Philosophy and Heroism: The Literary Perspective of Yaw Asare’s Ananse in the Land of the Idiots

Peter Arthur

Issue: Vol.1  No.5 September 2020  Article 4 pp. 152-164
DOI :  |   Published online 28th September 2020.
© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (


This paper investigates the academic implication of Western influence on the study of Ghanaian oral literature and the extent to which literature in Ghana is “indigenized”, especially in the area of drama as addressed in Nana Yaw Asare’s Ananse in the Land of the Idiots. As the iron walls of Metropolitan English begin to show cracks, there is now a new development that brings new imaginations crucial for critically looking at the Ghanaian
folklore as a literary piece. Using the ethnographic and the stylistic approaches for this study, one of the results of these new imaginations is to investigate “anansesεm” text as both drama and narrative. From that perspective, one of the findings in this paper is that Ananse, whose behavior makes people taxonomize “anansesεm” as a trickster folklore, far from being a trickster, is a real philosopher and cultural hero. Other findings are that the
very behavior that qualifies Ananse to be called a trickster is indeed an Akan philosophical expression of how to survive in a secular world and that among the Akans, thinking right is highly prized, failure of which does not only bring about the doom of the perpetrator but that of the entire community. Again, the current moral thought in Ghana is based on the fact that religion is a Western invention and that the real moral thought of the Ghanaian as a social or a secular being as demonstrated by Ananse leads to the conclusion that corruption is the result of weak cultural thinking structures. The Akan folklore therefore has a lot to offer in terms of literature if treated as a locally produced text.

Keywords: Stylistics, Ghanaian oral literature, textual analysis, philosophy

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Dr. Peter Arthur is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana.

Arthur, Peter, “Philosophy and Heroism: The Literary Perspective of Yaw Asare’s Ananse in the Land of the Idiots” E-Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 1, no.5 (2020): 152-164

© 2020 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (