1.20.2009

On "The Voter" by Chinua Achebe

At the end of the story we had to read, "The Voter", the protagonist, Roof, makes a surprising decision. He rips his paper (ballot) in half, for he has rationalized that his actions to each candidate make a vote for either 'the right thing to do'.

As I read that section I sort of see myself in this situation. Although I believe given the choice between two I might not have voted, because too many people might be voting for one or the other because of the respect you have being Roof's person.

Then again, Roof's admirers might not have voted either, and then there would be less votes. Either way, his paper (vote) appears to have some effect on the people, or Maduka (the other candidate) would not have tried so hard to persuade him with money.

I suppose I would not know what to do, and sort of leave it for chaos to decide where my paper (opinion) lies. (Eeny, meeny, miny, mo, catch a tiger by its toe, if he hollers, let 'im go...) That's just me and politics though, possibly. Maybe a better person could make a decision.

Returning to my thoughts during the last paragraphs of the story, I figured the story would have ended abruptly and not told us who he voted for. It did not do that exactly, it ended suddenly, but only after he split and inserted (cast) his paper.

Another aspect of the story I found interesting was the time period. We cannot be sure when this takes place, but we do know that during this time cars were in existence, and the English language had spread into Africa. I debated the setting with myself for a while.

It was also hard to identify a theme, as they gave many abstract details to things that only seemed unimportant, but might have had a deeper meaning I missed out on for one reason or another. The part after the beginning sounded to me like trivial details, and the reader might have done just as well without them. The words were also sometimes confusing, you had to stop and think about what they just said, get meaning from it, and move on. Unfortunately, this tripped up many people who read it who have "absolutely no idea what happened." That's just patience though, you got it or you don't, and if you don't got it you gotta get it soon...

The theme I did get from this was along the lines of, 'do what you think is right'?

Honestly, this is based mainly off of the middle-end and end of the story because much of the rest was worded confusingly, and unnecessarily in some cases. That's my opinion.

I also wish you were not absent today, so that maybe you could have helped explain this one part. It's also difficult to do anything when nobody is motivated -at all- to do much of anything. I am about as motivated as the next guy, but I want to find something to do besides sit and gossip, and often the only thing is ... work.

I don't feel like there is much to reflect on this week. Kind of a pointless reflection, when there is only one, small thing to reflect on.

("The Voter", Page 95 in the textbook. You probably knew that.)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You wrote "Maybe a better person could make a decision." - I almost think a "better person" recognizes the significance of the decision and therefore has a hard time making it. It almost seems like a decision that should not be made easily.

I like your point about patience. There are many things in life that are hard to "get" at first and it concerns me that so many people give up so quickly and so easily.

I think "do what you think is right" is a fine theme. Though, I also think that calls into question "what is right" and if outside observers think Roof was "right".

Sorry you were in an unmotivated group. It surprises me to learn that about a couple people who were with you.

I don't think your reflection was pointless at all. I think you did some solid thinking and some strong reflecting on the story (which you understand much better than you give yourself credit for).

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Gil Dialogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gil Dialogo said...

1. In this story, Roof has to make a difficult decision

about how to cast his vote. Do you agree

with the way he resolves this dilemma? Why or

why not?

2. (a)Why is Roof popular in his village? (b)What

can you infer about the village’s economic

situation from the narrator’s explanation of

Roof’s popularity?

3. (a)What do the villagers think of Marcus Ibe?

(b)Do you think their opinion of him is

deserved? Explain.

4. (a)Why does the leader of the opposition’s

campaign offer Roof a bribe? (b)Do you think

Roof believes he is betraying Marcus Ibe by

accepting the bribe? Explain.

5. (a)What decision does Roof make in the voting

booth? (b)What do you think will be the result

of Roof’s vote?

Analyze and Evaluate

6. (a)Apart from offering the villagers bribes, what

reasons does Roof give to convince the villagers

to vote for Marcus Ibe? (b)Are his reasons sincere

or mere campaign rhetoric? Support your

answer with evidence from the story.

7. A theme is a central message or idea about life

in a literary work. What is the main theme in

“The Voter”?

8. A symbol is an object or an action that stands

for something else in addition to itself. What

might Roof’s torn ballot symbolize?

Connect

9. Big Idea Living with Independence How

do Roof’s actions in this story parallel the problems

Nigeria faced after gaining independence?

10. Connect to the Author Achebe is famous for

his anti-imperialist views and his appreciation

of Ibo culture. Despite this, “The Voter” is a

harsh criticism of Nigeria and its politics. Why

might Achebe have chosen to criticize his

country in this story?

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