27 February 2018
The representation of poverty in both Phone Swap and Changes holds dramatic
implications for the nature of globalization and its effect on characters’ personal development
throughout the story. However, the way that poverty is represented as a whole within both texts
has a vastly different tone. With Changes taking a much more somber and negative view toward
poverty and Phone Swap taking a positive and markedly comedic tone towards it. The two texts
represent poverty differently because they are attempting to accomplish two different goals with
their representation of poverty. Changes uses poverty in order to, among other things, highlight
the struggles of society as a whole, while Phone Swap utilizes poverty to highlight the
differences between characters, namely Mary and Akin.
Consider, in Changes, the moment when the novel describes the twenty first century hotel
in comparison to a poor fishing village nearby, “The Hotel Twentieth Century was blazing with
light, consuming enough electricity to light up the whole of the nearby fishing district. But the
Fishing villages did not have electricity … Like users of hotel lobbies. Like Mrs. Esi Sekyi and
her friend, Mrs Opokuya Dakwa” (Aidoo 43). Aidoo expertly utilizes the prevalence of poverty
in an increasingly globalized and technologically advanced Africa, she uses poverty not only to
define the character’s situations and give them context, but as a subtext for the novel as a whole.
Unlike Phone Swap, Changes does not only utilize poverty as a method of defining its
character’s feelings and relationships to other characters, but as a constant reminder of the false
promises of globalization and how it worsens the gap between the rich and the poor. In Phone
Swap, a markedly different take on poverty exists, wherein which...