Mission Terminée

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Heinemann Educational, 1964 - Fiction - 182 pages
"Having failed his examinations at college, Medza returns to his village in the Southern Cameroons in some trepidation. But to his surprise he finds that as a scholar (even a failed one) his prestige is immense. A young woman has run off with a man from another tribe: so Medza is entrusted with the delicate task of retrieving her. When he reaches her village he has to wait for her return from another adventure, so he stays with his uncle, who passes him off as a prodigy of learning. Medza is entertained, loaded with gifts (most of which his uncle filches), consulted like an oracle, and even---much to his surprise---married. But his stay in Kala has to come to an end and he returns to his own part of the country only to find himself unable to come to terms with his family and their way of life."--Back cover.

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User Review  - kaitanya64 - LibraryThing

The narrator of this story is a young man who returns to his home in town for school vacation, only to be sent on a "mission" to an upcountry village to retrieve a cousin's wife. While in the village ... Read full review

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The novel is structured like an epic adventure with an introductory preface to each chapter. Although it is like high adventure its style is a conscious deflation. The sequence is that of natural growth as a hero grows to an understanding of himself. The novelist therefore maintained a satiric position. The hero’s language is consciously exaggerated because the novelist is mocking at him. Mongo Beti continues in the French tradition of engaged writing. He shows that French civilization has been futile and has led to a rigid indoctrination.
In this novel, there is ironic reversal. Jean goes to the village apparently educated but the conclusion is the reverse. The novelist therefore shows that it is Jean that, in fact, needs education. The assimilated people lacked natural grace of the villagers. He had inhibitions about nakedness and had difficulty in seducing a woman. At the end of the journey he had to change his values and learns not to fear his father.

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About the author (1964)

Mongo Beti was born in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, in 1932. He received his early education in local schools, it was followed by studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. Now a French citizen, he lives and teaches in Paris, where he is the editor of the journal Peuples Noirs, Peuples Africains, founded in 1978. Beti wrote his first novel, Ville Cruelle (1954), under the pseudonym Eza Boto. A favorite theme of Beti is the failure of colonial missionary efforts in Africa. He speaks not so much against Christianity as against the futile Europeanization of Africans in the name of religion. The Poor Christ of Bomba (1956), his best-known work, is written as a diary. The novel is a satire of Christian religion in precolonial Cameroon.

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