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Summary & Analysis of the Novel, 'Passed Like a Shadow'

The novel, 'Passed Like a Shadow,' narrates events that led to the once-pandemic disease, AIDS, slithering its way into Adyeri's and David's family, and consequently, claiming some members of Adyeri's family, including Adyeri, and all of David's family, including David.

The novel is centered on Adyeri, a husband and father, whose dictatorial style of leadership in his family, drunkenness, and extra-marital affair, led his family into severe poverty, disintegration of the family, and culminated in AIDS claiming his life, and of his wife. Atwoki, one of his two children, also was infected with the disease, in his adulthood, after the death of his parents. His free-living lifestyle led him to getting the disease. Only Aboki, Atwoki's sister, didn't get the disease.

David's family, on the other side, were immersed in flamboyant lifestyle. David and his father slept with women who their eyes fell on. Consequently, David's father infected his mother. He too had been infected with the disease, including the housemaid. The whole family, including the house worker, were wiped out by the disease.

The events in the novel occur during the period when AIDS was claiming thousands of lives, and at a time when little was known about the disease, and no drug had been made to treat HIV and AIDS.

Stadisbiblioteket, Stockholm, Sweden

Stadisbiblioteket, Stockholm, Sweden

The Title of the Novel

The title of the novel, 'Passed Like a Shadow,' is derived from a verb, passed, and a noun, shadow. Passed is an euphemism word for 'died.' A shadow is a dark figure cast on the ground or an object when something intercepts the rays of sun.

One characteristic of a shadow is that it doesn't exist for a lengthy time. It only lasts for some time before it evaporates into nothingness.

Thereby, in relation to the content of the novel, the title of the novel narrates the lives of individuals who didn't accomplish anything (or much) in their lives. This definition of the title is reiterated in a poetic-song performed by class five pupils of Kinyamasika Primary School during Parents' Day celebration. They sung,

What have I done in this world?

What memories shall I leave when I'm gone?

If memories I shall have are only those...

of having eaten and drunk;

I shall be ashamed; there is no honour in that;

And remembering you for the debts you leave behind;

It is curses which precede you on your journey;

Many people who die in anonymity;

They die in anonymity because the glorious things they did were eating, drinking and sleeping.

Then they crown their glory with death, a deed which is not hard even for the young on a breast.

That is having passed on this earth like a Shadow...

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

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The Summary of 'Passed Like a Shadow'


A sickly man boards a Daladala minibus at Kinondoni, Dar-es-Salaam. He alights from the vehicle at a Market, and heads to another bus stage to board another one another one which will take him to Referral Hospital. He struggles to walk; feeling very weak.

His friend, a laboratory technician at the Hospital, is lost in thoughts; contemplating how he'll break the news to his friend that he's infected with HIV. Feeling sad for his friend who had recently married, and had built a lavish house, the lab technician reflects on the words he'd been told by his uncle concerning the sexual transmitted disease, AIDS.

Chapter 1

Atwoki who had squatted to enjoy his matoke loses his appetite when he smells tobacco smoke (from his father's pipe), and sees him staggering while yelling at his older sister, Abooki.

Fear gripping his heart, he makes a run to take cover under his bed. In the process of fleeing from his father, he bumps into his sister who was holding a tray containing their father's meal.

The children look fearfully at their father as he bubbles out words in anger. Taking pleasure at the display of fear visible on their faces, he lits up his pipe, and then calls Atwoki.

Atwoki doesn't understand what his father means by calling him, "You!" He calls him again before he asks him how many times he's to call him.

Adyeri slaps him on the face. The impact of the slap sends the boy to the floor after hitting the over-cracked wall.

Amoti arrives to find his son on the floor. She confronts him but he is irked at the intensity of her lecturing him. He pounces on her before he lits his pipe, and leaves the house; banging the door.

Chapter 2

Atwoki who is standing outside their house on a Saturday morning, sees his cousin, Vicky, with another man coming towards their home. Filled with joy at the sight of his cousin, he runs to her.

He welcomes her joyfully as they enter the house. Amoti who is doing something on the corridor welcomes them coldly, and Vicky eyeing her, replies sarcastically she's glad to be back home.

Amoti doesn't see them off to the sitting room. Instead, she heads to the master bedroom to report to her husband of Vicky's comeback with a male visitor. Adyeri, lying on the bed, is reading a cartoon booklet.

