Interpreting Ferdinand Oyono, Houseboy

Paul Grant, History 2020

For your first essay on postcolonial thought, you must analyze a young leader’s ideas about leadership.
1. The prompt:
In about 500 words, discuss Ferdinand Oyono’s view on leadership, as found in his story Houseboy. What, in Oyono’s opinion, are the qualifications for leadership? What kind of character did he think a new country would need? Your argument must be supported by the author’s own words—quote him.
Note: this is not about leadership in general – it is about one person’s opinion. Whether he is right or wrong, or foolish or wise, is unimportant at this stage. It will become relevant in the final, combination essay. His opinion may well be contrary to your own. That does not matter.
2. Keep the final essay in mind!
You will also be writing two other essays on leadership in post-colonial nation building. Before you start writing, think about how this essay will shape your final project.
3. Go over Oyono’s published opinion piece—the book Houseboy
Oyono depicts foolishness and wisdom, morality and immorality: Can you find examples of each?
• African wisdom—African foolishness; European wisdom—European foolishness
• African morality—African immorality; European morality—European immorality

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4. What are the qualifications of a leader?
Go over your examples from #3. Overall, what do you think Oyono might be saying about the role of wisdom and morality in leadership? How can a foolish person become a wise leader?
5. Develop #4 into a single sentence. This is your thesis.
6. Only after you have done this, outline your essay:

a. Preview your thesis. DO NOT begin with deep thoughts about universal truths!
b. Within the first two sentences, present your argument about Oyono’s opinion.
c. Summarize the scene you are analyzing. Explain the scene’s context within the book.
d. Summarize what Oyono is saying in this scene. Express your thesis statement here.
e. Conclude. What kind of people do you think Oyono thought leaders should be?

7. Develop your outline into an essay.
Turn each point in the outline into a full sentence. Then develop each into a paragraph, as needed; bring in the author’s words, as needed.

Focus on the two chefs on page 35, the one never leaves the town the (wise one) and the other who is fullish. Also on page 50 about people are savages

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