Global Journal of Humanities

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The Alienated Protagonist In Bessie Head's A Question Of Power

Josephine I Iwe


A Question of Power is an existential struggle of a protagonist-narrator whose alienation and recovery emphasize her search for the identity of her true self. It is an exploration into the outrageous facts of life as manifested in apartheid South Africa. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. South Africa's absolute power rendered the blacks subhuman with their rights subdued. Elizabeth's rights are violently attacked from many angles and her feelings of resentment caused by the great injustice against her dignity reduces her to a state of insanity which takes her through many dark alleys of subconscious horrible experiences. For three or four years, she is insane believing that Sello sat in her empty chair persistently commenting on all her thoughts, perceptions and experiences. Bessie Head depicts a protagonist whose alienations and loss of identity started at birth with her rejection by her relatives. She is alienated from her immediate as well as outer environment and this makes her look inwards in search of her roots and reasons for existence. She succeeds in this search when she realizes that love controls the universe. She participates in the communal farming of Motabeng village, regaining her lost self, identity and sanity.
KEY WORDS: Alienation, Protagonist, Bessie Head, Power, Question.
Global Journal of Humanities Vol.3(1&2) 2004: 45-51
AJOL African Journals Online