deemed inappropriate by Nana.
Again this may suggest that the narrator is innocent and is merely trying to understand the world around her. It is also interesting that the narrator is so modest about her achievements when it comes to running. It is as though her abilities in running are normal for the narrator. She doesn’t react anything that Nana says about her legs by telling Nana that she has legs that are suitable for running and that she is proud of herself. If anything the narrator again acts modestly, it is both Nana and Maami who consider what the narrator has done to be an achievement and something in which they are proud of the narrator. The narrator’s running also connects her with Nana. Who walks to school with the narrator and carries the winning cup home on her back. From going to criticise the narrator Nana is now full of pride. It is as though the narrator has fulfilled her potential without the hindrance of Nana’s traditional beliefs when it comes to the quality of a girl or woman’s legs.
If anything the narrator’s abilities when it comes to run free the narrator from the traditional outlook that Nana has when it comes to the abilities of a woman to give birth. This might be important as Aidoo wants to suggest that the narrator may not necessarily carry on the traditions that Nana has lived her life by. With freedom comes choices and the narrator may choose later on in life to take a different path to Nana and Maami. She is after all physically different in Nana’s eyes so it would not be too much to suggest that mentally the narrator might also be different to Nana and Maami.
What is also interesting about the story is the fact that the only real freedom that the narrator has comes with her running and as mentioned the narrator is modest about her abilities. She does not consider herself to be more important than others just because she keeps winning races. If anything the narrator has an ability which the reader is left hoping is nurtured by Nana and Maami. That both women continue to be proud of the narrator’s achievements and that they might accept that the narrator’s life may turn out differently to how their life has turned out. It is as though the narrator has not only freedom and choices but she may be independent too even if she is still a very young girl. Despite all the criticism that is thrown in the narrator’s direction none of it sticks to the narrator.
She may very well continue her life focusing on her running and the fact that she has the long, skinny legs of a runner. Something that is beneficial to the narrator and as such leaves the reader left with a sense of optimism for the narrator’s future. The narrator has choices that the other two important members of the family-(Nana and Maami) may never have had.
2. Discuss the conflict issues presented in the story.
Ans: This story tells us about the suffer and the struggle of Ghananian women to find their place in society. The story also tells us about a little girl who should struggle to fulfil the expectation from her family and society.
Ama Ata Aidoo or Christina Ama Aidoo was born on March, 23 1942 in Abeadzi Kinekor, near Saltpond, Gold coast, now Ghana. Aidoo is a Ghananian author. Aidoo grew up in a royal household with a clear sense of African traditions. She studied at the University of Ghana and became a writer at Stanford and Harvard University in the US. As a writer her works are mostly focuses on the deception of the role of African woman in modern society and African diasporic identity. She wrote many liter. ary works and one of them is The Girl Who Can and Other Stories written in 1999. Biography of Ama Ata Aidoo The Girl Who Can is a story about a seven years old Adjoa, who does not good at communication.
She was born with long and thin legs. She should see her mother and her grandmother, Nana, arguing over her imperfect legs everyday. Nana always complains to Adjoa mother for her having a daughter with long and thin legs. In Ghana the women suffer due to the patriarchy, having a son is much better than having a daughter. But, in the end Adjoa can prove to her grandmother that even if she has imperfect legs, she can achieve something great. Summary of the story In this story there are two types of conflicts, that are internal conflict and external conflict.
(a) The internal conflict: The internal conflict happens between Adjoa with herself, she has a difficulty in communication so it is hard for her to speak up her mind to her grandmother. She does not know whether she should keep quiet and not to say any of thing that come into her mind, or say them and get laughed at. She is just a seven years old girl with many questions in her head but she cannot speak them up to find the answer. She want to be heard to encourage her to express her thought too often. Discussion
(b) The external conflict: The external conflict happen between her self and the expectation that come from her grandmother and how she find herself a place in the society. Adjoa was born with long and thin legs, which uncommon and bad for women in that society. Her grand mother always complains about it everyday to Adjoa’s mother, they often have arguing over it. Her grandmother, Nana, expected Adjoa’s mother to have a son but the reality Adjoa’s mother is giving birth to a daughter, who will end up to stay at home and take care of the children.
Nana always states that a woman should have a big legs with good calves to support solid hips. And a woman should have a solid hips to be able to have children. From here, it can be concluded that Nana is worrying about Adjoa future tat she will not ‘le to give birth and have children. Adjoa should struggle to prove that she can do something good with her legs. She has won every race she ran for her school and Nana says that she does not care of such things, but actually Nana is very proud of Adjoa, it can showed from how she treats Adjoa after the race, she is ironing Adjoa’s uniform. The conflicts that happen in the story are mostly from the expectation of society. The society and stereotype have a big role to build up the conflict in a person. The women in Ghana is till struggling to find their place in society.