Adyeri asks Amoti to tell Vicky he wants to see her. Amoti tells Atwoki to tell his cousin her uncle wants to see her in the bedroom.

Adyeri probes her about the male visitor. A dispute arises betweem Vicky and Amoti but Adyeri silences them. He tells Vicky to tell his fiancé, Akena, to come at a set date with his party to introduce himself, and talk about the dowry.

At the set date, both parties - Akena's and Adyeri's - meet at Adyeri's place. They don't agree on the bride price. Vicky's anticipation of getting married to the rich man is turned down.

Chapter 3

Atwoki and Abooki are in the same class, standard three, in a local primary school at Fort Portal. They are usually among the last pupils to leave the school since Abooki has to wait for her brother, a football fanatic, to be done playing with his playmates.

On one particular day, their uncle, Araali, visits them. The parents have not yet come back. He has brought biscuits and sweets for them. Also, he gives Abooki money to buy firewood and whatever she needs in the kitchen. He has also brought matoke, fish, white ants, and small mushrooms.

Adyeri enters his compound staggering while singing the Uganda's national anthem. At the kitchen, he stops. He asks Abooki whether she's cooking fish, and enquires where she got them from.

Trying to walk erect, and in a sober state, he walks towards the sitting room to meet the visitor, a distant cousin of his, while singing the national anthem.

Chapter 4

Vicky has returned to Fort Portal after having been sent to Bundibugyo to work as tea plucker for three months. She hadn't received any wage as they were sent to Amoti to pay for her children's fees.

Over the coming days, she has felt drawn closer to her Fort Portal's friends, Tusiime and Kunihira, since at home she lacks comfort and guidance.

On one particular day, her friends advise her to get herself a rich man if she wants to live a 'satisfying' life. She was unable to sleep that night as she reflected on what her friends had suggested.

Soon, rich men come to pick her up at her uncle's place. Amoti complains but to no avail. In turn, she becomes the breadwinner of the family, and silences her uncle from questioning her behaviour by buying him strong drinks and crates of beers.

One day, Adyeri, under the influence of alcohol, physically attacks a sugar daddy who had come to look for Vicky. Two weeks later, Vicky leaves Adyeri's house with all her belongings.

Chapter 5

Several years later, Adyeri is invited to a Parents' Day celebration at Kinyamasika Primary School on merit - as one of the pioneering teachers at the school.

At the school's hall where the ceremony is taking place, Adyeri ponders on the words uttered by standard five pupils performing a dance and song at the hall's stage. He leaves abruptly after the pupils have finished their performance.

He walks back to what used to be his family's home at Kachwamba Village. Amoti had left with her children to live at another location.

Adyeri's physical nature has changed greatly as he's lost more than twenty pounds in less than a year. Feeling weak, coughing heavily, and frequently, having a fever that doesn't go away, and vomiting which never ceases, Adyeri is exhibiting the symptoms of AIDS.

Having nowhere to go, Adyeri suffers silently at the deserted house. Birungi, his mistress, had chased him away from her house on the allegation he'd infected her.

Chapter 6

Atwoki, in his final year at St. Leo's High School, had propelled the Ugandan national football team to victory against Egypt during the African Cup of Nations. The two goals he scored saw him being showered with money and gifts. Even the President who had attended the tournament awarded him a new car and a fully paid holiday trip to the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese.

He had managed to build a simple and well-furnished house in Katumba Village for his mother from the funds he got from the fans of Uganda National Team.

On this notable day, Atwoki is chatting with his mother and sister. They hear a knock on the door. An elderly woman begs Amoti to care for her ailing husband. Amoti doesn't want to hear anything concerning Adyeri.

They hear the sound of a car braking outside followed by shouts. Nicknamed Fort Bullet (shortened, Bullet) due to his prowess in football, he hears people calling him by his nickname to come outside for they've brought his father.

Adyeri is carried on a stretcher. One of the men asks where they should put him. He points them to a room. Atwoki and Abooki weep at the emanciated figure of their father while Amoti is indifferent to her husband's fragile form.

Chapter 7

In Kampala, Atwoki enjoys a cup of coffee with David in a restaurant before they head to his friend's home. The two had met at a football training camp in Kampala. At the request of his friend, he promised to visit him once he completes his high school education.

