30 pages 1 hour read

Ken Saro-Wiwa

Africa Kills Her Sun

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1975

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Literary Devices

Rhetorical Questions

Bana’s questions throughout the letter to Zole are attempts to connect with her, and to remember who he is specifically writing to—Zole’s identity is important, for she represents light, love, and hope. These questions highlight Bana’s search for connection and for someone to understand. Among the nameless spectators, Zole is a person with a name and a face, someone whom Bana remembers and someone who can remember him. She can keep him from the anonymity that the government and public desire or accept. This refusal to be anonymous does not come from an ego, but from hope that his death can move the needle. He is also trying to reconcile himself with the idea of dying.

The questions showcase the limitations of the letter, for Zole can never confirm or deny if she is seeing what Bana wants to be seen. These injections are at times jarring, for Bana has not seen this woman in 10 years, but he calls out to her by name, and at times he guesses what she may be thinking. The rhetorical questions allow Bana a sense of intimacy that transcends a one-way letter. This intimacy with another person is necessary for hope and overcoming a state of imprisonment.