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The Dilemma of a Ghost and Anowa
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The Dilemma of a Ghost and Anowa

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  239 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
These two witty and perceptive social dramas are sympathetic and honest explorations of the conflicts between the individualism of westernised culture and the social traditions of Africa. Both plays have been performed throughout the world.
Paperback, 124 pages
Published June 15th 1995 by Longman Publishing Group (first published June 15th 1987)
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Novels from Ghana
8th out of 67 books — 10 voters
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28th out of 114 books — 23 voters

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Sep 16, 2011 Nnedi rated it it was amazing
really enjoyed both of these plays. i read dilemma of a ghost as an undergrad, so it's been a while. my only quibble is that the african american character in dilemma of a ghost sounded more british than american. americans don't say "take the lot", for example. but i love that dilemma of a ghost addressed the relationship of african americans and africans. being nigerian american, i'm acutely aware of this friction. the misunderstandings and the need of atu (who was stuck between his african fa ...more
Jan 08, 2010 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
This is the ultimate clash of culture and tradition with modernity, but not in the way you might be expecting. The focus is more on the differences in te viewpoints of African Americans and those who are native Africans, which is apparently laden with discrimination agains the African Americans for being the children of former slaves.

Overall it was quite surprisingly enlightening, and well written.
Mar 01, 2007 Britt rated it liked it
This is a play about culture class of a stereotypical African American and her African husband moving to live in Africa with his family. It is an interested move towards the end because in a culture that blames women, the man takes all the blame from his ancestors.
Feb 22, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: school
I read this one or school. I liked Anowa better than Dilemma of a Ghost but I'm not a big fan of reading plays. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were a novel.
Sep 24, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it
Both are good plays. Reasonably well-crafted, some interesting aspects.

At the risk of seeming pretentious or even inconsiderate, I found both works a bit too self-referential in the African-coming-to-grips-with-identity sub-genre that seems to have proliferated over the past decade or so. To put that comment in context, since the 1980's I was gobbling up works by Sembene Ousmane, Ike Chukwuma, Ngugi Wa'Thiong'o, Chinua Achebe, Athol Fugard, and many other African writers. At some point, it beca
Sarah Norman
Feb 15, 2011 Sarah Norman rated it it was ok
These are a pair of charming little plays written by a Ghanaian woman in the 1960s. She was born into a royal (and I'm assuming wealthy) Ghanian family in 1942, and must have had some forward thinking parents, because she got a bit of formal education. She was sent to a convent school, and her headmistress there gave her her first typewriter. It's interesting to see what she has to say, because there are very few people who grew up in a rural, traditional African household and were given a chanc ...more
Belva Rae
Feb 03, 2014 Belva Rae rated it really liked it
These plays are beautiful.

I think a richer experience would be had by a reader with some understanding of the friction between Africans and African Americans on the point of slavery, but even without that background the writing is beautiful and the literary merit obvious.

If you like seeing modernity's failure to adapt and generally feel that the face of capitalistic endeavors is one of violence, then you will likely enjoy how she addresses those themes through this very particular cultural and h
Betty-ann Ananeh-frempong
The story in Dilemma of a Ghost happens even to Africans who marry from different ethnic groups. While dating the customs and practices of our partners are of no consequence to us but after marriage they become ominous and of infinite importance. Definately a recipe for conflict.
Sometimes I feel like Anowa. I cannot be happy with my fortunes because I know better.
a k u a ✿
Feb 07, 2016 a k u a ✿ rated it liked it
Shelves: adulthood
The Dilemma of a Ghost and Anowa are plays that deal with conflict of cultures (personal vrs community) within the extended African family. Roles are assigned to couples based on gender and status and when those roles are not fulfilled tension results. So a couple must have children, and when they don't tongues begin to wag. A woman must take her parent's advice and if she doesn't she's rejected; and how her life ends up either endorses or questions accepted cultural norms within the community. ...more
Bryan Sebesta
Jan 28, 2016 Bryan Sebesta rated it really liked it
Quite good, albeit a very, very short play. It's a compelling take on the colonization of an individual and the need to communicate better. ;)
May 24, 2015 Mckinley rated it liked it
Shelves: play, africa
The first is modern, the later is based on tradition story; both speak to acculturation and lack thereof.
Raphael Mokoena
Oct 16, 2015 Raphael Mokoena rated it really liked it
Excellent early work by this distinguished African poet, playwright and novelist. Explores diverse cultural striations and the like
Jan 24, 2016 Itisme added it
Apr 25, 2016 Marcy rated it really liked it
"Anowa" is a terrific and powerful play, but "The Dilemma of a Ghost" is a bit of a disappointment. Both plays are wonderful examinations of the legacy the Transatlantic Slave Trade has left Ghana with. But the second play, "Anowa" is much richer in terms of the development of its characters as well as the staging, which is quite interesting even as one reads it. Of course, it would be even better to see these plays staged!
Read this at BCC. I remember enjoying one of them, I suppose, but can't remember which, hence lack of star rating. Which mean this is the bibliophile version of Kilroy Was Here. So, uh, here is a compressed weasel in a top jat.
Mar 08, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Two plays by ghanaian playwright Ama Ata Aidoo; pretty good if you ask me, and I'm not one for plays really. I preferred Anowa to The Dilemma of a Ghost, but overall, both were good, easy reads
Megan Stamper
Jan 14, 2012 Megan Stamper rated it liked it
It was a good short play. Both of the plays were deeply feminist and spiritual. I preferred the first play but the second one was heavier.
Great attempt to explore the schism between Africans and African Americans but needed to be fleshed out.
May 04, 2010 Ejaz added it
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Professor Ama Ata Aidoo, née Christina Ama Aidoo (born 23 March 1940, Saltpond) is a Ghanaian author, poet, playwright and academic, who is also a former Minister of Education in the Ghana government. She currently lives in Ghana, where in 2000 she established the Mbaasem Foundation to promote and support the work of African women writers.

(from Wikipedia)
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