The Other Side of Truth
Beverly Naidoo’s interesting novel ‘The Other Side of Truth’ shows how telling the truth at all times may become an issue in certain scenarios. In this novel two Nigerian children, Sade and Femi, have to flee to England without anyone else they know, after their mother is shot by the Nigerian government, in order to be safe. Naidoo emphasises the difficulties that always telling the truth can cause, through the theme of problems with the truth. I will explain how Naidoo conveys this message in this essay.

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Throughout the novel, the characters experience a lot of drastic changes which alter their attitudes towards the truth. Sade, a Nigerian school girl, is the main character. Her and her younger brother Femi have been brought up with their father Folarin’s a strong belief that lying is unacceptable and that the truth must always be told no matter what the circumstances are. However Sade’s opinions towards the truth change when she flees to England without her parents. Sade is upset by having to lie but she understands what the consequences may be if she tells the truth. Therefore Sade is left confused whether she is doing the right or wrong thing. “Sade’s mind crashed again”, shows how overwhelmed Sade feels.

Meanwhile Femi feels entirely different. He blocks himself out of the situation and refuses to talk to anyone. However this just makes the situation worse as it creates a tense atmosphere between Sade and Femi and makes Sade feel as if she is alone. Femi didn’t want to be part of all the new changes that were taking place in his life. “Femi wasn’t trying to make sense of things” shows how setback he was from everyone else and how unwilling he was to change. Although telling the truth in Nigeria could be fatal, Sade and Femi were brought up to never lie. Folarin, their father, was a journalist for a newspaper that published antigovernment articles. Even though the articles were truthful the journalists frequently found themselves in serious trouble with the government. Folarin believedthat you should always tell the truth no matter what the situation. Because of this the Nigerian government shot Sade and Femi’s mother. “Even the family house won’t be safe.

Page 2 The Other Side Of Truth Essay

These people mean business. They know our village.” This quote shows how unsafe Nigeria was to them. The novelalso explains how the neighbourhoods are enclosed within gates with people guarding the entrance and exit. Once they had left Nigeria, Sade and Femi had hoped to be welcomed into a safe environment. However the children didn’t experience a very safe start to their new life in London. Soon after arriving in England, Sade and Femi were abandoned by the stranger that had helped to smuggle them overseas. Whilst freezing in the winter wind, all of the children’s belongings were stolen by a homeless man. “She broke off in horror as a shape rose up from the deeper shadows of the alley.

This shows how terrifying the situation was to Sade and Femi. When Sade and Femi were given a foster family and start a new school, they are bullied but they are able to find help to try and reunite them with their father. ‘The Other Side of Truth’ is told in third person limited which allows us to read the story from Sade’s perspective. This enables us, as readers, to get to know all of the characters, especially Sade, more personally and realistically. By seeing things mainly from Sade’s point of view you learn exactly how Sade and Femi feel about the truth and how strong their parent’s influences have been. There are several flashbacks though out the novel which gives you an insight into Sade and Femi’s life in Nigeria.

They are helpful as they let you know why Sade and Femi may handle different scenarios the way that they do. In conclusion, Beverly Naidoo’s novel ‘The Other Side of Truth’ conveys how truth telling can make a huge impact within different situations. As readers, we are also able to see the different coping strategies that each of the characters use when they are put in a situation where they feel unable to tell the truth. This novel makes you think about how dangerous some of the countries in the world are and how badly other people are treated. Jenny Foster 2.6

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