Stylistics and Thematic Analysis of Bayo Adebowale’s Lonely Days
With the major events revolving around Yaremi, the protagonist, Lonely Days showcases the inhumane treatment suffered by widows in Kufi land after the demise of their husbands. Yaremi is the widow of Ajumobi, a very brave and successful hunter who gave in to the cold hands of death after a brief illness that couldn’t be cured by the village herbalist who was called to cure him. After the death of her husband, Yaremi suffers all kinds of ill treatments from her kinsmen and the villagers, ranging from accusation of murder and horrible traditional widows’ rites. She is always overwhelmed with sorrowful thoughts but finds solace in the fact that her husband, Ajumobi, did not die an abominable death. She is left to stay with her grandson, Woye, who assists her in domestic chores and taffeta business. Woye also keeps Yaremi company, and this, to a large extent, fills the vacuum which the death of Ajumobi created. No wonder Yaremi does everything possible to restore the health of Woye when he is sick. Woye eventually becomes well again, and Yaremi’s joy knows no bound.
More often, Yaremi reminisces on her past relationship with her husband who was a strong defence to her. She recollects his caring attitudes and constant provision of bush meat to her. Unfortunately, his death has created an irreplaceable vacuum in her life and subjected her to abject loneliness. At first, she tries hard to face the new life of loneliness but later becomes accustomed to her predicament. She moves on with life and forges ahead in business through which she becomes an independent and important figure in the village of kufi to the admiration of all and sundry. Yaremi’s success is success for all women in the village of Kufi as she usually makes food donations such as corn, pumpkins, pottage, flour etc. to them. However, Yaremi’s outstanding success becomes a threat to the men of Kufi because according to them, “no woman of the land had ever been allowed to worm her way into a position of prominence in village matters” (p. 89). While most men see her as someone to be avoided, some others long for her company. The authenticity of the latter clause is validated in the novel when some men like Olonade, Ayanwale and Lanwa, before the cap-picking ceremony, woo Yaremi for second marriage with their sweet tales and display of affluence and talents but to no avail. Yaremi violates the widows’ traditional rite of picking a new cap, that is, selecting a new man for marriage, by maintaining her love for her late husband, Ajumobi.
Yaremi becomes steadfast in her decision when her daughter, Segi (Woye’s mom), visits to comfort her and tell her not to accept going into a second marriage or taking a new husband. Having the urge of going to school, Woye sets to follow his mom, Segi, as she sets to leave her mom’s house for her husband’s. During this time, Alani (Yaremi’s only son), who has not been seen for a decade, returns and is taken around by Uncle Deyo (Ajumobi’s friend) to show him his father’s farmland which has been untouched since the death of his father. It is the duty of Alani to look after his father’s property since he is a son, but Alani isn’t moved because he has a booming carpentry business in the city, which he wants to face squarely in order to marry his pregnant girlfriend. Alani’s reaction compounds his mother’s problem. Things get worsened when the elders of Kufi ostracize Yaremi and seize her husband’s properties. Yaremi is thrown into outer loneliness. The novel ends with Yaremi lamenting for the future days of loneliness; however, she builds her hope on God.
Lonely Days is set in the fictional village of Kufi. The natural setting of the novel is drawn from Nigeria, precisely the western part.
Style is a particular way, pattern or design in which a work is written. It comprises the language/diction, tone, structure, narrative technique/point of view etc.of a literary work. Some of the elements of style used in this novel are discussed below.