The Lion and the Jewel

Lakunle Character Analysis

Lakunle is the young schoolteacher in Ilujinle. He was educated in Lagos, presumably in a British school, which results in Lakunle's overblown sense of his grasp of English. He wishes to modernize the village and wants Sidi to marry him and be a "modern wife." In keeping with his values, Lakunle refuses to pay Sidi's bride price and instead tries to woo her with flowery language and biblical references. Lakunle speaks about village life and customs as though he finds them abhorrent, though he does seem to enjoy the village’s dance performances.

Lakunle Quotes in The Lion and the Jewel

The The Lion and the Jewel quotes below are all either spoken by Lakunle or refer to Lakunle. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Tradition vs. Modernity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Three Crowns Books edition of The Lion and the Jewel published in 1997.
Morning Quotes

Lakunle: You could wear something.
Most modest women do. But you, no.
You must run around naked in the streets.
Does it not worry you... the bad names,
The lewd jokes, the tongue-licking noises
Which girls, uncovered like you,
Draw after them?

Sidi: ...Is it Sidi who makes the men choke
In their cups, or you, with your big loud words
And no meaning?

Related Characters: Sidi (speaker), Lakunle (speaker)
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

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For that, what is a jewel to pigs?
If now I am misunderstood by you
And your race of savages, I rise above taunts
And remain unruffled.

Related Characters: Lakunle (speaker), Sidi
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

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Well go there. Go to these places where
Women would understand you
If you told them of your plans with which
You oppress me daily.

Related Characters: Sidi (speaker), Lakunle
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

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Wasted! Wasted! Sidi, my heart
Bursts into flowers with my love.
But you, you and the dead of this village
Trample it with feet of ignorance.

Related Characters: Lakunle (speaker), Sidi
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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A savage custom, barbaric, out-dated,
Rejected, denounced, accursed,
Excommunicated, archaic, degrading,
Humiliating, unspeakable, redundant.
Retrogressive, remarkable, unpalatable.

Related Characters: Lakunle (speaker), Sidi
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ignorant girl, can you not understand?
To pay the price would be
To buy a heifer off the market stall.

Related Characters: Lakunle (speaker), Sidi
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

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It's never any use.
Bush-girl you are, bush-girl you'll always be.
Uncivilized and primitive—bush-girl!

Related Characters: Lakunle (speaker), Sidi
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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You are dressed like him
You look like him
You speak his tongue
You think like him
You're just as clumsy
In your Lagos ways—
You'll do for him!

Related Characters: Sidi (speaker), Lakunle, The Stranger
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

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Noon Quotes

My name is Sidi, and I am beautiful.
The stranger took my beauty
And placed it in my hands.

Related Characters: Sidi (speaker), Lakunle, Baroka, Sadiku, The Stranger
Related Symbols: The Magazine
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

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Voluptuous beast! He loves this life too well
To bear to part from it. And motor roads
And railways would do just that, forcing
Civilization at his door.

Related Characters: Lakunle (speaker), Baroka
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

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Night Quotes

For though you're nearly seventy,
Your mind is simple and unformed.
Have you no shame that at your age,
You neither read nor write nor think?

Related Characters: Lakunle (speaker), Sadiku
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ah, I forget. This is the price I pay
Once every week, for being progressive.
Prompted by the school teacher, my servants
Were prevailed upon to form something they call
The Palace Workers' Union. And in keeping
With the habits—I am told—of modern towns,
This is their day off.

Related Characters: Baroka (speaker), Sidi, Lakunle
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

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The old must flow into the new, Sidi,
Not blind itself or stand foolishly
Apart. A girl like you must inherit
Miracles which age alone reveals.

Related Characters: Baroka (speaker), Sidi, Lakunle
Related Symbols: Postage Stamps
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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Dear Sidi, we shall forget the past.
This great misfortune touches not
The treasury of my love.
But you will agree, it is only fair
That we forget the bride-price totally
Since you no longer can be called a maid.

Related Characters: Lakunle (speaker), Sidi, Baroka, Sadiku
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

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A present from Sidi.
I tried to tear it up
But my fingers were too frail.

Related Characters: Sidi (speaker), Lakunle
Related Symbols: The Magazine
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Lakunle Character Timeline in The Lion and the Jewel

