The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – A Study Guide

 

Beautyful-Ones-Ayi-Kwei-ArmahTitle of the book: The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
Author’s name: Ayi Kwei Armah
Year of publication: 1968

Genre: social realism
Time when the action takes place: Between Passion Week in 1965 and February 25, 1966 – the day after the overthrow of Kwam Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president
Setting: Western region of Ghana

Times:

  • post-independence Ghana
  • the masters were the white men, their language was English
  • currency: pesewa
  • president: Osagyefo
  • the Nkrumah government

Style:

  • the narrative often presents reflections (sometimes philosophical) on time / age / youth / life
  • long sentences
  • many details

Atmosphere:

  • decadent
  • dirty
  • horrible
  • lack of hope

Beautyful-Ones-Ayi-Kwei-Armah-1Main characters:

The man:

  • works for the Block (Railway & Harbour Administration Block)
  • is a control clerk in the traffic Control Office at Kansawora Station
  • Oyo, his wife, longs for a better life at all costs
  • has three children; two daughters and one son: Deede, Adoley, Ayivi
  • Koomson is his classmate in school

Joseph Koomson:

  • Minister Plenipotentiary, Member of the Presidential Commission
  • before joining the party was a dock worker
  • represents the corrupt politician, Socialist Party
  • Estella, his wife

Teacher:

  • the naked man
  • free from the burden of a family, but yet not free

Kofi Bill:

  • dock worker
  • lost his leg in an accident (a white man’s fault) – replaced by a wood-and-metal one
  • commits suicides (hangs himself)

Sister Maanan:

  • a beautiful woman
  • finds escape in smoking wee (marijuana)
  • goes mad in the end

Existential problems:

  • Is the man a coward or a fool if he remains honest but as a consequence starves his family?
  • The myth of Plato’s cave

The Matrix intertextuality:

  • “Then everyone you know is a slave.” (p.55)

  15 comments for “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – A Study Guide

  1. Aruna Kallon
    24/08/2011 at 6:50 am

    The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born is the writing on the wall that Africa has yet to cure that chronic festering wound, that deep cut, that shock, which independence left in its wake- disillusionment. I know we all would want to say: ‘better yesterday than today'; but no! That’s not the spirit. That’s not the stuff we’re made of. We gotta change it…shed it… We gotta do it!

  2. Aaron jeremiah
    06/02/2012 at 3:07 pm

    The novel explains about the events occured in Ghana years after independence.it also explains about corrupt leaders who always embezzle public funds for their own interests..”it is really true that the beautyful ones are not yet born!”

  3. EYEFOX
    12/03/2012 at 2:41 am

    IT IS AVIOUSLY A GOOD STORY.REFLECTS THE REAL CORRUPTED WORLD AND NOT JUST IN AFRICA. IT IS THE CASE FOR ALL COUNTRIES EVERYONE IS LOOKING FIR HIS OWN BENIFITS.I THINK THE BEAUTIFUL ONES WOULD NEVER BORN.

  4. Nilla
    25/03/2012 at 1:43 am

    It’s true that “the beautiful ones are not yet born” and may be they will never born.Good choice of words; to represent what’s real going on in Third world countries. Leaders are corrupted and what they real do is to make sure that their stomach are fuller than their followers. Shame on them…

  5. Ernest
    17/04/2012 at 8:20 am

    i just luve the book and the choice of words used.

  6. Lizzie
    28/05/2012 at 2:48 pm

    The novel symbolizes the currupt leader dat they outh to av change

  7. Slindile
    28/08/2012 at 2:52 pm

    This novel is eye opening of what is really going on in countries after independence. It is shocking of how people protest for such things but at the end the majory ends up marginalized and in deep poverty. This novel basically portrays that picture and is so much enjoyable. it is actually quit motivating as well.

  8. Auwalu umar
    09/01/2013 at 2:58 am

    Indeed,this is a vivid and clear picture portraying the rotten nature of a corrupt African society.

  9. omosowhofa .O. Prince
    31/01/2013 at 1:28 am

    The book; The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born explores the corruptible Ghana immediately after the day president Kwane Nkruma was overthrown. The book is set between 1965 and 1966 in western Ghana; Takoradi and Kansawora.

  10. Linda Uwumagbe
    21/02/2013 at 5:53 pm

    I am not surprised because this is what is stil happening in most Africa countries and nothing is done about it. can the beautyful ones be born?

  11. 24/04/2013 at 3:30 am

    AFRICA PASS ON MANY STRUGGLE IN POST PRE COLONIZATION THE BOOK REFLECT AFRICAN CORRUPTS,CULTURE AND POLETICAL DIS ORDER I LOVE IT YES THE BEUTIFUL WILL BORN BUT NOT YET IN AFRICA?

  12. 24/04/2013 at 3:36 am

    AFRICA IS THE POOREST CONTENT IT IS THE SADDEST THING FOR WE ALL AFRICA BUT AUTHORS LIKE CHINUA ACHEBE AND THIS GUNANIAN WRITER CONTRUBIT SOMETHING FOR AFRICA.THIS IS REALY INTERESTING AND MUCH IMPORTANT BOOK OF AFRICA.IN FACT MANY AFRICAN ARE NOT INTERESTING READING BOOKS BUT THIS BOOK HAS POWER TO ATRACT READERS.

  13. Ogunronbi Oluwadunsin Abisoye
    06/06/2013 at 5:18 am

    It is avery gud buk,and it is recommed for students in english dept,it tells the story of a man who doesnt want to involve in corruption,and how koomson is comparing his own life to dat of d man,it also feature estella,koomsom’s wife who iz eager to have a car of her own and how shez behaving like a white woman,it shows flithy in the novel,as ai the yellow siliva and the latrine

  14. maru nelly
    15/07/2013 at 8:29 pm

    I love the book but i wonder wether the beautyful ones will be born because those who remain good die in poverty while the corrupt get satisfied how long will this continue if only africans would decide to join forces n stop imitation of the whites the we would not have limited resources

  15. amina
    26/10/2014 at 9:08 pm

    i am doing research on the beautyfulones are not yet born please help me

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