Chapter 19 to 26 Summary of Elma Shaw’s Redemption Road

Chapter 19 of Redemption Road is the beginning of the second part of the novel, which is titled Truth Lights the Way.

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Chapter 19 to 26 Summary of Redemption Road
Chapter 19 to 26 Summary of Redemption Road
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In this post, we are going to summarise Elma Shaw’s Liberian post-war novel, Redemption Road, from chapters nineteen to twenty-six.

Chapter 19 Summary

Chapter 19 of Redemption Road is the beginning of the second part of the novel, which is titled Truth Lights the Way. This chapter, which begins in the offices of the Thomas & Reeves Law Firm, reveals Bendu’s efforts to seek justice. Calvin’s friend, John Reeves, has assigned one of his junior attorneys, Counselor Marlon Gray, to handle Bendu’s case pro bono. Bendu would otherwise be unable to afford such legal representation.

Bendu expresses her frustration over the widespread apathy and fear among Liberians. She is disturbed by the complacency of the citizens who continue to be victimised by the same warlords and corrupt officials who had ruined the country in the first place. Calvin argues that citizens have chosen the leaders they deserve, while Bendu points out that some of the leaders were appointed without the people’s input.

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She looks out from one of the large windows in the law firm’s office and sees key governmental buildings like the Executive Mansion, Capitol Building, and Temple of Justice. These buildings symbolise a system meant to work for the people’s good, though Bendu knows the reality within those walls is different.

Bendu and Siatta are ushered into Counselor Gray’s office. When Gray hears about Bendu’s recent ordeal on the beach with Moses Varney, he expresses that he can now press “real charges.” Bendu is offended by his choice of words. They spark a reaction from Bendu and Siatta. The lawyer tries to redeem himself by explaining that he meant current charges that are easier to prove, rather than undermining Bendu’s previous attempts to seek justice. He claims it is difficult to prosecute warlords until there is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission or a War Crimes Tribunal in Liberia.

Bendu, however, recounts the atrocities she had seen rebels commit during the war. She does this to validate her previous quest for justice against Moses Varney for his war crimes, and to disabuse Gray’s mind of the impression that prosecution of Varney is trivial in the scheme of things. She told him about how some fighters had cut a pregnant woman open just to know whether she was carrying a boy or a girl. Gray, who like Siatta was not in Liberia at the peak of the war, is unnerved by Bendu’s recount of the horrific war story.

She also told him about how a child soldier had shot a woman dead because she had answered him that she was going to the border. He shot her twice for her to literarily get to the border faster. Bendu ends her narrative with the resolve to seek justice against Moses Varney for his war crimes no matter how hard it may be. Gray promises to pursue charges against Moses Varney for abduction and assault. Gray claims that Varney will be apprehended within the hour at El Meson with the writ of arrest.

Other Chapters:

Further Reading:

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