The movie Blood Diamond and the book Chanda’s Secret have a lot in common. The first and most obvious is that both use Africa as the setting and the setting plays an important role in the plot. Almost acting as its own character the climate, poverty and political unrest of Africa are central themes to both stories. There are three main themes with Africa as the setting that I would like to discuss.
First, The political unrest in Africa is key to both plots. In Blood Diamond there is the RUF. The RUF is a bunch of power hungry and desperate people that want to be respected and govern the country and enjoy the power. The R.U.F goes from village to village-killing people and recruiting child soldiers. When the R.U.F came to Solomon’s village they took his son, Dia. In Chanda’s Secret political unrest is demonstrated by the governments inability to do much about the AIDS epidemic. For example, when Chanda went to the hospital, there was almost a two day wait for anyone to see her mother.
Second, the value of human life and the amount of death in both stories is painful to imagine. Tens of thousands of people die in both stories, death becomes commonplace. Danny Archer in Blood Diamond said “ Out here people kill each other as a way of life”. Danny Archer thought he was going to leave Solomon and his son, and cash in the diamond and keep it for himself. Solomon and Chanda live when there is chaos and death all around them. In Chandra’s Secret Ms. Tafa said, “ Aids is a way of life. It is normal out here”. Although once Chanda’s mom died, it left Chanda in charge and left her with a lot more responsibility. Chanda felt ashamed about her mother dieing of AIDS. Death and despair play key roles in both these stories. There is so much death at times there seems not to be much value in human life.
Third the amount of poverty and how it affects people is key to both Africa and these stories. Solomon had to make some tough choices, he had to pick whether he would risk his future for the diamond. The money the diamond represented would be worth risking his life to bring his family together. In Chanda’s Secret her best friend Ester had to be a prostitute because she needed the money. Ester wasn’t proud of what she was doing, but she said, “ I am not proud, but this is how I will make my money, it is the only way. Poverty affected central characters that shaped the plot of both stories.
In both Chandra’s Secret and Blood Diamond western standards were irrelevant. In Chanda’s Secret, millions were dying of AIDS. One might argue that this might not of happened if it was a Western country. In Blood Diamond, there are several references to T.I.A (This is Africa). Danny talked about that Africa had its own set of rules and way of living, very different from western standards.
Both Solomon and Chanda had some key character traits in common. Perhaps most important they both put their family first- above all else. In Solomon’s case, he fought through the R.U.F, he walked hundreds of miles, and he went to jail. All to find his son and unite his family. Chanda, tried so hard to help her mom get better, she did everything around the house, sacrifice her own happiness so her mom could stay in bed.
Blood Diamond and Chandra’s Secret had many things in common there is also some significant contrasts between the two stories.
Both stories have a lot of death in them. The contrast is the solutions to stop those deaths are extremely different. In Chanda’s Secret the outbreak of HIV leads to Aids and many deaths. The solution or cure for AIDS would be a medical breakthrough, better education and improved health care. In Blood Diamond, the solution to stop the violence and death is very different. First, Africa has to make more trade restrictions on Diamonds. Secondly, they must shut down the black market, which means diamonds can’t be smuggled. And third, the western world must stop buying conflict diamonds, which fuel the R.U.F. So both stories have a lot of death and central parts of the plot, but there is a significant difference n the solutions that could stop the deaths.
There is a significant contrast between how the characters in Blood Diamond and Chandra’s Secret related to each other. In Blood Diamond, the key characters seem to use each other, the journalist Maddie Bowen is using Danny for information, Danny is using the journalist for access. Danny is using Solomon for help to find the diamond. The Colonel is using Danny to help find the diamond. These characters are using each other to get to achieve their goals. In Chanda’s Secret the key characters are trying to help each other out. Ms. Tafa suggested and drove Chanda’s mom to the doctor. Chanda helped Ester by keeping her secret. Esther took Iris to the park for Sara’s funeral. They seem to support each other from the beginning. In Blood Diamond the characters support each other at the end but relationships were formed only because they needed each other.
Getting Aids and being recruited for the R.U.F are both things people don’t see in their worst nightmares. But in Chanda’s Secret and Blood Diamond it isn’t uncommon. In Chanda’s Secret there was the constant fear of getting AIDS. AIDS was not only deadly, it was a type of shame you were stuck with forever. In Chanda’s village once you were diagnosed with AIDS, you and your family were shunned from everyone. No one wanted to talk to you, they thought you weren’t worth anything. In Blood Diamond, once you were recruited into the R.U.F you gained power and prestige from your peers. Once Dia got taken away, he got running water, satellite T.V, and all the food he wanted. So the price for getting AIDS was high for the victims, contrasted with the R.U.F from Blood Diamond, who held some power and influence.
Blood Diamond and Chanda’s Secrets are both touching stories that describe life in Africa. Thery are powerful stories with many simmilaritys and differences.