At the restaurant, against his will, he gives in to David's persuasion to get herself a girlfriend, in this instance, a particular girl named Edna who is sitting in a provacative means to gain Atwoki's attention as he's become a household name. She leaves them her card, and her telephone numbers.

At his father's lavish house, David is warmly welcomed by David's family. In the evening, at a local bar, Sheraton Lion's Bar, David's father buys them drinks while he involves himself in a political discussion with a minister from Fort Portal.

Chapter 8

Vicky, married to a wealthy businessman, Aliganyira, has just finished preparing the local food, Obundu, when her husband arrives at their matrimonial home.

Her husband convinces her they should visit a witchdoctor. She's hesitant at the suggestion because she has an inherent fear of witchdoctors. Since she's desperate for a child, she agrees to see a famous witchdoctor in the region.

They leave late at night because Aliganyira doesn't want people to know his intention of paying the witchdoctor a visit at his working place. At the witchdoctor's office, Aliganyira dishes out a million shillings.

The witchdoctor orders Vicky to take off her clothes. He caresses her stomach before drawing lines on her stomach with a knife.

Chapter 9

Adyeri's drinking mates have met at their favourite bar, Tonto Club. They discuss about Adyeri who had passed away, and the sexual transmitted disease, AIDS.

In Katumba, Abooki is nursing her ill mother who had been infected by her husband. With no means of getting money to cater for her mother whose health is deteriorating, she leaves her under the care of a neighbour, and sets on a journey to visit her cousin for financial aid. Atwoki appeared of little help. He had sent money back home once through a fan. It's difficult for his fans whom Abooki sent to ask him to send more money as the lady she's in relationship with prevented them from talking to him.

She is astonished to find Vicky had lost a lot of weight, including her husband. She looks weak and old, and her facial complexion has darkened. She reveals to Abooki she's infected. They talk throughout the night. She advises her to avoid the lure of money, and gives her a good amount of money.

Back at home, Vicky continues nursing her mother. She gets to know John, a boy who comes from a rich family. John would visit her, giving her presents and money which assisted her in running the home. She considers him very kind.

She accepts John's offer to visit him at his home. She'd resolved to decline the offer but thought John would feel sad because he appeared gentle and honest.

At his parents' house, Abooki opts for soda instead of beer as suggested by John. They talk for some time before she excuses herself for a short call. While in the toilet, John drops a dissolvable valium tablet in her glass.

She feels sleepy after drinking her glass of soda. In the morning of the following day, she finds herself naked in John's bed. She burries her head in her hands, and cries, while John laughs at her.

Chapter 10

Unable to bear the uncertainty of whether she's infected or impregnated, she visits a local hospital, Virika.

She meets Jonathan, a counsellor, at the hospital. He goes with her through the questionnaire before having a lab technician take her blood samples.

Two weeks later, she returns to the hospital for her results. She's relieved she's neither impregnated nor infected with the sexual transmitted disease.

Johatham counsels her, and not very long, Abooki finds herself drawn in a web of affection towards the counselor. The same rings true to Jonathan which marks, not only the beginning of a friendship, but also a relationship.

A few days later, Atwoki arrives home in Katumba. His physical appearance has changed - his body is filled with skin burns and rashes. Abooki welcomes him without condemning him for anything he has done that contributed to his dismal state. He doesn't have a chance to see his mother for she had just been burried.

Abooki suggests they visit Uncle Araali. Atwoki is reluctant, guilt eating his being for having neglected him despite his uncle having funded his high school education. Abooki assures him their uncle is forgiving.

Their uncle's home is located a few kilometres away, on top of a hill. As Abooki knocks at their uncle's door, Atwoki is overwhelmed at the sight of nature surrounding him. He can see fishermen rowing in Lake George which is two kilometers away, the Kazinga Channel connecting Lake George with Lake Edward, and the Rwenzori mountain.

At the sight of Atwoki, Araali hugs his nephew as tears of joy streams off his face. "My son...My dear son...Welcome home. East or West, home is the best..." he says.

Analysis of the Novel

A) Form/Literary Devices Used in 'Passed Like a Shadow'

The author has employed several literary devices to tell, and add flavour to the story, with the intention of entertaining, and educating the readers pertaining to a subject, or several of them.

The following are stylistic devices that have been used in the novel.

1) Point of View

The narration of the events in the novel have been told from the third point-of-view. More so, it has been told from the omnipresent third point-of-view.

