Reconstituting the Self: Of Names, Discourses and Agency in Amma Darko’s Beyond the Horizon

Rogers Asempasah, Christabel Aba Sam


What “Mara” signifies and how this is constitutive of the quest for a conscious but problematic postcolonial transnational subjectivity has rarely reverberated in the burgeoning critical commentary on Amma Darko’s Beyond the Horizon. This paper explores how ‘Mara’ functions in Beyond the Horizon as a name and concept that summons a specific biblical discourse that foregrounds female migratory subjectivity, vulnerability, dispossession and redemption, and a Fanti concept of a beleaguered and ethical subjectivity that emerges from complicity, radical decision and agency. The paper demonstrates that these discourses are pertinent in determining how Mara reconstitutes her subjectivity at the margins of Empire. The paper contributes to our understanding of how literary names designate and conceptualise experience, function as archetypal and intertextual coda that gesture, to borrow Judith Butler’s words for our purposes, to “a world beyond themselves [and] their boundaries,” and therefore have rhetorical and thematic force. How Mara negotiates the problematics of capture is therefore crucial to Darko’s narrative of awakening.


Amma Darko, Mara, agency, postcolonial, vulnerability, discourse, Corporeal liberation.

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