The timeline below shows where the character Lakunle appears in The Lion and the Jewel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Morning
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...near Ilujinle's schoolhouse. Students in the school recite the multiplication table as the young schoolteacher, Lakunle, notices Sidi and comes outside. He's dressed in a too-small western suit and tennis shoes. (full context)
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Lakunle tries to take the pail of water from Sidi and spills water on himself in... (full context)
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Lakunle changes the subject. Motioning at Sidi's breasts and bare shoulders, he tells her that a... (full context)
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After a moment, Lakunle recovers himself and declares that he will rise above the taunts from the "savages" of... (full context)
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Sidi throws Lakunle off of her and asks if women who pound yams and plant crops with babies... (full context)
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Sidi asks Lakunle where his crazy thoughts come from. He describes the city of Lagos, where ideas like... (full context)
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Sidi declares that she endured enough of Lakunle's nonsense the day before. Lakunle loudly takes offense to having his ideas called nonsense. He... (full context)
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Angry again, Sidi tells Lakunle that his words sound the same but mean nothing. She reminds him that she'd be... (full context)
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Sidi tells Lakunle to pay the price, and Lakunle again shouts more words to describe the tradition of... (full context)
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...with disgust, Sidi states that she hates kissing. She deems it unclean and asks if Lakunle is being rude to her by making the kissing sound. Lakunle sadly tells Sidi that... (full context)
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Sidi and Lakunle hear people coming. Sidi asks for her pail of water so the villagers won't tease... (full context)
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Sidi declares that the images of her mean that she's more powerful than Baroka. Lakunle petulantly declares Baroka a "devil among women" and deems it divine justice that a woman... (full context)
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...find someone who will be able to appropriately play the drunk stranger. She turns to Lakunle and assigns him the part, which Lakunle refuses by saying he's never been drunk. Sidi... (full context)
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The group drags Lakunle towards the center of the clearing as he states that the dance is idiotic and... (full context)
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Lakunle enthusiastically positions the cast throughout the clearing as parts of the jungle. He directs the... (full context)
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Lakunle as the stranger hears a woman singing and in his drunken state, thinks he has... (full context)
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Baroka enters and the dance abruptly stops as everyone kneels and respectfully greets him. Lakunle tries to sneak off, but Baroka calls him out. Lakunle greets Baroka with "good morning,"... (full context)
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Baroka suggests that they resume the dance and commands his attendants to seize Lakunle. Lakunle is perplexed, but Baroka accuses him of stealing the "village maidenhead." Lakunle nods and... (full context)
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Lakunle returns and Sidi happily tells him that he was a perfect stranger and should've been... (full context)
Noon
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Sidi walks down the road followed by Lakunle, who is carrying firewood for her. Sidi is engrossed in the photographs of herself in... (full context)
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Lakunle drops the wood and begins calling Baroka greedy and a trickster. Sidi asks Lakunle to... (full context)
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...tells Sadiku that she won't fall prey to Baroka now that she's famous, which makes Lakunle smile. Sadiku tells Sidi that Baroka has promised that Sidi will be his last wife.... (full context)
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...of Ilujinle." Sadiku is bewildered and asks Sidi if she's sick. Sadiku turns suddenly to Lakunle and accuses him of driving Sidi mad. Lakunle runs a little ways away and calls... (full context)
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...that she never noticed how smooth her skin is, and nobody ever complimented her breasts. Lakunle tells Sidi that he would've, but it wasn't proper. Sidi ignores him and continues to... (full context)
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Lakunle asserts himself again and says that Baroka is called "the Fox" for a reason. Though... (full context)
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Lakunle gestures towards where the track was supposed to be constructed. Prisoners enter to cut through... (full context)
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Lakunle shakes his fist and declares that Baroka loves his life too much to allow the... (full context)
Night
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Lakunle enters the village center, watches Sidi and Sadiku for a moment, and then declares that... (full context)
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...use her "bashful looks." Sadiku suggests she go with Sidi, but Sidi brushes her off. Lakunle, looking horrified, begs Sidi not to go. He says that Baroka will see right through... (full context)
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Lakunle calls Sidi foolish and reprimands Sadiku for not being able to keep a secret, insulting... (full context)
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Sadiku tells Lakunle that his betrothed is currently eating with Baroka. Lakunle seems pleased that Sadiku called Sidi... (full context)
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Lakunle again tells Sadiku to leave him alone. Sadiku laughs and says that it's true then... (full context)
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Sadiku, looking terrified, tries to walk away, but Lakunle follows her and continues his tirade. He tells Sadiku that she needs to come to... (full context)
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...Sidi if she knows what the stamp is. Sidi says she does and shares that Lakunle gets letters from Lagos with stamps. Baroka looks disappointed that Sidi knows and asks her... (full context)
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...idea, but Sidi slowly says that she can barely understand as his words sound like Lakunle's. She wonders if she's as dumb as Lakunle tells her she is and looks miserable. (full context)
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...assures Sidi that she's not dumb, just "straight and truthful." He says that he and Lakunle are really very alike and must learn from each other. Baroka says that "the old... (full context)
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...man cross the room twice to the sound of drumming and shouting. Later that evening, Lakunle and Sadiku stand in the market waiting for Sidi, watching vendors hawk their wares. Lakunle... (full context)
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As people pass, Lakunle continues to search the crowd for Sidi. When the wrestler passes, Sadiku greets him. After... (full context)
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Sadiku seems unconcerned and reaches her hand into Lakunle's pocket, asking if he has money. He jumps away from her, but she insists he... (full context)
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...of Baroka. When the story is finished, the dancers dance away while Sadiku continues alone. Lakunle enjoyed the dance despite his annoyance. Sadiku walks happily back towards Lakunle, who tries to... (full context)
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...Sadiku kneels next to her and asks Sidi what's wrong, but Sidi pushes her away. Lakunle, looking triumphant, tries to take Sadiku's place. He offers to kiss Sidi's tears away but... (full context)
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Looking up, Sidi calls Sadiku and Lakunle fools and says that Baroka lied to Sadiku about his manhood. She says that he... (full context)
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Lakunle asks the heavens to strike him dead and insists he no longer wants to live.... (full context)
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Sadiku wonders what Sidi's doing. Lakunle, looking after Sidi, says that she's going home and asks Sadiku to follow and find... (full context)
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Sadiku returns to Lakunle and says that Sidi is packing her things and oiling herself like a bride. Alarmed,... (full context)
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Lakunle insists that he can't be single one day and married the next with no time... (full context)
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...and the magazine. The crowd goes silent in awe of her beauty as she approaches Lakunle and hands him the magazine. She says her fingers weren't strong enough to tear the... (full context)
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Sidi looks surprised and asks if Lakunle really thought she'd marry him after sleeping with Baroka. She asks how she could possibly... (full context)