Benjamin Komoetie's Search for Self Identity Essay

Benjamin Komoetie's Search for Self Identity Essay

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Benjamin Komoetie, the main character in Fiela’s Child by Dalene Matthee, arrived on the doorstep of Fiela and Selling Komoetie when he was only three years old. It is fortunate that Fiela and Selling Komoetie had raised Benjamin as their own from the day he arrived on their door step until was twelve years old. Although Fiela and Selling Komoetie are not the biological parents of Benjamin, they are remarkable parental figures, as well as the only ones Benjamin knew. At the age of twelve, census takers discovered Benjamin living with Komoetie’s, and had suddenly recalled a story of a boy who had vanished from the forest. After several months, the census takers had returned to take Benjamin away from the Komoeties and send him to the illiterate family of woodcutters, the van Rooyens who had lost their child nine years ago. Fiela Komoetie asked this simple question to the magistrate, in an attempt to get her son back: is it possible for a boy of only three years old to walk, whilst remaining in perfect health, from the forest near Knysna and over the mountain only to land on the doorstep of Fiela Komoetie? The likelihood of this was very small. In this textual analysis, there will be a focus on tone, theme, and symbolism throughout the novel Fiela’s Child as Benjamin searches for his identity.

The struggle of self-identity begins when the Magistrate of Knysna tells Benjamin that he may -no longer use the term master:
“‘I am Fiela Komoetie’s child, master, we’re not penniless people, I swear. I have five shillings to prove it… Please, Master!’ ‘I never want to hear you use the word master again! You’re a white child and you will learn to speak like a white child.’ ‘Please, your worshipful lord, I’m Fiela Komoetie’s child and Sell...


... middle of paper ...


... search for is identity, the main character of Fiela’s Child, had in discovering his own identity. Dalene Matthee uses the tone of white supremacy to exemplify the way in which the colored population of South Africa had been treated by the white population. This causes Benjamin to question his identity at the young age of twelve years old because he was told by the magistrate that he may no longer use the term master when referring to authoritarian figures. The use of theme throughout the novel typifies Benjamin Komoetie’s struggle to discover his true identity, allowing the reader to able to sympathize with him. The use of symbolism throughout the novel allows the reader to truly understand the internal struggle Benjamin Komoetie had endured. Benjamin is, without a doubt, Fiela’s Child.



Works Cited

Matthee, Dalene. Fiela's child. New York: Knopf :, 1986. Print.

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