Comment on any one of the following themes in the novel: Moral Decadence, Ignorance, Prostitution and Conflict etc.
THEME OF MORAL DECADENCE
Moral laxity dominates the lives of street children in Sodom and Gomorrah. It is disheartening to note that in Sodom and Gomorrah, children at the unripe age of seven are sexually active. Children become full-blown prostitutes at very tender ages. This excerpt from the text justifies the assertion:
“…During a recent survey we conducted for a programme, all the girls we talked to out there were already very sexually active. And we also established that, for many of them, rape was their first sexual experience. And I am talking about girls as young as seven. I4any were child prostitutes…Sex to them was just a convenient means of survival”.
In this small city of Sodom, “Boys and girls slept together stripped together arid did things with each other many times under the influence of alcohol, wholly unconscious of what they were doing or with whom”. Moral decadence has eaten deep into the main fabrics of Sodom and Gomorrah where drugs, rope, robbery and prostitution thrive.
THEME OF IGNORANCE
Another important theme that can be established in the novel is the theme of ignorance. Many men are ignorant of the negative implications of abandoning their wives and children. Sylv Po and Kamame also agree that there are other factors responsible for street crimes – “As the incidence of absentee fathers, ignorance, distorted beliefs, sheer irresponsibility” etc. (p.108). Again, talking about HIV/.AIDS, the general view is that most young people are ignorant. They cannot put up the little effort required for protection against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. This is caused by ignorance.
The most painful aspect of ignorance can be found in the curse by Maa Tsuru’s pregnant mother. She lays a curse ignorantly on the man who impregnates arid abandons her. The curse is on the man, arid his entire descendants. Ignorantly, she has placed a perpetual curse on her lineage, being already pregnant for the man she has cursed. This ignorant act turns out to be the bane of most of the characters.
THEME OF PROSTITUTION
The issue of sexuality is given prominence in the novel. In Ms. Kamame’s report, she states that “it was common practice for a girl of sixteen and above who had no child to be taunted and called names like “man-woman” by friends and family members. Men, women, boys and girls take advantage of lapses in the family union to indulge in illicit sex. For instance, Karname and Sylv Po come across a woman who is abandoned with six children after several years of marriage. The man claims that a vision from God tells him that he is not the father of those children. Meanwhile, in another vision, God shows him another young woman he had been previously eyeing. What a shame!
In Sodom and Gomorrah, rape and prostitution are the order of the day. Young boys and girls sleep and do things together. Fofo and Odarley are commercial sex hawkers. Baby T. too is sexually active according to Onko and Kpakpo. Drugs and alcohol are common features of street life and these give rise to prostitution.
THEME OF CONFLICT
When two or more characters cannot agree in principle over an issue, conflict arises. Why is Maa Tsuru’s father cursed? He cannot take responsibility for his irresponsibility hence he abandons Maa Tsuru’s mother to her fate. There is another instance of conflict between Kwei and his mother. Maa Tsuru is the bone of contention. Kwei’s mother asks:
“Of all the young girls around here, did it have to be the cursed one? The one girl cursed by her own dying mother?” (p.118).
Though Kwei does not agree with his mother, he later abandons Maa Tsuru and her child after impregnating her. Later, it is found that Kwei has another woman. Maa Tsuru wonders why Kwei should keep a woman twice Maa Tsuru’s size and who is “endowed with a bosom the size of two extra-large watermelon” (p.122) The women quarrel and rain abuses on each other. Baby T refuses to obey Poison’s command to sleep with Kpakpo, she is brutally killed. Fofo steals from Kabria and narrowly escapes death. There is also conflict arising from God’s nature and the traditional juju practice.