Toundi refers to this man as his master and holds him in high praise. This affection for Father Gilbert is known as European paternalism which is the theme displayed throughout the novel grahambaden. Not long after he professes his admiration for his master, the religious leader gets into a fatal motorcycle accident. He also begins to realize how much the natives and the colonists are divided by the way that he is treated without the presence of his beloved master. The Commandant treats Toundi more as a servant than Father Gilbert, but Toundi does not allow this treatment to affect the quality of his work. It becomes evident that Toundi has nothing more than respect for the Commandant and does not confide in him as much as he did with Father Gilbert.
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The Frenchman finds his diary, which is called an "exercise book" by Toundi. The rest of the story consists of the diary exercise book that the Frenchman is supposedly reading. There is no further discussion of the Frenchman after this point. The first "exercise book" starts with Toundi living with his family. His father beats him constantly, and one day Toundi runs away from home to the rescue of Father Gilbert, a priest who lives nearby.
His father comes back for him, telling Toundi that everything will be all right if he comes back. Toundi treats Father Gilbert as his new father. Father Gilbert teaches Toundi to read and write, and about Catholicism. Toundi believes in Catholicism, but as the story progresses he drifts from his beliefs until the end, when he does not believe in God. Father Gilbert dies in a motorcycle accident a few months after meeting Toundi.
Toundi is eventually taken to live with the Commandant, the man in charge of the surrounding colony. Toundi serves as houseboy for the Commandant. It becomes very clear that the events that go on in the house are more important to Toundi than his own life. She initially is a warm and caring woman, who is very beautiful. Soon after Madame arrives the Commandant leaves to go on tour again.
Toundi is left with Madame to take care of the house. As time goes on, Madame becomes more and more hostile and disrespectful towards Toundi.
When the Commandant returns, she is portrayed as a ruthless woman. While the Commandant was still on tour, it becomes obvious that she is bored with her life. She begins an affair with M. Moreau, the man in charge of the prison. Moreau is perceived to be ruthless against the Africans. Moreau was him whipping two other Africans nearly to death.
The Commandant has a terrible argument with her, but after a few days they are getting along again. Madame becomes very disrespectful towards Toundi, partly because she does not like being there any more, but mostly because she knows that he knew about her affair. He is taken to prison, where he is tortured into confessing to a crime he has not committed. Toundi is held in a hut near the police headquarters. Fortunately he has a friend who works there named Mendim, who is described as a very muscular man.
They spend the rest of the day playing cards. Toundi becomes sick and Mendim takes him to the hospital. They have to wait a very long time to see a doctor because the black doctor is the only doctor there, the other white doctor having been promoted to captain. While Toundi is still at the hospital, in a dazed state, M. Moreau returns with the white doctor and talks about punishing Toundi some more. After M. Moreau has left, Toundi escapes the hospital and heads to Spanish Guinea, where he was first introduced in the beginning of the novel.
Ferdinand Léopold Oyono
His literary work is recognised for a sense of irony that reveals how easily people can be fooled. Writing in French in the s, Oyono had only a brief literary career, but his anti-colonialist novels are considered classics of 20th century African literature ; his first novel, Une vie de boy—published in and later translated as Houseboy —is considered particularly important. Beginning in the s, Oyono had a long career of service as a diplomat and as a minister in the government of Cameroon. Diplomatic and political career[ edit ] Oyono was born near Ebolowa in the South Province of Cameroon. He was briefly the Ambassador to Liberia in , then served as ambassador to the Benelux countries and the European Communities from to and as ambassador to France, with additional accreditation for Spain, Italy, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, from to Oyono remained in the post for about a year before Biya instead appointed him as Minister of Town Planning and Housing in Reportedly Oyono fell ill at the presidential palace after a reception for the Secretary-General; he received immediate medical attention and an ambulance was called, but he quickly died.
What Are the Themes of "Houseboy" by Ferdinand Oyono?