Rite Of Passage

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The rite of passage journey is a major theme within the art of African storytelling. Because of its importance and frequent appearance, there are many different deviations and forms of the basic rite of passage template. In “The Pregnant Boy”, the puberty journey is changed slightly as gender roles are introduced into the storyline. “The Pregnant Boy” is a story about a boy who breaks an interdiction and ends up pregnant in his knee as a result. He has a baby girl who he hides from his mother and suckles in secret when he goes to herd the cattle. The boy’s mother becomes suspicious and takes the baby, Matinci, in an effort to get the boy to confess to breaking the interdiction. The boy finally must admit what he has done in order to get the child back. The story ends with the mother asking, “When she stops suckling, how will you nourish her?,” indicating that a boy is not capable of being a mother. This story employs the rite of passage theme as the boy moves from childhood to adulthood. He is isolated when he becomes pregnant and must leave home. The boy faces his ordeal in bringing up the child without his mother’s knowledge, and he is finally reincorporated when…show more content…
This addition makes the puberty rite of passage journey more complex. Not only is the boy trying to become a man, he is also learning what roles are intended for a boy versus a girl. The mother of the boy hides the child to force the boy to tell the truth, both about breaking the interdiction as well as keeping secrets about the child. The mother taking away the child also serves to show that the boy is not capable of being a mother, as this is not a role that males are able to fulfill. Through the process of being pregnant, the boy is able to discover what roles he does not fit in. This realization allowed the boy to reach adulthood and complete his rite of passage
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