This type of narration affords the author the flexibility or the power to enter into a character's mind and know what he/she is thinking about another person or something. This enables readers to gain more information about the characters - their personality traits - from what they think other than what they speak, and how they act.

2. Hyperbole

Tusiime and Kunihira, Vicky's friends, convinced her to find herself a rich man if she wanted to live a lavished lifestyle. Before they gave her that advice of getting herself a big fish, Kunihira told her to break free from traditional beliefs that her uncle would curse her if she cohabites. Kunihira told her, If there are any curses, Adyeri is the one who is surely under a curse. Just see how his eyes always pop out of his face, you'd think he is a Muyaye. And that man, he is drunk twenty four hours."

Definitely, Kunihira exaggerated Adyeri is always drunk everyday whereas it's evident there are times he's in a sober state - not having touched any alcoholic beverage. For instance, when Vicky came with her fiancé to introduce him to her uncle.

In essence, Kunihira was stressing Adyeri's dependence on alcohol - he couldn't keep off from alcoholic beverage most of the days.

3. Irony

Aliganyira comforted his wife, Vicky, that she won't get the disease at the witchdoctor's place since science doesn't work in 'sacred' places. The witchdoctor laughed, pleased by what Aliganyira had said.

Ironically, the science, that Aliganyira and the witchdoctor dismissed as ineffective in the witchdoctor's quarters, worked. Vicky had contracted the disease since the knife that was used on her had been used on countless patients of the witchdoctor who were infected with AIDS.

Another instance is Adyeri who dismissed the concerns of his friends to be cautious so as not to catch the disease.

"People had warned him several times over about slim but he had shrugged off their talks as that of people who never thought they would die anyway."

He arrogantly replied to their concerns,

"For me I'll go on. I know I cannot avoid death and after all we all have to die sometime..."

It's ironical when he learnt he'd caught the disease he became angry at both people and God for being singled out to suffer such a fate, and if God exists, he would not allow the disease to infect him.

The man who had claimed he wouldn't stop his adulterous life since death was inevitable to any living person feared death when he caught the disease.

4. Imagery

The author has utilized descriptive words in enabling a reader to form a mental image of something he/she is describing so as to engage the reader in his story.


  1. When the door was opened, the people who had come with the car hurried to carry off Adyeri in a stretcher. He was stinking and had sores all over his body. His mouth involuntarily salivated as the open mouth revealed a swollen tongue (pg. 28)
  2. So that's how they went to visit Uncle Araali. They boarded the notorious minibus to Kitagwenda. On their way they passed through the evergreen Kibale forest with its tall trees and a lot of baboons. There were some soldiers guarding the road as it was reputed to be a haven for robbers. They dropped at Kitagwenda. Atwoki had to be carried on a bicycle for the 20 kilometers stretch to Ihunga village where his uncle stayed. The village was surrounded by well-curved hills which were carpeted by uniformed green grass. (pg. 48)
  3. Daddy stood poisedly, his hands in his pocket. He enjoyed the sudden silence which had spread all over the place. He enjoyed knowing that his children feared him like hell. (pg. 2)

5. Foreshadowing

Amoti thought it a burden to take care of her ailing husband. Her bitterness for her husband emanated in the abusive nature of Adyeri towards her and their children. Unbeknownst to Amoti, she's infected by the Slim disease. The fact Andyeri was infected meant he'd infected Amoti since he didn't know he had caught the disease.

As readers, we are aware Amoti would die, in the future, because she's infected with the disease. The fact she didn't know she's infected increased her chances of dying from the disease.

When the drinking mates of Adyeri congregate to enjoy the taste of beer while discussing on various issues, one of them comments Atwoki and Abooki are responsible children; they won't get the disease. The man gives an instance of Atwoki who had built a house at a young age. Another dismisses that notion by remarking that a local newspaper, 'Uganda Confidential,' reported that Bullet had become a reputed womaniser.

"You know it as they say, like father, like son," he says.

This hint provides us with apprehension the behaviour that led his father to get the disease will also lead Atwoki to contract the disease. This proves true towards the end of the novel - Adyeri was infected with the disease.

6. Diction

The author has used simple words that are used in everyday conversation. The dialogue among the characters in the novel is casual. This eases reading novel among the majority of readers whose English is not their native language.

