Sunday, May 26, 2013
Bev is Blogging the Caine, Miracle by Tope Folarin
This blog is a couple of days old. I needed a space to outside my poetry work. I found Tope Folarin’s Miracle like a passage through ‘humourdom’ with sign-posts telling you where to go for which particular miracle. I felt like I had been there before and in many ways I have. The story was a complete analysis of the ‘antics’ in churches and fundamentalist sects, also a revelation of what measures desperate people take. Tope told me that he does respect the church and the story represented the larger spectrum of desperation. The story is quite precise and detailed and can only be told by someone who recognizes it and is a part of it. It veers from the usual anecdotes of pastors asking for money and delves into deeper issues. “…and we ask that you bless us abundantly, we who have made it to America…” This certainly places us in a specific emotional and physical context raising our expectations as well. I was amused because America is a desire for many and the church no doubt receives countless prayer requests world-wide from people who desire to travel to America in particular. On arrival, more prayers are necessary to continue living that dream. The vicious life of prayer and miracle searches doesn’t end, which could also mean that we are always searching for something more. The miracles are all so physical and urgent like green cards, American passports, good grades and good jobs, some of which could be attained from hard work as well. There is no request for the greater good, to give back to America, which is also interesting. They left their homes to travel to America but even in America they are still clinging to home by attending a church whose structure and congregation is homogeneous. I enjoy the fact of the Prophet’s blindness and that his physical blindness only opens his spiritual eyes even more. I felt this similarity in The Whispering Trees as well but we’ll get to that story later. However, he distances himself in case of any miracle errors, …And the only thing that will prevent you from receiving your share is your unbelief…” The main character of the story, who the Prophet says has become accustomed to his deformity, is an easy target because of his age and thick lenses. And when this young short-sighted man screams out that he can see and guesses the correct number of fingers during the eyesight restoring miracle test, it is like an extension to the physical miraculous falsehood of leaving poverty in Nigeria to America only to still be met by poverty. The spiritual falsehoods of healing also affirm our need to fit in, especially in a place that is alien to us. There is a paragraph which could have been eliminated because it explained what was already obvious to the reader. The second last page, “This is what I learned during my first visit to a Nigerian church: that a community is made up of truths and lies. Both must be cultivated in order for the community to survive. Miracle is certainly an entertaining story. It is difficult to tell which story will win because each of them is radical, and with its own literary merit.