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2013 (Vol. 5, Issue: 5)
Article Information:

Sutherland’s Creativity at Work: The New Family of Mr. Ananse the Spider in The Marriage of Anansewa

P.B. Mireku-Gyimah
Corresponding Author:  P.B. Mireku-Gyimah 

Key words:  Akan folktales, characterization, female, traditional, new family, ,
Vol. 5 , (5): 177-184
Submitted Accepted Published
March 13, 2013 April 17, 2013 September 25, 2013

This study explores characterization in Efua T. Sutherland’s The Marriage of Anansewa and demonstrates the playwright’s imagination and creativity at work. Unlike the traditional members of Ananse’s family in Akan folktales comprising a wife (Asɔ), four sons (Ntekuma, Afurudohwedohwe, Tikenenkene and Nyankorɔnhweaa) and sometimes unnamed in-laws, Sutherland creates a daughter (Anansewa), a mother (Aya), an aunt (Ekuwa) and a lover (Christie) for Ananse. Thus there are now four new females in Ananse’s new family to balance the four males in the original Ananse family, counting out man and wife. Unfortunately, Sutherland kills off Asɔ. Anansewa and Christie are main characters but Aya and Ekuwa are made minor characters. Besides this introduction of four women into Ananse’s extended family is Sutherland’s creation of a new identity for Ananse. He is a modernized Ghanaian with an English name, George. Sutherland artistically introduces a new dimension to Ananse by redefining his identity as a modern citizen of the globalized world. Whereas in the traditional folktales Ananse often cheats the members of his family forcing them to find ways and means to survive by foiling Ananse’s tricky plans, Sutherland’s new family members play an entirely different role: they are conscious or unconscious collaborators of Ananse’s scheme to cheat others. It is concluded that, by this new dimension of characters and the roles they play which bring freshness and popularization to the Akan folktales, Sutherland has elevated the Akan folktales to become an African Classic.
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  Cite this Reference:
P.B. Mireku-Gyimah, 2013. Sutherland’s Creativity at Work: The New Family of Mr. Ananse the Spider in The Marriage of Anansewa.  Current Research Journal of Social Sciences, 5(5): 177-184.
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ISSN (Online):  2041-3246
ISSN (Print):   2041-3238
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