Ama Ata Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy: or Reflections from a Black-eyed Scrunch up your eyes follows a new Ghanian female known as Sissie and her experiences in Europe. Since Aidoo’s story floats coming from reflections upon Sissie’s sexually charged romance with a Swiss woman to the emotional notification she pens as her plane difficulties back toward Africa, Each of our Sister Killjoy is a complicated literary variety brimming with sociable commentary. Yet while the insufficient narrative cohesion and the disparate depictions of Sissie’s period abroad would not culminate in a dramatic resolution or basic final that means, it is this kind of inconclusiveness that powerfully illustrates Our Sister Killjoy’s inability to extricate Sissie from your ideologies the girl so vehemently rails against. Our Sister Killjoy is not only a disapproval of the social values and social constructions the narrative explores, but it really is also a damning interpretation of an vivid protagonist in whose own impotence is finally representative of the reader’s.
Before sampling into social issues that happen to be firmly situated in a specific cultural moment, The Sister Killjoy opens with an enigmatic collection of sentences spanning multiple pages. Drastically formatted without discernible pattern, Aidoo creates: “Things work out¦ to their spectacular conclusions¦ ¦. so it is not here neither there, what ticky-tackies we now have saddled yourself with, clogged our landscapes, cluttered the brains” (Aidoo 3-5). Below, Aidoo right away establishes a relationship with the reader that is fundamental to understanding how the whole text features. Her using “we, inches without any story detail to contextualize this language, establishes a link between the unidentified audio and the person consuming the written text. In this perception, “we” refers directly to the reader, it is not only the text’s characters who suffer from obstructed brains and cluttered landscapes, but the person that turns these types of pages is also seemingly guilty of this unbalanced perspective. Also, it is notable that Aidoo prevents language that will indicate any kind of specific historical landscape, the queue that identifies “ticky-tackies” could possibly be read as evoking the meaninglessness of contemporary Western materialism, but continues to be broad enough that the aforementioned interpretation could in no way end up being definitively contended.
While the story evolves from the multivalent beginning to building the details surrounding Aidoo’s protagonist because she departs from Bekwai, ghana and lives abroad, Sissie’s experiences in Germany appear to function simply as a fictional groundwork pertaining to the destabilizing perceptions of Western traditions that permeate the text. A passage that may be particularly illustrative of this happens just before Marija, an acquaintance of Sissie’s, tries an awkward sexual advance. As Sissie pursuit of a way to remove herself via Marija’s residence and come back to her hostel, she turns into once again conscious of her environment, “a universe where the have to pay mortgages and go on getaways [keep] married chambers clear for strangers’ inspection” (62). Here, the unnamed narrator mounts a powerful assault for the traditional conception of relationship, while the mention of mortgages could relegate this passage to a simplistic, albeit elegant, decrial of the challenges of financial necessity, the mention of the “the need¦ to go on holidays” is especially persuasive. In this formulation, Marija’s hubby is hardly ever at home when he strives to pay for the common perception notion of marriage, in which holidays are supposedly a necessity, to the level that it limits and undermines his actual marriage. Basically, the ideology of matrimony directly prevents the reality of marriage. This kind of selection is no way exceptional in Our Sis Killjoy, alternatively it is noteworthy in that it is strong example of many similar asides through the narrative which focus on a diverse range of topics, spanning the emptiness of educational institutions for the endless difficulties of post-colonial Africa. Additionally , the mention of the Sissie as a “stranger” is especially pertinent for this discussion, it truly is specifically this kind of Otherness that allows her to identify the hypocrisies in the ideology of marital life.
While Sissie’s function as a new person to Europe is essential to her capacity to function beyond the ideologies Marija is present within, this amazing position in no way frees Sissie from the values or organizations that notify her notion. Louis Althusser, a Marxist critic in whose influential essay “Ideology and Ideological Condition Apparatuses” has received a significant effect on modern literary criticism, argues that all individuals are subject matter within and of ideology (Belsey 54). Though specific ideologies may vary considerably depending on the social or historic context, every person is always and already a topic (Belsey 54). While this kind of characterization of Althusser’s getting pregnant of ideology is quite basic, Althusser’s standard theoretical structure is helpful to understanding Sissie’s complex cultural position, just like Marija, Sissie is also engrossed in a number of ideologies she very little cannot recognize, yet considering that the narrative point of view remains centered on Sissie, you, much just like Sissie, is restricted to criticizing foreign and identifiable ideologies. Although Aidoo’s effort to craft a protagonist whom somehow transcends the ideology-subject dialectic will probably be valiant (an overt example of this is the author’s constant play with the nature of Sissie’s name), the girl with ultimately unable to disentangle her character, and therefore the reader, in the omnipresence of ideology.
While Sissie is also accordingly entangled in systems of thought much like the ones your woman criticizes, one would be hard-pressed to conclusively locate and identify these kinds of since the target audience is also restricted to these ideologies. Although Aidoo presents views that make an effort to counter various common sense symbole, notable instances of this getting the value of education or the nobility of European medicine, these types of arguments are rooted in specific, even if harder to name, ideologies. The overarching point remains: Sissie’s strangeness permits her to deconstruct ideologies she does not subscribe to, however she is all the a subject since Marija or any type of other personality in the textual content. In this perception, Sissie’s simply power is usually her capacity to articulate and communicate the flaws during these notions. Aidoo seems to implicitly acknowledge this in the last moments in the text, as Sissie rereads a letter that this lady has just completed composing. Aidoo writes: inches[Sissie] was never going to post the letter. When written, it was written¦ There was no need to mail it. It absolutely was not necessary” (Aidoo 133). Within the framework of this discussion, this little decision appears to reframe the complete text, Sissie is unable to sanction any difference in the reality your woman so frantically criticizes, seeing that as the lady destabilizes widespread Western ideologies she simply perpetuates other folks. Here, if perhaps meaning or perhaps purpose is present in Aidoo’s work, this only resides in the short lived briefness of writing or describing. If Aidoo’s protagonist were to mail the letter, she would risk having her status being a subject and agent of other ideologies recognized and would definitely “get involved in a lot of metaphysical crap” (129).
When regarded as within the circumstance of the narrative’s opening lines, Sissie’s inescapable hypocrisy also indicts someone of Our Sister Killjoy. Like Sissie, as the reader either passionately will abide by the text’s ever present social comments or fervently argues against it, you is ongoing to function within just some approach to ideologies. And although these kinds of ideologies may differ dramatically, someone and Sissie are still utterly unable to break free this construction.