The author has also used several Ugandan local words and expressions thereby adding flavour to the story. He has provided a glossary of the local words he's used, and some English vocabularies not known to many of the readers.

7. Similes

Most of the school days when Abooki and Atwoki arrived home from school, their parents weren't at home. It was up to Abooki to do the house chores including cooking food. The author remarks that Abooki was as hardworking as a donkey. The use of simile in this this instance is to convey the hard-working nature of the little girl who was barely ten-years old.

Another instance of simile used is when one of Adyeri's drinking mates likens Atwoki to his father - like father, like son. The use of the simile aims to establish a son will take after the behaviour (s) of his father. Atwoki was reported as a womaniser just as his father was famously known for.

B) Themes

1) Autocracy/Dictatorship

A man who desired to be feared by his children, Adyeri always sought the cane to expend justice even in situations wherein it wasn't warranted.

When Atwoki bumped accidentally into Abooki who was carrying a tray containing their father's meal, they froze, knowing what would follow - caning. They'd been used to caning that whenever they did minor mistakes or accidentally did something, their dad would respond by caning them. "As Daddy fumed on, Atwoki froze and froze. His sister Abooki was in a nightmare. She knew what was coming. It was the cane. It was that old fashioned cane which Daddy kept in his room for dispensing justice to his children..."

Furthermore, the theme of dictatorship is seen when "Daddy stood poisedly, his hands in his pocket. He enjoyed the sudden silence which had spread all over the place. He enjoyed knowing that his children feared him like hell. It gave him a sense of satisfaction, a sense of royalty and aristocracy."

In another occasion, Adyeri silenced Amoti and Vicky when Amoti was objecting Vicky to be married to Akena. He thundered at them, "Shut up both of you. I'm the only person who puts on trousers in this room. I'm the one to make a decision..."

The dictator he was, Adyeri replied rudely to Amoti to pack her things and leave the house if she was against his decision to do what he wanted with his inherited land.

2) Familial Abuse

Abuse can be defined as ill-treatment administered by someone against another person. Abuse can be manifested physically, sexually or verbally (psychologically). It can occur in schools, homes or in institutions. Familial abuse is abuse is unjustifiable treatment meted against a member or members of a family by a family or family members.

Adyeri was feared by his children due to his dictatorial-type of leadership in the family. Even though his wife didn't fear him, she was always at the receivership of the frequent fights between them as an underdog. This clearly explains why Amoti considered it as a burden to take care of Adyeri when he's brought on a stretcher by a group of men to her new home where she stayed with her children. It's stated, "Amoti stood at the door very defiantly not knowing what to do, she just thought that it was not a good thing for them to have brought him there. 'They have just brought a burden,' she thought."

Shedding tears at the sight of her father; the words uttered by one of the men "took her so far back. She looked back at the expectations she had on her father as a child, how they had been frustrated and trampled upon..."

In another scenario, Adyeri pounced on his wife when she confronted, and in the process, provoked him.

Furthermore, "Atwoki who was his mother's favourite ran to his mother's help and tried to pull Daddy away. Daddy gave him a furious kick in the stomach..." It's unimaginable to expect Adyeri to kick his son, barely ten-years old, on the stomach because he's trying to save his mother from his fierce hands.

Whenever Amoti complained of his absence from the family for a couple of days to weeks, and not providing for the family, "...she encountered the ritual beating which forced her to succumb to the condition by suppressing the suffering in her broken heart."

3) Prostitution

Vicky immersed herself in prostitution from being wrongly convinced by her village's girlfriends, Tusiime and Kunihira, to put her body for sale to gain riches. Tusiime told her that she would sleep with any man to get money. "Life is not easy," she told her. "There is no short-cut. Even girls who are university graduates are doing it. Vicky, you can't be smarter than the rest of the people in the world. You have to face facts. Beauty can make your life different. Think of it Vicky, it is time you make some smart move. Put your love for sale and forget about your uncle."

Both of Vicky's friends were expelled from high school for various reasons though one of them managed to get back to her school. Tusiime was expelled from Maria Goretti Secondary School for leading other students in the burning of some mattresses at the school. Though her family was poor, she managed to get back to school. She paid her schools fees without any difficulty, and was one of the best dressed girls in the school. Kunihira, in her third year at Kyebambe Girls Secondary School, was also expelled from the school as the school's staff were fed up with her.

