The Mali epic of San Jara has many elements that make up a minor true hero and a minor true villain. Here you have a story where on one side the main hero isn't all powerful like we are all used to. On the other side, we have a villain that has unusual success against the hero, but virtually throws it away because of his excessive needs. Although he is a hero, sometimes the way that he acts might not be seen as heroic actions, but actually are in underlying means. It’s actually weird that as an actual hero, he did not have the power to just overpower Sumamuru, but had to plan. In speaking in terms of minor literature in reference to Deleuze and Guattari, Son Jara is minor and as a result the way that people have to deal with them makes them minor as well. (Deleuze, Guattari) Although Son Jara and Sumamuru were opposites as in being against each other in the epic, they both can be viewed in a minor sense. So my question or action that I’m trying to explore is whether or not one character is made to be specifically minor or whether each character is minor because of their interaction with the other.
The CHOSEN One
Son Jara can be seen as the hero of the story easily. Most stories, epics, tales, etc, always have a hero. A hero is a character to look up to, that resolves the conflict of the story. In most cases, the reader can tell who the hero is and that winning the battle is inevitable. More importantly, Son Jara was prophesied about well before his birth. We can tell this by how his mother kept praying to the Lord and referring to him as the future leader of their people. Before Son Jara could even stand and support his self, he already had the obligations and expectations to be great. The expectations to lead these people and be a protector. How could they view him as a hero, and as far as they knew, he was cripple. Another literary future that was hyped well before he could show his power, is the all popular "Harry Potter. In the world of wizardry he was known as "The Boy Who Lived" or "The Chosen One. (Rowling) People believed in him before they even seen him complete a competent spell and before he even began school as a student to learn the ways of a wizard. One aspect that separated Harry Potter and other heroes, in comparison with Son Jara was that final epic battle. In just about any other movie or story I can think of, no matter how the battle was, I could tell that the supposed hero would prevail somehow. Maybe they would have one hick up in the battle, but they would win nevertheless. In the epic of Son Jara, his final battle took place about 3 or 4 times. He was never able to truly overpower Sumamuru and on top of that Sumamuru helped him by telling his secrets to victory. Even in the end when Sumamuru fell to Son Jara, it happened with about 3 or 4 other accomplices. What type of Chosen One needs as much help to bring down the big bad boss in that crucial final epic battle? That is a weird aspect for a hero, one especially has hyped as Son Jara was amongst his people.
Uh... That's Not Heroic
While we are speaking about the heroism or lack thereof, of Son Jara in comparison to normal hero like qualities, his beginning is also questionable. Once Son Jara began to walk, one of the first acts that he committed cause injuries and one death to some young men. He shook a tree which caused three young men to fall out one by one. The first one broke his leg once fallen. The second broke his arm after being shook out of the tree. Finally, the last shake by Son Jara caused a boy to break his neck, thus dying. (2439) Causing young men to injure themselves and even killing one does not seem like a heroic act. If someone was walking along freely and saw an act like this, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't say, "Wow! What a hero!" The literary figure Artemis Fowl can be seen as a hero because during his book's exploits, he saves a magical race of people numerous of times. The problem is that normally, the problem that he solves happens because he had some type of scheme that can be seen as evil. His first book starts off with him scheming while his father is away, and his mother is delirious (Coin 15) In later volumes he moves on to trying to steal fairies magic. Viewing is actions initially, you would not think of him as a hero either. In society, when we look at heroes, we do not think of them as people that cause harm in any way, except of by accident.
