There’s assumption of the dignity of his people, descendants of the black Sudanese, their pride in their way of life. There’s rational Mohammedanism thinly . Complete summary of Camara Laye’s The Dark Child. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Dark Child. Analysis and discussion of characters in Camara Laye’s The Dark Child.

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I have only read this book in French. The only bloody scenes are those describing ritual circumcision, and even these showed a communal event of initiation and coming-of-age rather than an act of brutality as in other books that address the subject.

The Dark Child by Camara Laye

Great book to get the feel of the culture of West Africa. In the school, in a new city for the first time in his experience, Laye encounters difficult language barriers and a dak, humid climate more taxing and oppressive than that in his Koroussa home More By This Author: Nevertheless, he was not allowed to take too many liberties, for it is part of the praise-singer’s task to preserve it.

The Dark Child chiild Camara Laye. These spiritual powers must be propitiated by rites, sacrifices, and ceremonies. At 15, Laye traveled to the colonial capital, Conakry, to study at a technical college, and four years later left his homeland on a scholarship to study in France. Laye slows down to add detail when it matters and doesn’t bog down the story with unnecessary information in other places. Stanford University, 24 May A thorough overview of Achebe’s life, literary works, themes in his writing, and links to more broad information on African politics, religion, history, etc.

The Dark Child Summary & Study Guide

Indiana University Press, Learn more Blog Submit. Laye then goes on to note: Browse all BookRags Study Guides. It began well, but the plot became uninteresting. He does feel, however, that the ceremony and rituals instill bravery and confidence in him.

This memoir is an enjoyable read that is a picturesque coming of age story set in Africa. Trivia About The Xamara Child. All acts and their associate instruments have nyama [energizing force]….

And even though the two worlds seem to be mutually exclusive, he does not invalidate one at the expense of the other. Laye shares too his own conviction in connections between the Muslim faith and the practical world.


There he finds a separation between “industrial” or “trade” schools like the one he attends, and “classic academics” of more affluent schools where economically well-off children are places. He was praised for maintaining optimism in the face of pain, and for chold renouncing his cultural heritage.

French is the dominant spoken and written language, and Laye’s school is being revamped under French reform to include both “technical and practical training” and not just trade skills Sep 20, Kristel rated it it was amazing Shelves: For better or worse, Laye is removed from his village before he learns this secret.

In fact, a debate rages thhe about the status of the nyamakala in general. Its similarity to Ngugi’s book is that education is given a focal point in his dreams and desires, and that is always the beginning of a good life.


Published January 1st by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The setting makes Laye’s life interesting because it is unique and simultaneously undersco An enjoyable coming of age story about Camara Laye’s childhood in French Guinea.

An interpretation by a university literature student of Laye’s strategy in constructing this novel and speculation as to the author’s views of God and African culture. I do wish there had been a final chapter about his next trip home after his flight to France or some other final thoughts from his perspective as an adult. However, he knows early in his life that he will not be a laborer.

A subscriber to Malinke beliefs might also say he was born into a nyamakala family, and as such possessed creative power of his own. Two entire chapters were devoted to circumcisions After three years in which he flourishes as a scholar, he places first on the final proficiency exam and is told by the headmaster that he has been offered a scholarship in France. As a child, Laye loves to visit his grandmother, uncles and camzra in the countryside. His main source for The Dark Child are darl memories of the cultural life of the Malinke people among whom he was raised.

THE DARK CHILD by Camara Laye | Kirkus Reviews

No where in his autobiography do we see evidence of the primitive, dark, “uncivilized” culture of Africa as depicted in classic colonial works like Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but instead encounter a quiet, solid, emotionally-scaffolded narrative, in the context of sophisticated nonfiction that calmly relays milestones in the author’s childhood and young adult experience. Simons suggests students using their own papers for starting texts as a prewriting activity.


In France, the work was praised for its stylistic and thematic excellence and simplicity. On top of these disadvantages, they coped with new experiences of racism in a predominantly white society and with inner pangs of homesickness. His detailed, slice of life account of the enchanting lives of Muslims in the village of Kouroussa Guinea–French Africa was very moving.

The area featured in the memoir, known as Upper Guinea, lies in the Mande heartland. Finally, Conakry is planned like a modern city, with straight, tree-lined streets, and, as mentioned, single homes instead of concessions.

By some West African students held such scholarships, and perhaps as many financed their own way to France Hargreaves, p. African readers were often less enchanted; many felt Laye was pandering to the taste of the French colonists for exotic tales of simple, contented Africans. In these chapters, Laye appears to be just another boy in a loving family—a happy Malinke youth, living in the manner of his forefathers.


The English version loses the qualities of alliteration and repetition that Laye uses to excellent effect. In addition, the conditions of French colonial Guinea, especially the tiny village of Tindican, could not have been as ideal as Laye describes. Respected and loved throughout his childhood, Laye’s life may not seem typical, but his experiences are honestly, if not nostalgically, recorded, and readers will universally identify with many of them, although the culture may be foreign.

Dec 24, Anita Pomerantz rated it liked it Shelves: Then, when Laye pulls back the veil to reveal what readers may have suspected, they can understand why such events are so important, how sophisticated in fact these rituals are.

More commonly, he implies that he still believes there is some truth to much of it, refusing to discount his native traditions simply because his Western education has told him to do so.