The girls managed to open and operate a tailor shop in Kachwamba. "Vicky didn't exactly know who financed their project, but she knew that Tusiime had at least hooked a Muzungu boyfriend. May be he was the one financing it. That Muzungu was also married and visited Tusiime very secretly."

4) Moral Decay

Older people and parents are encouraged to be good exemplars to the younger generation and their children.

David's parents were not ashamed watching an erotic film together with their children, and their visitor, Atwoki. It's stated, "After they had taken their lunch, the whole family plus the visitor clustered around the VCR to watch a film. The film was a romantic tale full of sexual scenes. Daddy was very excited and his voice cracked with laughter almost throughout the show."

At the visitor's quarters, "The room was full of pictures of half-naked women. On the table there was a pile of pornographic magazines..."

David's failure to complete his university education could be traced back to the extravagant-immoral environment he's raised up by his parents.

5) Extra-marital Affairs

Initially, Adyeri resisted the sexual suggestive gestures of his secretary, Birungi, as a headmaster at Leo's High School. However, he gave in to the sexual desires. Consequently, a relationship sprang from the two sending "a shockwave into the school community bearing in mind his reputation as an upright man who had made it to the top of his profession."

As the relationship between the two blossomed, "Adyeri was rarely seen at his home in Kachwamba. He would perhaps sleep at home only when he was late in moving off the bar after closure time when he failed to get means of transport to Burungu..."

6) Bride Price

It is apparent the payment of dowry is practised in Uganda since the majority of events narrated in the novel, Passed Like a Shadow, occure therein.

Adyeri told his niece, Vicky, to tell her fiancé to come at a set date with his team for introduction and negotiation of the bride price. When both teams - Adyeri's and Vicky's fiancé's - met at Adyeri's homestead, they didn't agree on the amount of dowry. Adyeri was adamant "not to receive a cow or a penny less." Akena, Vicky's fiancé', said he would pay a maximum of two cows only.

Adyeri's greediness for richness caused Vicky to lose the man she loved because he's rich. "Inside her heart, she burnt with anger against what she imagined to her a greedy uncle."

7) The Pandemic Sexual Transmitted Disease - AIDS

This is the major theme of the novel. The novel starts with a Prologue whereby we're introduced to a man who was heading to a referall hospital in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzanian. The man had lost a lot weight in a shorter time, and was struggling to walk from one public vehicle to another as he felt very weak. At the hospital, his friend, a laboratory technician, was pondering how he would break the bad news to his pal that he's infected with the disease.

Most of Adyeri's family members succumbed to the disease starting with Adyeri, followed by Amoti, and lastly, Atwoki who exhibited the signs of the last stage of AIDS. Only Abooki was lucky not to have fallen into the snare of the disease. Vicky, Adyeri's niece, was also not lucky from escaping from the disease's grasp.

Additionally, David's parents, David and their househelp were infected. His father had died from the disease while his mother, and the housemaid, were in their last stages of life. David, enraged at what had befallen his family "did his best to spread the infection to as many unsuspecting girls as he could catch."

Adyeri who had dismissed the disease, Atwoki who had failed to learn from his father's mistakes, Vicky's desire to stick with the rich businessman as her husband for the fear of being chased from his house for lack of bearing him a child, and the flamboyant lifestyle of David's father, and his son, are a representative of the many not mentioned that led to characters in the novel to catch the disease, and ultimately, succumbing to it.

C) Characterization

i) Adyeri

He is one of the main characters in the novel. He is a husband to Amoti, and father of Abooki and Atwoki.

Adyeri was the former headmaster of St. Leo's High School, and one of the pioneering teachers at Kinyamasika Primary School. He was fired from his job as headteacher of St. Leo's when news reached the Bishop he' squandering the school's funds to build a house for Birungi, and Amoti confronting him at a staff meeting. She wanted to know from him and his colleagues where he's staying as he hadn't been at home for a month.

Adyeri contracted the sexually transmitted disease, and in a few months, his body lost the strength of fighting the HIV virus.

Before his death, Adyeri was known as a womaniser. Additionally, his alcoholic behaviour inhibited him from being employed by Fort Portal's schools.

At home, his children feared him. He raised them harshly as he desired to rear them in the manner he was brought up by his parents. Even though Amoti never feared her husband, she's always beaten for either confronting or provoking him to anger.

ii) Amoti

Known as Short Amoti due to her challenge d height, Amoti was the wife to Adyeri, and mother to Abooki and Atwoki.

