Aké: The Years of Childhood, is an autobiography of Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka’s first eleven years of life. This piece tells the story of pre-World War II Nigeria through a child's view. Although told from a child’s view, the voice of the story is Soyinka as an adult. Soyinka is able to capture the honesty that is usually expected of a child, while giving insight that is expected of those who are older and wiser. The first chapter of this book was both confusing and frustrating. Understanding who was who and what was going on seemed impossible. After reading it several times I began to wonder if this was purposeful in that maybe this was the way Soyinka felt being so young in Nigeria at this time. As a whole, Aké explores the nature of change in regard to life both before and during the war.
The characters of this book live in a western Nigerian town called Ake. Wole Solyinka is the child of Joeshp (Essay) and Eniola (Wild Christian). At the age of three years old Wole first attended his father's school. Growing up as a child, Wole was expected to win a scholarship to go to Government School, where the best student attended. He was accepted to go to Government School but without a scholarship. During this period of time, Wild Christian became actively involved with the Women's Moment. All over Nigeria, women were marching and protesting on the issue of "Tax". They were later given the name of the Nigerian Women Movement. Outside of Nigeria there was a bigger problem, Hitler was gaining control over many countries, leading to World War II.
One of the main aspects of Aké is Wole’s struggle with adaptation from Nigerian to Western culture, also termed colonization. An example of this is how Soyinka introduces his autobiography with a story of God choosing to visit in the town of Aké. Along with a social hierarchy being established, there is also conflict between Christian and Yoruba beliefs. God is referred to as a “guest”, a concept that continues...