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The Shadow King


An unforgettable epic shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and named a best ...
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Discuss The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste:
How does the theme of resurrection function throughout the novel?

Created: 09/16/20

Replies: 2

Posted Sep. 16, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2332

How does the theme of resurrection function throughout the novel?

Inside Hirut's box of photographs are "the many dead that insist on resurrection" (p. 3). How does the theme of resurrection function throughout the novel? To what extent does the novel suggest that resurrection is possible? To what extent do you think the resurrection of memories or secrets is inevitable?


Posted Sep. 21, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
phenkat

Join Date: 07/29/11

Posts: 17

RE: How does the theme of resurrection function throughout the novel?

I think that it is only through memory that resurrection occurs. Clearly few people outside of Ethiopia were aware that women were soldiers in these wars. And maybe the memory of the first Italian invasion resurrected the people's desire to win again and remove the colonialists once and for all. So much of this book was about memory, failures and strengths!


Posted Sep. 22, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bookfabulous's Gravatar
bookfabulous

Join Date: 08/01/19

Posts: 15

RE: How does the theme of resurrection function throughout the novel?

I agree with Phenkat that not many outside of Ethiopia were aware of these women soldiers. Many fought side by side and died fighting for a country they loved and a people they believed in. The author's great great grandmother was one of those women and in telling her story to the world, the author fulfils a duty the living owe to the dead -- male and female -- by keeping their stories alive lest others forget their sacrifice.

The novel speaks of another resurrection, one that involves coming back from the brink of grief and pain and loss so immense that one stumbles as if dead among the living. There are so many parts in the book where the women were crushed by the violence wrought on them by their kin and their enemy that should have spelled the end of them, yet the author chose to portray the resilience of the human body and spirit to rise from the depths of despair and to break the shackles (real and phantom) and to move forward.

I also found the Shadow King's appearance its own kind of resurrection. A man whose name means 'nothing' mobilised an entire nation when all hope was gone and there was literally 'nothing' going for the Ethiopians including an Emperor who had seemingly abandoned them. And yet from 'nothing' came everything else that was to follow.


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