Mama was right......family is everything
In most societies family is very important, especially the immediate family. Of course you had Son-Jara whose
half-brother felt a sense of disdain for him, but those close to them such as your parents and blood relatives were seen in a different light. I believe that it was deterotilizing in the way that Sumamuru treated his mother, in regards to their whole civilization. You saw with Son-Jara how his mother treated him with respect and love, and he returned the same to her. Even Dakarun Tuman and his mother, Saman Beretre treated each other well in working together to get rid of Son Jara and Sugulan Konde. Sumamuru turned against the one woman that had been by his side during his reign as an all powerful ruler. After giving him an (excellent) piece of advice of warning, he disrespected her in one of the most worse ways of that he could by slashing off her breast. She then responded by cutting his birth-cloth, thus signifying disowning her son (2455) Once again, this is 1 woman mind you that is causing Sumamuru to act in this manner. One woman that he isn't married to yet in comparison to the woman that provided him with life.
Current R&B superstar Usher, was in a similar situation a couple of years ago. After having his mother by his side throughout his successful career, he fired her because she did not care for his fiancee. There where reports that she spoke against his soon to be wife numerous of times, voicing her displeasure. Just like Sumamuru, he was warned by his mother and whether he knows it or not, MAMA WAS RIGHT!
And while we are discussing blood (family), Sumamuru also burned his bridge with his nephew Fa-Koli by taking his wife. Fa-Koli played a humongous role in the demise of Sumamuru and was even one of the final ones that helped in the capture. Im sure he was hurt by the fact that his uncle would totally disrespect him in a way by taking his wife. After having a solid 100 women of more beauty and stature than the wife of his nephew, he still had to add her to his collection. Really??!!! Dr. Evil felt the ending pain of letting someone close to switch sides when he disowned Mini-Me in favor of his biological son. Watch this tear jerker
Now Son Jara wasn't as bad because he did treat his mother extremely well. He even did what he had to do to make sure that she was buried in the city that they were in. He did exemplify heroic qualities because he kind of commanded that she be buried to the cities leader in an underlying manner. The gift that he provided Prince Birama with was a present that was a threat. One gift insinuate that if the land was not giving to him, he would reduce the town to ruin (2452) Son Jara in a way became minor to the minor character that he was already acting as. In simpler terms, he became major for a second. This was all because of the death of his mother. I stated in the beginning that he wasn't "as" bad because he did in a way sell his sister, Sugulun Kunlunkan, to Sumamuru in order to learn his secret. But I guess it isn't that bad because he done it for the greater good of the entire empire.
Women or Power?
Sumamuru was a very powerful and well off leader. Surprisingly, he was a very successful person to be a villain of the particular story. I mean "ordinarily" a villain wins maybe one battle against the supposed hero of the story, but Sumamuru won about 3. His downfall was the fact that he discussed his ways of winning or blessings all because a beautiful woman came along. The character Jiraiya from the Japanese manga Naruto, is a very powerful ninja and well respected in the ninja world. Even the most vile of the evil were scared to engage him in battle. Two of the antagonist of the story were aware of his obsessiveness with women and hexed a woman to keep his attention while they tried to capture some kids he were watching. On throughout the manga people from these villains to his own students used the fact that he loved women as his weakness to get what they desired. It is ridiculous that Sumamuru fell for Son Jara and his sister's plan seeing as he already had 5 score women. Then on top of that he stole Fa-Koli's wife, thus turning him against him. I mean really, did he really need two more women. Smh!
The Big Picture
One of my points is that the main reasons why Sumamuru and Son Jara are minor characters is because of their interactions with each other. Sumamuru became minor in having such a advantage over the supposed hero, and throwing it away over a woman that he wasn't even in love with. Son Jara was minor because he was a hero and he couldn't defeat his biggest enemy in a easy manner in a way that we are used to see heroes doing. One of the two always had to do something that made them minor because they could never just achieve complete dominance over the other and feel comfortable. Now of course they did have their own minor qualities that had nothing to do with each other. Like the fact Son Jara accidently killed a young man. And the fact that Sumamuru went against the custom of harming an ambassador, (in hurting Doka) had nothing to do with Son Jara. But all in all, we witnessed a story that took characters that would "ordinarily" be major, and made them both minor. Mostly, at least one has to at least be major.