What Are the Themes of “Houseboy” by Ferdinand Oyono?

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There are several themes in “Houseboy” by Ferdinand Oyono, including Christianity and oppression. Sexuality is also very important to the short novel, especially in the writings related to Madame and how she interacts with the men around her.

“Houseboy” follows the story of Toundi, who has close ties to Father Gilbert. The Father teaches Toundi about Catholicism; however, Toundi’s faith dwindles slowly throughout the story. After Father Gilbert dies, Toundi is taken in by the Commander and his wife, the beautiful Madame. While he serves them as a houseboy, he begins to notice more of the differences between him and his European benefactors.