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Struggle and Survival in a Cowrie Of Hope by Binwell Sinyangwe and the Cardinals by Bessie Head

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Struggle and Survival in a Cowrie Of Hope by Binwell Sinyangwe and the Cardinals by Bessie Head.


Life is a battle for struggle and survival. Struggle and survival are as old as man. Every second, man is on the move, thinking of what to do and how to do it in order to survive.

This project, therefore, examines the ways the two novelists presented their characters in their attempts to depict the various methods people adopt in their struggles for survival in this hard and harsh environment.

This work also explores the artistic features as were conveniently deployed in their works by the novelists. (There are injustices in the world, because man is struggling for his survival and is important man should mind the way he goes about this).


Title Page i
Certification ii
Approval Page iii
Dedication iv
Acknowledgements v
Abstract vi
Table of contents vii

Introduction 1
Statement of Problem 5
Purpose of Study 6
Significance of Study 6
Scope of Study 7
Research Methodology 8

Review of Related Literatures ` 9

Struggle and Survival: The examples of Sinyangwe, A Cowrie of Hope and
Head‟s, The Cardinals 20

Artistry and Creativity in A Cowrie of Hope by Binwell Sinyangwe and The
Cardinals By Bessie Head 33

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation 39
Works Cited 42


Life is full of struggles. Man lives in a hard and harsh environment where he struggles, toils and labours from day to day in order to survive.

Every living thing on earth struggles for survival, both plants and animals. Plants struggle, searching for sunlight to survive. Even lower animals with low mentality struggle for survival.

Human beings are not left out.

A baby that is still in the womb struggles for food and searches for a way out during labour, to show that struggles of human beings start right from the womb.

There are many types of struggles namely, political struggle, economic struggle, family struggle and so on. But all these struggles lead to one thing which is survival.

The seventh edition of Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines struggle as “to try very hard to do something when it is difficult or when there are a lot of problems”, while explaining survival as “the state of continuing to live or exist, often despite difficulty or dangers or something that has continued to exist from an earlier time” (1491).

In a similar vein, viii the Webster’s Dictionary enters struggle as “to use great effort to labour hard; to strive; to contend forcibly; as to struggle to save one‟s life” (203).

Whereas all the above definitions are apt, we choose to align with an online posted material that adds that “survival is meeting your basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, transport and health care”. Survival goes hand in hand with success.

David Salti, a Palestinian who lives in the Middle East says The one who does not know the struggle of life is either an immature soul or a soul who has risen above the life of this world. The object of human beings in this world is to attain to perfection of humanity, and therefore, it is necessary that one should go through what we call the struggle of life.

Because life means a continual battle. One‟s success, failure, happiness or unhappiness mostly depends upon one‟s knowledge of the battle. Whatever be one‟s occupation in life, whatever be one‟s knowledge, if one lacks the knowledge of the battle of life, one lack the most important knowledge of all (

As soon as a man loses his courage to go through the struggle of life, the burden of the whole world falls on his head. But he who goes on struggling through life, he alone makes his way. One must study the nature of life; one must understand the psychology of this struggle.

In order to understand this struggle, one must observe that there are three sides to it: viii struggle with oneself, struggle with others and struggle with circumstances.

One person may be capable of struggling with himself, but is not sufficient; another is able to struggle with others, but even that is not enough. A third person may answer the demand of circumstance but that is not enough either.

What is needed is that the tree should be studied and learnt, and one must be able to manage the struggle in all three directions. The one who struggles with himself first is the wisest, for he has struggled with himself, which is the most difficult struggle.

The other struggles will become easy for him. What is the nature of the struggle with oneself? It has three aspects; the first is to make one‟s thought, speech and action answer the demands of one‟s own ideal, while at the same time give expression to all the impulses and desires which belong to one natural being.

The next aspect of the struggle with oneself is to fit in with others, with their various ideas and demands. For this, a man has to make himself as narrow or as wide as the place that asks him to fill, which is a delicate matter, difficult for all to comprehend and practise.

And the third aspect of struggle with oneself is to give accommodation to others in one‟s own life, in one‟s own heart, large or small as the demand may be.

When we consider the struggle with others, there are also three things to think about of which the first is to control and govern people and activities which happen to be our duty, our responsibility.

Another aspect is how to allow ourselves to be used by others in various situations in life; to know to what extent one should allow others to make use of our time, our energy, our work or our patience and where to draw the line.

And the third aspect is to fit in with the standards and conceptions of different personalities who are at various stages of evolution.



Sinyangwe, Binwell. A Cowrie of Hope. Essex: Heineman, 2000.
Head, Bessie. The Cardinals. South Africa: Heineman, 1993.


Achebe, Chinua. The Role of A writer in New Nation. London: Heineman, 1964.
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. The Thing Around Your Neck. Lagos: Farafina, 2005.
Aliago, Jonathan E. Wisdom Of Winning Quot. Lagos: De Joe Publication And Communication LTD, 2009.
Atta, Sefi. Lawless And Other Stories. Lagos: Sufrafina, 2008.
BA, Mariama. So Long A Letter. Ibadan: Heineman, 1980.
Darwin, Charles. Principle of Biology Vol 1: London, Britanical International. 1864.
Good News Bible. New York. American Bible Society, 1976.
Kaine, Agary. Yellow Yellow. Lagos: Dtalkshop, 2006
Lamming, George. In The Castle Of My Skin. Aorbar University of Michigan Press, 1970. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. Seventh Edition. 2005.
Selvon, Samuel. The Lonely Londoners. London: Longman, 1972.
Tanure, Ojaide. The Activist. Lagos: Farafina, 2006. viii

Internet Electronics

Pennigton, Tess. “Ready Nutrition”. May, 2010.
Ripley, Amanda. The Unthinkable Who Survive When Disaster Strikes-and Why”. 22Jul. 2008.
Salti, david. “Life is a Struggle but What is Struggle?-yahoo! Answer India”.…

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