Book Review: The Snuff Snub In Sonmazhi.




The play, The Snuff Snub in Somanzhi, shows that the Nigerian landscape where writers live is naturally prone to various problems ranging from socio-cultural, political, moral, divorce and extra-marital affairs. Therefore, playwrights are extrinsically motivated to transcribe their visual shorthand into dramatic forms and this they do because they are products of the contemporary ‘sins’ of their immediate environments. In effect, their credo or artistic consciousness reflects the experiences in human life.

In the play, the theme of forced marriage continues to fester like a sore and this reveals the socio-cultural and immoral behavioral practices in the larger society. The mentality of those forced into marriage becomes severed, their perception of marriage suffers and in many cases, they flee from their husbands or remain without experiencing another marriage. These are some of the excruciating experiences girls undergo in the hands of their parents. For instance, the parental authority which is rooted in our cultural practice tends to break the moral life force in likes of Isiga, the daughter of Maraki, who is enslaved to Lonchita because of his inability to pay debt. This is a social problem that stems from the proposition that men are naturally polygamous. He borrowed money to have another wife, which is seen as normal in our society and not deserving the societal rebuke.

Despite the advice from Toroko, Maraki insists on marrying his daughter out against her desires. As Isiga is faced with the problem of choice, she still shows respect to her father, ‘I will not disobey you… but whatever happens.’’ At this point, readers may want to question the moral stance of Isiga bending to her father’s wish. It is not out of place to remind us that this paints the bondage of discriminatory cultural practice in the society where women are made to be subservient to men. However, her desire to further her education should be measured by her will-force and the relative inner strength to succeed. Therefore, the playwright wants us to reflect on the problem of choice in the face of an imposing cultural norm which sometimes life offers no mid-way between equally horrible alternatives. Here, Isiga is trapped between these two extremes of choice.

Despite changes in the structure of modern dramatic plays and their theories, this playwright has not deviated from the traditional structural forms such that he holds on to the 5 act structure with uneven scenes. Technically, the book is essentially panoramic and intended to teach moral lessons as well as create the necessary instrument for social change..

The playwright employs variety of language use to depict his characters. He sets up the characters and the situations to the dictates of the social setting and environment. In fact, the dialogue is highly selective and pruned to the verbal superfluity, which is common in our daily conversation. The dialogues remain fresh and sparkling and the characters speak truly to the fundamental human traits. It is even made brightened with the use of proverbs and irony that are the wardrobe of words that lighten up the linguistic competence of the characters.