Summary of Walking with Shadows by Jude Dibia

WALKING WITH SHADOWS BY JUDE DIBIA summarily tells the story of a young man’s named Adrian, quite accomplished in the real sense of the word but he has to confront his sexuality in both private and public spheres. Dibia in this novel, WALKING WITH SHADOWS, uses his literary charm of imaginary bring out a character that is identifiable. A character that is completely alienated and marginable in society as a result of his sexual preference.

For Adrian, taking on a new name means stripping himself of his inner yearnings. Ebele was going to die today. He knew it, he welcomed it, he simply going to let it happen so that Adrian could be born, he only hoped it would be painless–this was a day for rebirth and it was good enough day to reborn and Ebele could not have chosen a better location for this his ten year old mind was in hurry to rid itself of the pathetic person it had always known as Ebele

Chosen to be someone is just a step. Ebele feels that taking a new name is away o confronting what is real and made manifest. After his renaming ebele or Adrain as the case may be and justifies that in a matter of seconds, “Ebele would fade away and Adrian would emerge”

 Adrian’s personality only fades away briefly as we later discovered because the ghost of the past may not remain in the past forever.

Adrian’s feels that letting of his old name means the disappearance of his true identity, his true nature, he had gone himself so much but it came out anyway when Ada reacts “are you gay, Adrian?”

 She asked a little too calmly.

Dibia tries to depict the issue of homosexuality through a named character Adrian and ebele Njoko and through this in the whole plot is made manifest especially as the omniscient narrator tells us the entire experience of Adrian and ebele from his childhood days till he becomes an established man. The events are presented in such a way that the reader is made to see Adrian and ebele njoko right from his childhood trying to deny his real identity, an identity he cannot explain, while craving the love of approval of his parent and brothers which all result i8n disaster.

Because Adrian denies his true identity, all his hidden past boomerang especially when he thinks that he has a perfect life with his loving wife, a beautiful daughter and an enviable occupational status in the company he works for .

His downfall comes when he attempts to expose a fraud case in his place of work and this brings about his own iuntefrity. One of the top management officers, tayo onasanya is found to be involved in considers it his duty to expose the act which leads to tayo onasanya being sacked.

Tayo is compelled to revenge what he considers a betrayal and so in turn decides to expose Adrian’s hidden secrets. These secrets are embedded in Adrian’s queer sexuality and tayo thinks its his (Adrian’s wife) wife should know first. It Adrian’s wife and every other person are connected to him one way or the other.

 Tayo’s act of telling brings Adrian’s whole life, family and social status crumbling down as his wife rid is shattered by the revelation. Adrian on his part tries to avert the disaster this news may have caused by embracing the truth, the truth being that he has always been gay but decides to stop eight years before especially when he fell in love with Ada he therefore confronts his hunting shadows by openly telling his wife and extended family how he had lived a life contrary to established gender affinity. But the consequences of his coming clean are devastating. Ada, his wife breaks with him thereby depriving him of his true and comfort of his beloved daughter Ego.

Adrian is then forced to go back to his long forgotten gay friends who thought he had left and detested their king of lifestyle which subscribes to the fact that one cannot run away from one’s true identity as it will surely come back one day, this is clearly demonstrated by Abdul who is happily married to his long loved gay partner Femi. Abdul tells Adrian thus:

You should ask if you are ashamed of your past you sound like you hate a choice in determining your sexuality— you sound like it is accurse to be homosexual and you should be punished for your crimes — every day in a gay man’s life, he is constantly hurt b people he loves most. His family, his friends, and even society. We have to live with the rejection everyday and that hurts. We have to go and bear it constantly so that other people are comfortable at our expense— you can’t help it but hurt people you love sometimes.

With these words Adrian tries to accept his fate of being gay and is ready to face anyone who wants to know about him because “you must be true to yourself”

Adrian has to confront his brothers, Chiedu and Chika because they have always known that Adrian is not a regular guy and we see in the course of the novel that the older brother Chika feels sorry for Adrian, he knows that it is not easy to be “different”.

Chiedu believes that Adrian needs deliverance and so organizes a deliverance session for Adrian. Adrian goes through hell as he faces another hell form the company he had worked in for a long time he becomes a victim as he is given few weeks to kill the scandal surrounding him or face whatever consequences the company is going to dish out to him.

Ada isn’t left out of the scandal as she becomes a point of reference in every social gathering as a result of her husband’s sexuality.

Jude Dibia walking with shadows has been able to give a view of the many disjointed characters in life and in society using the characters such as rotimi to show how a young man can live a very confused life with regards to sexuality same for Adrian and his gay friends. Rotimi works in the same company with Adrian and when he heard about his gay relationship he went to Adrian to pledge his solidarity despite the scandals. Later on in the story, rotimi is seen trying to connect with Adrian’s personality. He labels himself a heterosexual but is seen tring to lure Adrian into committing another affair with him but Adrian rejects his offer and advised him to go and check himself fully to know his true sexual preference.

Another notion of gender is misogyny. Misogyny is described as male hatred of women. Usually, the hatred generates certain forms of oppression and marginalization of the women by the man at the micro and macro level.

In many patriarchal societies, female oppression is accepted as a norm and it is significant that the women often unavoidably reacts to the treatment receives from the man. This is seen in Buchi emecheta’s second-class citizen.

Second class citizen a semi-autobiographical novel that addresses issues that militate against women especially in the igbo traditional society “umana”. This is so because in the igbo society, the female is in significant. She is regarded as a second class humans being. Her welfare is not of concern to her parents such is the fate of the protagonist, Adah in emecheta’s second class citizen.

Adah’s birth is not recorded because she is born when the family and community are expecting a male child the female igbo child is deprived of education but of benevolence falls on her she is not permitted to stay long in school. The aim of her going to school is to enable her to make a few counts and be able to write her name.

In Adah’s case, she dares in addition and improvises her writing materials as well as uniform goes to school. In school, she walds straight into cole’s class. Chukwuma, observes Adah’s action as a positive stance towards self emancipation. After the death of pa, Adah’s father, all the family income is channeled exploitation and hatred of African women by African men. The restrictions cause women to be passive and docile. Emecheta shows how Adah is being exploited by her parents at the detriment of Adah, and how Francis exploits her sitting at home doing nothing while Adah goes not to word and Francis receives her salaries. This act reverses the vaunted male role. In the light of this Umeh describes the novel as that which portrays how the Igbo traditional encore exploits women through patriarchy.

 Religion and patriarchy relegate women to inferior positions. Francis expresses this inferiority thus

A woman was a second class human, to be slept with any time, even during the day, and if she refuses, to have sense beaten into her until she gave in, to be ordered out of bed after he had done with her, to make sure she washed his clothes and got his meals ready at the right time.

 The above a section dehumanizes a woman makes her a subject of the object and as sex object. Adah’s reaction to the situation she finds herself reveals Emecheta’s feminist vision. Adah’s parents intend giving Adah out in marriage to a man the age of her father. In this case she reacts positively by marring Francis whom she loves against the wish of her parent when she is denied education by improvising her as earlier stated, she also reacts positively writing materials and she also deploys her capabilities and talents to her advantage when it is time to pay for the common entrance examination fee. Lastly when she cannot comp with her husband, she breaks out of her matrimonial home. The above shows Ada’s positive stance rather than one that would attract sympathy.

As Adah realizes that Francis does not love her but her money, hates her for a being a writer who writes in the all “kills her brain child”. She reacts by tilling a divorce suit against him and in court, she won the case.

Written by Betsey Udom

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