The Currency of “Blood”

So I went through and found as many lines on blood and I found roughly 25 in total and chose to look at only these few listed below.  The reason I looked for this was because I came across this article (check link below) which stated that the title wasn’t originally Petals of Blood.  So I wanted to find out a possible reason as to why I thought the title was changed.  ( https://web.archive.org/web/20070816082219/http://www.u-bourgogne.fr:80/ITL/richard.htm ) Sorry in advance for the crappy formatting when that loads for you.

“People sold their daughters for goats, not for crops: smiths, workers in pottery and basketry or in beautiful trinkets would more often than not only exchange their wares for things of blood.  And why did nations go to war, if not to secure these things of blood?” (18)

This first quote is really a commentary of the use of blood as a form of currency with which everything is ran.  If blood is the primary currency for Africans originally and we choose to look at blood within religion here, then Christianity becomes an infringing idea within this currency.  The blood can then be seen as the currency for salvation to many, as in, “the blood of Christ.”  This would make it the ultimate form of currency for the Westerners in that it can save your soul, which in turn makes it an interesting issue as to what exactly does this mean to the Africans who aren’t interested in this Western religion and what does it mean to their way of life and culture when blood takes on a different meaning?

The scene where we have the reverend who only offers up spiritual assistance/currency instead of actual material currency is emblematic of the changes we see with colonization occurring, Instead of getting something of blood such as a goat or food of some kind, you get something spiritual that doesn’t have a real value to the people who aren’t Christians.  “Do you know the Reverend holy bastard could only offer us the food of the spirit, the bread and fish of Jesus?” (149)  With this focus on the spiritual instead of the physical gains, the idea of blood as a physical currency diminishes along with the African strength to use it as such.  It becomes no longer valid and pushes the people towards the idea of the dollar in turn and begins moving Africa towards the Western ideal.

“I will tell you about the true secret of the white man’s power: money.  Money moves the world.  Money is time.  Money is beauty.  Money is elegance.  Money is power.” (233)  As we near the 2/3rd’s mark of the text we find the power of the “white man” in that money.  The money that has continuously been basically viewed and/or used as a functional way to divide the people of Africa and push towards a “white country.”  I would prefer in this statement to use money as also meaning the currency of religion as I believe they both function identically here.  Each pulls apart the people from their culture because each is replacing the previous means of gains.

I’m not quite sure where to take this further, but I do see how it could be interesting to look at monetary means in both the spiritual and physical aspects throughout readings we have over the semester.  Along with this, Jonathan Dunn hit on very similar things so check out his earlier post in tandem with mine, it may be an interesting combination.

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