The Famished Road – Chapter Three and Four Analysis

Chapter three and four reveals several symbolisms as well as allusions.  Okri uses the universal idea of the Trinity which depicts completion; a beginning, middle, and an end. The women represent a spiritual completeness, such that even when they pass through ‘’pitch darkness, through silence and mists…’’ they were uninterrupted.

Enchantment and Irony

Azaro and the wounded woman are hypnotized on the island such that they do not consider an escape plan. The only time he realizes he is in trouble is when the cat breaks the jinx by reminding him of what he should know. The irony is eminent in instances such as these:

  • When Azaro is being kidnapped, the women treat him harshly.  However, there is a change of emotions on getting to the island. The women are much gentler and treat him like a guest.
  • Azaro can ‘’barely see their eyes’’ during his kidnap but he is surprised when he sees that they have ‘’powerful eyes’’
  •  Although pregnant, the goddess cannot give birth unless someone is sacrificed.

The Mysterious Power in Silence and Fear

Throughout the chapter, the women make no sound. Even when Azaro and the wounded woman are escaping, they are silent. This depicts an intense mystery to their personality, thereby reflecting a greater power in their silence. Thus, there is no way anyone can know what they intend to do.
Fear is a big theme in this chapter. The statues and the goddess are constantly instilling fear in Azaro; their piercing eyes signifying an even deeper mystery. When Azaro overcomes his fear, he is able to escape easily from ‘’the cult of silent women.’’ The women also use fear to their advantage. Overcoming fear allows them to pass through all of the chaos without being interrupted.

The riot is a symbolism of the chaos in the society. Obviously, it appears that chaos happens out of nowhere and for no reason. The lack of regard for life is evident. The woman and Azaro are victims of the chaos; the woman having a greater grief as her son dies from the riot.

Balancing Spirituality and Physicality

In chapter four, Okri uses the protagonist Azaro to visit the concept of spirituality and physicality. In the case of Azaro, he can see both worlds. Azaro reveals to the reader that the spiritual and the physical co-habits together. However, people in the physical world are oblivious to the spiritual world to a great extent. This is why Azaro would be termed delusional when he is in the belly of the stomach. Whereas, he is just is one of the pits of an excavation site. The spiritual beings show surprise when they find out Azaro can see them. This reflects the same shock humans get when there is a break in that barrier. Finding this balance is a hassle. For instance, a madman chases Azaro, not because he is mad but because he knows who he is. Two ‘’normal’’ Opposites

Despite the fact that both the physical and spiritual are intertwined, they are somewhat different. In the spiritual world, the physical things are the opposite of it. For instance, a woman who has breasts on her chest in the physical world would have it on her back in the spiritual realm. Whereas they are opposites, they are considered normal in their individual worlds. Okri measures the significance of both worlds and how one views the other.

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