Moral dilemmas in Ayi Armah's novels: a psychoanalytical study.
Nakawombe, Alice Ddamulira
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This dissertation discusses the Moral dilemmas in Ayi Kwei Armah’s novels using the psychoanalytical approach applying the method of investigation of the mind. Morality is a debatable subject with no clear boundaries but the presence or lack of morality in a society is a major source of moral dilemmas. The dilemmas are created by the choices made by the characters despite their unfavorable consequences. The study investigates the mindset of the characters in an attempt to understand the dilemmas that individuals in society are subjected to. The characters are faced with the challenge of making choices between two opposing courses of action, which in turn determines the moral direction of society. The study delves into pre colonial, colonial and post colonial times, showing that in these periods the characters are constantly faced with the challenge to make choices. The study examines the social foundations of the moral dilemmas in Armah’s novels by contrasting several values, and the way the individuals in society respond to them. These foundations are identified as: power and privilege, royalty and internal strife, power hunger and the dilemma of self exclusion. The study also examines the dilemmas associated with living in the re-organized society. These include; pragmatic politics versus idealism, loneliness and isolation, the dilemma of western education and economic empowerment versus economic marginalization. The use of the psychoanalytical approach facilitates the analysis of the mindset of the individual characters since the mind determines greatly the actions of the person. By examining Armah’s treatment of the subject of moral dilemmas from the pre colonial period through to the post colonial era, this dissertation closely surveys the dilemmas to which individuals in any world of experience could be subjected. This research is predominantly a library research set to discuss the subject of morality in Ayi Kwei Armah’s novels using the psychoanalytical strand of the unconscious mind. Other literary tools to be used whenever required will include complex symbolism, ambiguity, condensation, irony, displacement and transference. However, the unconscious mind is emphasized because the unconscious is often the underlying influence of human behavior. The study identifies social foundations of moral dilemmas and dilemmas associated with living in a re-organized society, a society re-organized as result of colonialism. One of the findings is that Western education is a major source of the moral dilemmas. In this regard the study proposes further study on how Western education could be as a means to create as a fruitful way forward in benefiting society other than a tool of manipulation used by society.