The character of ISAAC seems to represent the pan-Africanism at that time. ISSAC gave up his names which his parents gave him (3). This represents his independence and the establishment of his identity. It also represents his refusal of his former identity which he receive from others. ISAAC believes that the capital does not belong to anyone and nobody can own it (4). Under Pan-Africanism, Africans claim the liberation of African and African people from colonization. The sense of solidarity spread among African people. The youth in “All Our Names,” or university male students, are depicted aggressively being about to become revolutionaries. Those people are also part of the movement to establish the sense of solidary and identities as African depending from imperial country. ISAAC’s new life in the capital may represent the independence of the country and Africa. ISAAC’s encounter with Helen and the relationship may depict the development of fifty-fifty relationship between the West and Africa.

Although African people claimed the independence of African countries and the establishment of own identity, politics of African countries were still weak, unstable and not enough to establish the sense of solidity and own identity. Corrupted government remained after the independence. ISAACS says politics is the only thing to study in Africa (10). The situation of Helen, who is a social worker, seems to be contrasting to ISAAC. ISAACS criticizes the pan-African dream by students saying that they ignore the corruption and violence (24). Pan-Africanism was “dream.” This may be depicted by the difference between ISAACS and other university students who want to be revolutionaries. People who believe Pan-African dream ignore the vulnerability and instability of Africa and its identity. Without this recognition, they cannot see the real Africa and establish the solid identity. ISAAC sees the real Africa understanding its vulnerability. That’s why ISSAC seems to be strong.


About erika926nishihara

I am an international student from Japan. I lived in Kyoto. I major in International Relations. I am junior. My concentration of SIS is International Development in Africa.

Posted on September 25, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Your post about Isaac’s character being a metaphor for pan-African ideals is great, because I never picked up on it. Obviously the concept of names contributed a lot to a major motif in this book: identity. And although I do think you made many valid points about Isaac’ s character as Langston, I don’t agree with Isaac being a strong character. I think that Isaac represents Africa as a sought after resilient,and mysterious place which outsiders just can’t unravel. Helen represents the innocent ignorance that surrounds African stereotypes. When she first meets him, she is shocked to see the way he presents himself both physically and through his speech because she has ignorantly been victim of the single story. She and Langston cling to the idea of strength that Isaac perpetuates because he does’t talk about his feelings, or really break down. In that way, I agree with your point about colonization. I see parallels between the altercation Isaac got involved in at the Pink Flamingo and colonization. No matter what happens, Africans kept fighting to hold on to hope and function the best they could in the face of steadfast adversity. I also think that colonization broke many African people that either didn’t have the luxury of falling apart, or were too afraid to fall apart. Thus, they kept their hurt and turmoil to themselves, much like Isaac did. (I really appreciate your post!)

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