short plays (Wole Soyinka 1964)
“Ha…It’s easy to read a play ” thought I when choosing the book. Yet, reading a play is in reality not such an easy task. It’s consisted of dialogues of different characters so it’s easy to get lost because you’ve to remember who are who as well as their role and relation in the play. However, meaningful ideas of the book should gain acceptance from every reader.
The first play, the swamp dwellers, states the importance of living with the Nature in harmony. Fed up with the life in the city where progress and money excelled everything (economic and industrial development in sacrifice of the Nature), a minority of dwellers led a simple life in the swamp while the majority was leaving thanks to rapid urbanization in the 60s. The writer’s telling us we’ve to make a balance between progress and conservation for the Nature. It’s always true since our Nature supports everything. No one could survive without the Nature and it’s therefore critical to conserve it as lyrics in a song say:
Animals/ Wild rivers and waterfalls/ AND IF YOU WANT TO SAVE IT ALL/ Show a little respect
The trials of brother Jero, the second play, is telling a meaningful story with the contradiction between love and justice. Jero, a priest and had general reputation from the public, was brought to justice for murdering. It was in fact, his brother committed the murder but Jero bore the responsibility because of complicated reasons. The play revealed the complexity of human sentiments and the most appreciating human aspect─love. Finally, Jero’s found innocent as his brother confessed committing the crime.
The third play, the strong breed, is worthy of reading for everyone. It’s a story of a blind person’s living attitude and experience. Struggling for a living, Sunma grasped every little chance to learn. Her determination and perseverance made her a strong breed forever! Her motto: Hope─the source of life, appeals to everyone in desperate. On no circumstances should we give up our aspiration because a ray of hope would make a difference between life and death. She sets a good example to teenagers and adults nowadays in Hong Kong who commit suicide with just a little defeat in their academic results or economy.
To conclude, what I’ve gained after reading this book is not proficiency in English, but the right attitude towards our life and the Nature.