The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste focuses on the bloody Italian invasion of Ethiopia. A realistic depiction of war, the novel includes scenes of brutal violence against men, women, and children—soldiers and civilians. One character specifically, Kidane, is personally forced to grapple with the horrors and consequences of the war.
Although most of the characters in Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King come from the same region in Ethiopia, they have significantly different backgrounds in terms of identity and position in the social hierarchy. The character Aster’s experiences in The Shadow King highlight complex and sometimes conflicting power dynamics surrounding gender and class in mid-twentieth century Ethiopia.
Our Lit Circle has been reading and discussing The Shadow King in class for the last month. We’ve had the opportunity to become comfortable with the material through student-driven inquiry: each of us choosing our own theme or topic to focus on. In this podcast our group members interviewed each other about the subjects we’ve been focusing on, specifically the complex, intersecting themes of war, violence, class and gender. Enjoy our podcast and feel free to comment and share your feedback.
I really like how you took a novel that is mostly renowned for its feminism and took it in a totally different direction! I loved the summaries you gave and the overall unique spin you took on the book.
I really liked the perspective you took on this, especially when you discussed Kidane’s experiences and how he came to view war for what it was. Great podcast! 🙂
I really like how ask each other questions regarding your overall insights instead of just talking about it yourself. This is a technique for the podcast that I had not thought of and I think it was a great way to keep listeners engaged. Nice Job!
I like this approach. My group didn’t focus on the celebration of war, therefore it was great to hear and listen to another group’s perspective. Great work!
I really liked that you guys touched on the glorification of war and how Mengiste contrasts this narrative. Your commentary on Kidaine and the power dynamics within the novel helped me to better understand the characters.
I loved your group’s focus on the celebration of war and power dynamics in terms of gender and class. I think it was really insightful to listen to such a thought-provoking discussion.