Language and Style in The Blood of a stranger
The use of Language in The Blood of a stranger
Language use in The Blood of a stranger is simple but compact and profound. To large extent, language is used to also reflect characterization. For instance, King Santigi’s language is elevated and
laced with wisdom and sometimes proverbs. Let us look at this dialogue between him and Kindo his son:
KINDO: I do not like men who see everything and say everything they see. I do not like men who have no backbone.
SANTIGI: One day, you too will become an old man and you will have no backbone, like Maligu
KINDO: I shall die a warrior-king, father, I shall always have my backbone. I shall always fight for truth father truth, father.
SANTIGl: There are times when a warrior has to fight with his head and times when he has to fight with his mouth, Kindo. Only when you can do that would you be able to rule well. You are too impatient (55-56).
What the king has simply told his son-warrior in simple but profound language is that human beings have phases of development, we cannot be strong all the time. Even then, the strength of a warrior is all about physicality but intelligence and wit. When Maligu pleads with the king to stop from dealing with whitehead for his insolence, he replies:
SANTIGI: I speak only because I am not yet dead, Maligu. I sit on the throne for that same reason and because custom demands that. Kindo is almost your king. I am tired (64)
Apart from the heightened impact of this statement, there is grace and elegance in it. He simply tells him that Kindo is more or less the acting king waiting for him to die to be formally crowned. It is also a polite way of telling Maligu to respect Kindo’s views and also take instructions from him as the king to be. “Kindo is in charge” (64).
Kindo too as the heir-apparent, apart from his occasional rashness also speaks with wisdom and deep rooted imagery. After addressing Maligu amongst other things that “we must learm to know peace among ourselves before we live at peace with strangers”, his father King Santigi acknowledges that those are not the words of a warrior, Kindo. Those are the words of a wise elder” (59). Kindo’s exchange with Wara at the foot of the cave is full of imagery. Hear him for instance,
KINDO: I feel something strange in the air, Wara. The hunter sees with his eyes and ears and nose He sees with his whole body, I smell trouble, Wara. It makes me restless. It makes me distrust everybody (30)
Maligu as the king’s chief advisor and a wise man also speaks with dignity. His exchanges with Sokoare often imbued with poetic images and wise sayings. Soko especially speaks the language of the spirits’ with proverbs and thought-provoking idioms. Hear Soko: “The monkey is wise. The leopard is strong. Their blood for Kings and great warriors” (36); “the dog dies with its dream in its belly. I will die with my (37): “We gave our blood for peace. We gave our lives for our children. But peace is like the moon. It stays not forever. The sun drives it away. Astranger comes to the land. want peace, treat him well. If you want peace throw more The blood of in another place” (38). these few examples with his chants and incantations position him well as a pries that is well connected to the spirits he serves. Clearly, Soko’s language also has ritual import when the occasion requires it as already demonstrated.
We also have the use of Creole language/pidgin reserved for the poverty stricken pool from which Whitehead draws his labourers. After getting them drunk, hear what one of them says:
TowNSMAN: enly) Leave my Kindo. Don’t come near me. Leave my botchul, Chell
him, Mista Waiched. He won choc hake my botchul. (He staggers to his feet and starts to dance.) Mista Waiched, dorobe, Mista Waiched, number one.
The use of Style in The Blood of a stranger
Style is distinctive form; a distinctive and identifiable form in an artistic medium such as literature. The Blood of a Stranger has linear plot structure and is very straightforward without any obvious complications. It is simple and easy to follow and understand. Locales are differently situated in front of the priest’s cave, the sacrifice stone arena in the shrine, the king’s palace, Whitehead’s house which we never see, a clearing somewhere for drinking and dancing. These many locales for a linear plot may affect dramatic effectiveness as a theatre piece genre of the play is tragedy. The tragic tone of the play is not roundly portrayed by the common features of tragedy of having a tragic hero that is superhuman who falls from grace to grass as a result of his tragic flaws. The tragic attributes of this emphasized by the coming of the white stranger that brought trouble to Mandoland, the priest betraying his calling to the detriment o
his people, incurring the anger of the spirits against land, the contrived ritual sacrifice of Whitehead as a retributive the justice for his acts against Mando nation. Besides, blood is a common word used in play with symbolic and real imports. Perhaps the real figure in The is
Kindo who stands firmly to defend his land from social and moral desecration and plundering of their natural resources but gets banished from the very land he passionately defends. He kills Whitehead
because he does not want him “to plant more evil among the people At the point when impediments, safe for Maligu who Kindo could also have taken care of anyway, that stand in the way Of progress for Mandoland are cleared, Kindo that makes this possible is banished from the
land. Kindo himself observes this travesty: “It is not strange who the greatest protector of the custom should now be punished by the custom?” This futility of efforts is what makes The Blood of a Stranger an uncommon kind of tragedy. Another unique slant to the tragic hues is that Kindo goes into exile with full military compliments as all his warriors go with him as Mando custom stipulates. He goes also as a satisfied warrior that quelled a major opposition in Whitehead. As such, Kindo’s fall is not essentially from grace to grass, but from grace to graze land. It is also worth noting that even though the tragic nature of the play is not in doubt, it also wears the garb of satire in its underlying rendering. The play essentially parodies colonialism in Africa and how fought back with dignity, using the Sierra Leonean experience, There are however some dramatic devices the playwright uses to tell his story for general dramatic cohesion and relevance