Snapshots of a Wedding
Bessie Head s Snapshots of a Wedding is a perfect example of excessive uses of imagery, which projects ideas and concepts in my mind. The main underlying concepts and comparisons are that of tradition and modernity. Bessie Head projects multiple perspectives on the issues of tribal tradition and modernity. The overall tone, however, places small, yet growing, amounts of modernity in a traditional world. The set is Neo placed in the tribe and world of Kegoletile.
Neo, Kegoletile s future wife, is certainly not traditional. And as well, she is educated. In many cultures, an educated wife would be looked at as a good thing, however in this culture, a good wife would be one with good manners, and house working. Neo would never be the kind of wife who went to the lands to plow. She already had a well-paid job in an office as a secretary .
An amazing feat achieved by Bessie Head, is her attention to the senses of who ever is reading the book. She used imagery that stimulated not only sights, but sounds and other senses as well. She dropped to her knees before the bride, clenched her fists together and pounded the ground hard (pg. 369). Her uses of words like pounding and her sentence construction, make me feel the pounding on the ground, make the whole reading experience that much more understandable and personal. This quote also leaves me sort of feeling the sadness and frustration of the aunt in the changing culture, while watching her nephew be wed away from his life into modern ways .
Something that really caught my attention in the story was the participation of the aunts on both sides. Aside from Neo and Mathata, they were the representation of tradition and modernity in the story. Kegoletile s aunts representing the culture and what is lost. They exemplify the importance of manners and tradition in the culture. That girl has no manners! the relatives would remark. What s the good of an education if it goes to someone s head so badly they have no respect for the people? Oh, she is not a person (pg. 367)
Through Snapshots of a Wedding, Bessie Head uses language to project a general tone for the story. Words like haunting , damp , impossible , and dim express sadness, and sort of a sullen attitude, however mixed into the sad and dark words are happier and more alive words such as joyously , swell , smiling , and pretty . To me, this demonstrates my point again. Bessie Head is not expressing a point or a stance on the issues, she is merely presenting something that is going on in the cultures of Africa. Whether it is good or bad, it is the truth.