The Will of Allah by David Owoyele
In The Will of Allah by David Owoyele we have the theme of acceptance, trust, appearance, violence, guilt and selfishness. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Owoyele may be exploring the theme of acceptance. Sule is quite content to be a thief. Something that is noticeable while he is being sentenced for one of his previous crimes. It is as though Sule accepts his fate when the judge sentences him. He knows that with robbing comes the possibility of being caught and serving time in prison. This does not deter Sule from being a thief and he logically considers that he has to do something and there is nothing wrong with being a thief. Something that some readers may disagree with. It is also noticeable that Dogo does not complain about the fact that he is a thief either which would further suggest to the reader that not only Sule but Dogo too accepts the fact that he is a thief. Neither man sees anything wrong with any of their actions throughout the story nor does the reader feel at any stage in the story that either man has a redemptive streak. There will be no change in the lifestyle that both men have chosen.
Owoyele may also be exploring the theme of appearance. Both Sule and Dogo know that it does not matter what a property looks like when it comes to what they might steal. A poor man’s house can often have riches that may not necessarily be there in a rich man’s house. This could be important as neither Sule nor Dogo are fooled by appearances. They have been robbing houses long enough not to be fooled. The fact that Sule and Dogo would rob a poor man’s house is also interesting as they are not discriminating against anybody. Everybody to Sule and Dogo is fair game. Which may be surprising to some readers. For Sule and Dogo robbing is their trade. It is what they do. It feeds them and clothes them. They do not feel any sentiment about who they rob. No matter how poor the individual may be. If anything both Sule and Dogo are guilt-free when it comes to their actions. They feel no guilt whatsoever. Rich or poor it does not matter to Sule or Dogo. Though some critics might suggest that both Sule and Dogo are desperate it might be important to remember that they have chosen their profession. They have not been forced to rob people or their property. This decision to rob others is something that both men have chosen to do.
The fact that both Sule and Dogo carry knives informs the reader as to just how violent their profession is. It is also noticeable that when it comes to violence Sule does not mind hitting a woman (his fence). This might be something which disturbs some readers however such is the life that Sule lives the practice of violence. Regardless of the person’s sex. Is something that is acceptable to Sule (and Dogo). Both men know that they live a life that is filled with danger and a lack of trust. This lack of trust is noticeable by the fact that Sule suspects that Dogo has received money from the theft of the coat and black bag and not shared it with him. Also when Sule gives Dogo the gourd. Dogo when he is by the stream opens it to see if he can take anything before Sule arrives. Neither man trusts the other and does not consider their relationship to be a friendship. If anything their arrangement is strictly business. Each man is out for himself. Which may suggest that both men are selfish and only concerned about themselves.
The end of the story is interesting as Owoyele appears to be further exploring the theme of acceptance. It is astonishing how calm both Sule and Dogo are after they have been bitten by the cobra. They know they are going to die and rather than do anything they stay where they are. Though they have the option to get treatment Sule knows that it will do no good. The cobra’s venom will work quickly so any consideration to get treatment may be pointless. This could be important as it suggests that both Sule and Dogo accept what is going to happen to them. They know they are going to die and there is very little they can do about it. It may also be important that Sule calls Dogo a ‘rotten bastard’ near the end of the story as it is as though he is highlighting how he really feels about Dogo. He knows that he can’t trust Dogo and that their arrangement has been one of convenience more than anything else. It is also difficult for the reader to sympathize with either man, particularly Sule, as throughout the story he has thought of no one but himself.