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The Dilemma of a Ghost and Anowa

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  32 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 Pearson (first published June 15th 1987)
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Tereza Hříšná I think that "Ghost" in the play is lost identity of Ato who doesn´t know himself and he´s trying to find who he really is, what person he´s in realit…moreI think that "Ghost" in the play is lost identity of Ato who doesn´t know himself and he´s trying to find who he really is, what person he´s in reality.(less)
Reuben Asare Ato Yawson, an educated African who is married to a black American descendant of slaves (Eulalie). He is the axis on which the story revolves
Ato Yawson, an educated African who is married to a black American descendant of slaves (Eulalie). He is the axis on which the story revolves

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Sep 15, 2011 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
Madolyn Chukwu
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it

The author was a very young woman when she wrote this play. The world could thus see from the beginning that this was a very talented African literary gem about to blossom. It is remarkable that she is still very much active till date, having published dozens of books in every genre. I can see that this play involves relationships between people from different nationals/background which can be complicated and tricky. Is ‘love’ always enough?
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
In the ending of Ama Atta Do’s play Dilemma of a Ghost, Eulalie and Ato have a fight wherein Ato slaps Eulalie and she goes away for the night. Throughout the play Eulalie has been seen to be the superior one between her and Ato. In the end, however, Ato regains the upper hand when he hit her. After he hits her, Ato could not locate Eulalie and goes to his mother Esi’s house looking for Eulalie. When Ato explains to Esi that he hit Eulalie and lied about her being receded, Esi finally understood ...more
Read Anowa (in this edition) for class and forgot to review it on here. It’s a wonderful play and I have an immense respect for Ama Ata Aidoo and how she challenged her contemporaries within West Africa to face the complexities of the past. Down with the grand narratives of modernity!

I would love to read Dilemma of a Ghost at one point but I am really struggling to read during the virus and being on Goodreads where everyone seems to be productively reading is anxiety inducing. Anyway, here’s hop
Jay Clare
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2010 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 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.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Men just do not understand women a lot, perhaps most of the time. You can pity Atu here but at the same time sort of regard him as a 'patsy'
Raphael Mokoena
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent early work by this distinguished African poet, playwright and novelist. Explores diverse cultural striations and the like
Feb 07, 2013 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.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two poignant plays by Aidoo. Dilemma of Ghost is a well done, penetrating play about a Ghanaian man who marries an Africa-American woman and the challenges of living life in Ghana during the early years of independence. Anowa is a powerful play about who could be labeled a headstrong girl and woman who seeks to live life on her own terms in pre-colonial Ghana. Both offer vivid pictures of the values of Ghanaian society while offering criticism of the structures of society. Good introduction to G ...more
Kudzai Mhangwa
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Aidoo's rich language is kicking and keeps her reader enthralled from beginning to end. The themes are relevant to this day. These two beautiful plays stand the test of time.
Breanna Morgan
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dilemma of a ghost - 3.5
Anowa - 4.5

Two great plays by a talented writer.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bryan Sebesta
Nov 14, 2019 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. ;)
Gorgy Jacque
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Its puzzling but very amazing!
Athena Nguyen
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Another required book I was forced to read for school. It was interesting to read about the expectation expected from family.
Sarah Norman
Feb 15, 2011 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
Aug 01, 2014 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
Jerome Kuseh
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african
TDOAG: Ato returns from studying in the USA with an African American wife – Eulalie, much to the bewilderment of his family. She is the cause of much pain and disappointment for Ato’s family, especially his mother, as Ato is not brave enough to explain Eulalie’s ways to his parents and they are left thinking the worst of her.

Anowa: Everyone knew there was something strange about Anowa since her childhood. Many, her father included, thinks she should have been sent to be an apprentice priestess.
Mercy Ananeh-Frempong
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Belva Rae
Feb 01, 2014 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
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatre
"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!
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.
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.
Great attempt to explore the schism between Africans and African Americans but needed to be fleshed out.
Jan 03, 2012 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
May 24, 2015 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.
Jan 21, 2016 added it
Megan Stamper
Jan 14, 2012 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.
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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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