Amoti is portrayed as a woman who liked gossiping. If she had arrived home early, she would have saved Atwoki from being beaten by Adyeri. Nonetheless, "she had spent more than one hour just gossiping against the wife of the rich shopkeeper whom she intensively hated and was jealous of."

Since her family was living in a poverty-stricken state, Amoti was jealous of any female she knew who was either married or engaged to a rich man. She was jealous of the shopkeeper's wife because her husband was rich. When Vicky revealed to Adyeri and Amoti she would get married to Akena, Amoti asked her which occupation the man was involved in. Vicky replied he owned a motor garage in Kamwenge. Hearing that, she became jealous of Vicky.

iii) Abooki

She is the sister to Atwoki, and the daughter of Adyeri and Amoti. She is the only member in Adyeri's family who didn't catch the disease.

She's a hardworking young woman from a tender age. She cared for and loved her family. Even when Atwoki had deserted her and their ailing mother when they needed financial support from him, she never complained to him when he came home looking weak and rashes spread all over his body; a sign he was infected by HIV.

She was affable (friendly), charming, and gregarious (sociable, and fond of company). Additionally, she's quiet, and considerate of others.

One of her major strengths that made her escape from the gasp of the disease is that she's meditative (reflective).

iv) Atwoki

A brother to Abooki, and son of Adyeri and Amoti, Atwoki took after some of the characteristics of his father. He was quoted by the Uganda Confidential newspaper as a womanizer. It might be, due to this trait, he was infected by young women he slept with.

From a young age, Atwoki was an active boy. He was active in any playful activity e.g. hide-and-seek, jumping squares, outcompeting in prophesying one's future, and playing football.

He made it to the Uganda National Team whilst a student at St. Leo's High School. He propelled his team in clinching the African Cup of Nations by scoring two goals against their opponent, Egypt.

Atwoki was also a responsible young man. He managed to build his mother a house where he lived with her and his sister. However, he became careless by forgetting what led his father to contracting AIDS which led to his death. Therefore, he wasn't spared by the disease due to the wild life he'd immersed himself in.

v) Araali

A distant cousin to Adyeri, and Atwoki and Abooki's uncle, Araali was altruistic. He cared for Adyeri's family by providing the basic necessities to the family. Also, he funded Atwoki and Abooki's high school education as Adyeri had relished his duties. As such, he was caring and generous.

He treated Atwoki and Abooki as his children. In fact, he paid for the children's high school education, and provided basic needs to the family when he could.

vi) David

A man who loved the pleasures of the world, he was instrumental in influencing Atwoki in having extra romantic relationships, and enjoying the luxuries afforded by life. He discouraged Atwoki from persuing university education.

David never completed his university education as he never attained the grade required. Despite many years of repeating examinations, he never made it, and as a result, he's forced to discontinue his education at the institution.


There are several lessons we can glean from studying the novel. Some of the lessons are:

  1. Parents should refrain from exercising autocratic parenting. It results in the hardening of the hearts of the children towards them, that is, the fond feelings they've towards their parents is replaced by hatred or dislike. Furthermore, the expectations children have of their parents will be squashed as they'll no longer perceive their parents in a lovely light. Staring at the frail body of her father, Abooki cried. "She looked back at the expectations she had on her father as a child, how they had been frustrated and tramped upon." Amoti confronted her husband on his dictatorial parenting style. She asked him, "What type of man are you? Do you think that this child is of your equal? Why do you give him such man-sized beatings? Do you think he will love you when he grows up?"
  2. Scientific studied have, time and time again, reteirated the benefit of existence of mutual respect among partners in a relationship. They assert respect among partners is one of the top ten foundational components that knit relationships. Lack of respect in a relationship can lead to a break up, separation or divorce. A partner who is unrespected feels unloved, unappreciated, undermined, and devalued. Amoti deserted her matrimonial home to stay with her children in another location. It reached a point she developed hard feelings towards her husband. She never wept when the fragile body of her husband was brought to their home. She considered her husband a burden to take care of.
  3. The type of friends you have determines the kind of impact they'll have in your life. Will they influence you, positively or negatively? Will they propel you in the right direction or will they divert you from the right path? David influenced Atwoki negatively. Atwoki closed the chartered path he'd set of enrolling in an institution of higher education. Additionally, Atwoki was infected by the 'slim' disease by Edna, a going woman David hooked up Atwoki with.
  4. Your worthiness or value as a human being is determined on how you lived your life on earth. Which kind of impact will you leave behind when you pass away? Will you have impacted those you left behind, and others, in a positive light? This was the major theme of standard five pupils of Kinyamasika Primary school who staged a poetic play during the schools Parents' day.

