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BLOSSOMS OF THE SAVANNA:
Characters and Characterisation

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Mama Jane Milanoi

She is the wife to Kaelo and mother to Taiyo and Resian.

Meek/ Submissive

She says she did not resist Kaelo's marriage for traditions did not allow any resistance (p.2). She prays God to open her womb so that she can bear a son for Kaelo (p.29). When she is taken to her new house she exclaims, "Father of all creation!" (p.30). When Taiyo requests her to allow Joseph Parmuat to come and coach her on traditional dances, she fears saying "that's your father's territory." (p.56). She fears to broach the subject of circumcision of her daughters. (p.61). She is disturbed by Resian when she (Resian) uses harsh words on Oloisudori (p.94).She knows very little about her husband for he is a man (p.95). She honors her husband's visitor and his friends (p.179). She burns rice as she is afraid of Kaelo after Oloisudori has just left (p.104).

Religious

Before embarking on their journey to Nasila, she leads in prayers. Kaelo first spotted  her at a church service at Nasila (p.9). She is to join women in ancestral prayers and songs of praise, a prayer for exhorting God to open women's wombs so that she can bear a son for Kaelo (p.29).

Cautious

She cautions Taiyo and Resian against strangers who might take advantage of their unfamiliarity with Nasila. (p.17). She wishes to care for her children although she fears Nasila people for their intolerance (p.30). She is torn between her love for Nasila culture and that for her daughters as well as her dutiful role of a faithful and obedient wife. (p.61). That is why she takes the subject of FGM cautiously.

Loving

She loves and cares for her daughters. She is worried by the FGM that is to be conducted on them (p.61). On learning that Oloisudori intends to marry one of her daughters she cries with pain. (p.113). Like a woman in labour, the story about selling Resian to Oloisudori highly hurts her (p.193).

Evasive/ Elusive

She avoids the girls' demand to be taken to university (p.8). Even when the girls make this request she lingers.

Mama Milanoi as a character is important in addressing the issue of women subjugation by men in the patriarchal Maa community. The novelist uses her to demonstrate how women occupy a lowly position in the family. Dialogue and flashback as stylistic devices are used by the novelist through her. She is also used to address the issue of religion in the novel.

Traitorous

Her daughters expect her to voice their requests to their strict father but she disappoints them on the issue. The girls also expect the mother to side with them on the idea of FGM so that they do not undergo the cut but instead she supports their circumcision and keeps quiet about the arranged marriage of her daughters and Oloisudori even when she notes the gender disparity and the girls' relentless desire to acquire university education.

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