Thematic preoccupation of Adebo wale’s Lonely Days

Examine the thematic preoccupation of Adebo wale’s Lonely Days.


One of the main themes of the novel is the practice of widowhood. This practice is common in many parts of Africa. In Lonely Days, the village of Kufi is in focus. Widowhood practice is a common custom in Kufi as the people venerate this practice. Yaremi is a widow, having lost her husband, Ajumobi. Before her, three other widows are mentioned, namely, Dedewe, Fayoyin and Radeke. These women are subjected to series of inhuman treatments and loss of dignity and status. Widows are compelled to trek through the muddy, slippery road called, “the widow’s road”. It is only on this road that widows enjoy relative freedom.

Widows are not allowed to wear necklaces, their hairs are unkept and they wear garments of black cloth. Not only that they are always monitored and suspected. One of the widows rightly asserts, “We are the subjugated people of the world”. They are usually accused of being responsible for the deaths of their husbands and are forced to confess. Some widows are given libation to lick, sonic is locked up with the corpse of the dead husband and the hairs cut down to the roots, “cut this woman’s hair totally clown to her scalp”. (p.27).

After these ordeals, widows are now faced with the “Cap-picking” ceremony. Here, they are forced by custom to pick a new husband. Yaremi resolves not to obey custom and risks being ostracized.


A common feature of widowhood is loneliness. At the death of husbands, widows are abandoned. Yaremi is one of the characters affected by loneliness. Her love for Ajumobi is so great that in her loneliness, she feels and dreams of the presence of Ajumobi. Sometimes, she thinks and reflects on the way and manner of her love and marriage. Yaremi’s case is one out o several others but particularly in the sense that her loneliness is a result of her personal resolve not to betray her late husband’s love. It is even suggested that “Yaremi needs purification to make her forget certain things because frustration has set in for a lonely woman”. She takes Woye her grandson at least to have someone to talk to. But when Woye indicates his desire to leave, “Yaremi knew it was host painful continuation of her lonely days…”


Resistance to cultural subjugation is a theme that is portrayed in Lonely Days. Yaremi, again is at the center of this. After the death of Ajumobi, her husband, she is required to observe certain widowhood practices which she vehemently resists. She resists confessing being responsible for the death of Ajumobi. Again, she resists picking a new cap to replace the old during the “Cap-picking Ceremony”. By this resistance, Yaremi is required to pick a new husband to replace her late husband, she resists. Thus, the promises of Ayanwale, Olonade end Lanwa to treat Yaremi like an angel if only she agrees to marry them fall on deaf ears as she resists. In the end, the people of Kufi decide that she (Yaremi) is to be ostracized for violating the tradition of the land but Yaremi has this message for them: “No… it was her dead body they would carry out of Kufi…” This final note of defiance shows the extent of her resistance to cultural subjugation.


Several characters in the story sustain this theme of determination. Ajumobi was determined to excel and make his wife happy. On the other hand, Yaremi is determined to reciprocate his love for her by remaining faithful even at the risk of her life. She is determined to fight cultural subjugation. In her taffeta trade, she is determined to excel and the extra hard work she puts into her business gains her more customers. Dedewe, Fayoyin and Radeke are widows but they are determined to seek new happiness and so, during the cap-picking ceremony, they pick new husbands. Little Woye is determined to leave with his mother and enroll at St. Andrew’s Junior Primary School, Olode. Also, Aleni, Yaremi’s son is not swayed by his late father’s estates as he is determined to seek greener pasture elsewhere as Yaremi “puts determination into her boric…”


The people of Kufi are ruled by superstition. Witchcraft is commonly spoken about. For this reason, the people of Kufi are suspicious of all manner of birds hawks, owls, vultures, falcons, flamingos or animals like antelope and the rest. When Ajumobi dies, the people of Kufi allege, “This woman had killed her husband, she turned into a hawk arid killed her man”. They consult their oracle to confirm their suspicion. The people believe that in the spirit world, women have authority over men. Again, there s a common superstition in Kufi that “every pregnancy of a hunter’s wife was sure to bring forth an animal baby.” (p.122).


The issue of rivalry or conflict is present in the story. Before Ajumobi’s death, he had some moments of conflict with Yaremi who often dared him; though she still ran away. The issue of polygamy provides a veritable source of conflict and rivalry. At nights, senior wives bemoan their abandonment by husbands who enjoy the fresh breath of junior wives. These wives quarrel and castigate one another. Yaremi is self-conceited. She battles with her conscience over the advice of the widows prior to the Cap picking ceremony. Yaremi disagrees with the Kufi tradition of widowhood and rejects the second husband even at the risk of being ostracized. As a result of her conflict with culture, she plans to leave Kufi for her friend’s place at Lamugan.

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