© 2019 Alianess Benny Njuguna


Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on September 20, 2020:

@Fahima, I will publish them next week. Thank you for bringing that up.

Fahima on September 20, 2020:

Where is the analysis on figures of speech used aalong eith the messages we get from the figures of sperch

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on August 18, 2020:

I agree, and thanks for the comment, kyleinbaddest

kyleinbaddest on August 13, 2020:

it was epic

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on May 26, 2020:

Thank you, Riel for the feedback. It is much appreciated.

Riel tina on May 25, 2020:

Its nice.i like it

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on May 09, 2020:

@Eugy, thanks for your feedback. I have only concentrated on chapter analysis (and soon character analysis). Hopefully soon, when things get better or back to normal, I will include the figures of speech or stylistic devices the author has used to tell the story.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on May 09, 2020:

@Berry, thank you for your comment. I will include the character analysis in this analysis before the end of this month.

Eugy Kalma on May 09, 2020:

I can see you have really tried but where are the figures of speech used

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on April 29, 2020:

@David, the following are the traditions and customs that have been manifested in the book.

1. Dowry. This is a traditional practice that occurs in Uganda where the major events in the book take place. Adyeri refused the negotiation bride price that had been suggested by the group representing Akena. This meant that the arranged marriage between Vicky and Akena wouldn't take place.

2. It is not acceptable in the village, and possibly most parts of the country, for a woman (old or young) to ride a bicycle. Adyeri chased away Vicky from his house when he saw her riding a bicycle.

3. House chores are reserved for women. When the parents were not at home, it was Abooki who was left with the responsibility of doing the house work - washing utensils, cleaning the house and cooking. Despite her young age, she would cook food even for her father when her mother was not around. Her father could have cooked the food noting Abooki was very young. Atwoki could have washed his clothes or helped with some house work. Instead, most of his home time was devoted to playing football.

4. The sole decision maker in a family is man. A woman can contribute to a family issue but her contribution can be dismissed. Adyeri made it clear to Amoti and Vicky that he is the only man wearing a trouser in the house pertaining to dowry and Akena (Vicky's man who wants to marry her). This meant that he was the one to choose not them. When Amoti requested Adyeri not to sell a piece of his inherited land, Adyeri became furious and told her if she's is not satisfied with him selling the land she should get out of their home. In the end, he sold a piece of his land.

Berry Michael on April 22, 2020:

Plz if there was an analysis on the characters main characters and other characters it would've been nice

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on April 15, 2020:

@David, thank you for the feedback. I will reply to your comment again with the question you've requested.

David meena on April 15, 2020:

Thanks for the summary but can you also try to help me ny showing

The traditons n customs from the book

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on April 14, 2020:

Thank you, Stanley. I really appreciate it.

Stanley Mkunda on April 14, 2020:

thank you for ur story,u educate us a lot.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on April 04, 2020:

Thank you Delia for your feedback.

Selina on March 18, 2020:

ilove it

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on March 11, 2020:

Thank you Edwa for your reply and good to know when you read posts like this you gain knowledge and skills how to deal with people. It is the most important thing in life to avoid depression and unnecessary stress.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on March 11, 2020:

Thank you Edwa for your reply and good to know when you read posts like this you gain knowledge and skills how to deal with people. It is the most important thing in life to avoid depression and unnecessary stress.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on March 05, 2020:

Thank you Nassra for your feedback. I too enjoy it.

nassra on March 05, 2020:

ilove this story

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on February 13, 2020:

@Meshack, asante kwa maoni yako kuhusiana na hii chapisho.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on February 13, 2020:

I will include the relevance since this post isn't yet complete.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on February 13, 2020:

@Nashon, thank you

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Nairobi, Kenya on February 13, 2020:

@Joh, asante.

nashon alufan on February 11, 2020:

good summary

Oscar on October 28, 2019:

Where the relevant

meshackngushwai on October 24, 2019:

mbaya i DID NOT like it

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