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    A Stranger from Lagos Essay (793 words)

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    Explore the ways in which the author vividly describes a lonely woman in a dreadful relationship in either Samphire, by Patrick O’Brien, or A Stranger from Lagos, by Cyprian Ekwensi. I choosed A Stranger from Lagos. Essay: “A Stranger from Lagos” is a story written by Cyprian Ekwensi that deals with issues of oppression. Ekwensi’s purpose is to expose how objection and oppression of a person that transmits claustrophobia and frustration leads to loneliness. This sense of loneliness is lived by a woman called Lilian through a dreadful relationship. In order to describe it Ekwensi uses symbolism, external and internal conflicts, and the way which the story ends.

    Ekwensi uses symbolism to emphasize the oppressive nature of Onitshan society, “In Onitsha town there were eyes on the walls”. This sentence is a metaphor that conveys a sense of no privacy. The symbolism of the word “eye” transmits Lilian’s feelings of loneliness through claustrophobia. Another quote that demonstrates this symbolism of the word eye is, “In the compound, eyes. In the streets, eyes. Such a small town, and so small-town-minded.”

    This claustrophobia is felt because in this quote the word eyes is repeated a lot and this shows the tension that is provoked by the town, which controls whatever move Lilian does. Another feeling the small and traditional town that incites Lilian to be lonely is frustration, frustration of not even letting her talk to a stranger. All of this dreadful relationship Lilian has with the town demonstrated by the symbolism of the word eye rouses oppression because they don’t let her nor act nor breath.

    In addition to symbolism, Ekwensi uses external and internal conflicts. External to highlight the town’ traditions differenced to the city’s modernity, “Here in Onitsha we do not stop and talk in the streets. It is not considered respectable.” Lilian tells this quote to the stranger warning him that if not she would be labeled like a slut forever. This external conflict is also a device that conveys a terrible and annoying relationship between desire and customs or cultures.

    “Unlike her mother, Lilian cared little for families she knew. She judged young men by what her instincts told her, and this time they told her she had made a conquest, full of strange enchantment.” shows that the desire is presented as how Lilian drives her life and how she feels and not how the customs of the town pressure her. She prefers following her instincts than her mother’s advice, which pursue the traditions of the town that make her feel totally lonely.

    And instead, internal to get across the objection of Lilian’s sexuality, “Every gesture of his showed that he owned her”. The word “owned” is a grammatical word emphasizing that somebody or something belongs to a particular person or thing and not to somebody or something else. In this case, the fianc� owned Lilian because as he was a successful merchant we could say that when he bought the wine, he bought the girl. This is proved in “He bought the wine and brought it to her mother saying he still wanted her.” This awful relationship between the fianc� and Lilian shows that her life has no sense because she is treated like an object, she is never really appreciated by who she but by what she is. And this entire objection of her leads to a state of misery and loneliness.

    Along with the symbolism and the conflicts, the writer also describes a lonely woman throughout the ending of the story that is used to accentuate the oppressive nature of the small suffocating town and how she actually did not follow her instincts. “But Lilian was not listening. She was thinking of the Stranger from Lagos and wishing she had been braver” means that she would’ve crossed the boundary and gone with the stranger. This quote could be seen as also an internal conflict because she didn’t have the courage to escape. When I say escape, I mean by really following her feelings and not ending up lonely with her fianc� that blames her for things she didn’t even do and that she has to pay for. However, as Lilian complied with the traditions of the small town she will stay forever lonely and hopeless.

    A Stranger from Lagos is a story that transmits the reader to always follow their nature and live joyfully or else they would feel lost and repentant. For me this story was interesting because it makes me see the world differently, meaning that the traditions of every country or religion are actually very important for every family. However, thank you to Ekwensi, no matter how strict the traditions are you must always do what you think the best would be for you.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    A Stranger from Lagos Essay (793 words). (2017, Nov 02). Retrieved from

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