Ripples: short story summary(by Peter Paul Adolinama)

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Title of Story: Ripples

Author: Peter Paul Adolinama

Setting: Saga

Point of view: Third person narrative

In this short story, a fourteen-year-old girl called Abiba tries to escape the miserable fate of childhood marriage which her mother and grandmother went through. Will she be able to break the cycle of an unwanted marriage or succumb to family and societal pressures of forced marriages?

Ripples Short Story summary

Ripples as the “title” of the story suggests that a single event can cause a wave of consequences over and over again.

The main character Abiba was the daughter of a young girl called Amina who passed away after giving birth to her.

Before Amina’s death, she gave a diary to Abiba’s caretaker called Mama Adamu. The diary was to be given to Abiba once she turned fourteen.

Sayibu Mba was well-known for his money throughout the village of Saga. He likes to show off his wealth and also known for getting married to young beautiful girls.

Sayibu was married to four wives.

  • Mama Adamu
  • A second wife: A name was not given in the story
  • Safia
  • Amina (Abiba’sMother)

Note: Sayibu was therefore the father of Abiba.

Even though people thought Amina was happy to marry a man like Sayibu Mba, she was an unhappy bride.

Sayibu’s third wife, Safia, was initially blamed for the death of Amina because of the constant fights between those two (Safia and Amina).

Because of this, the family members failed to know the true cause of Amina’s death.

According to the post-mortem results Amina died because of the immaturity of her reproductive organs.

The family rather blamed her death on destiny. They said that, “It was Amina’s destiny to die young” after consulting their gods.

Mama Adamu loved and treated Abiba like her own daughter. Abiba in turn loved Mama Adamu and wished she was her mother.

Just as the diary had predicted, Abiba at the age of fourteen was to be given away for marriage.

Abiba was depressed because she had no idea about the identity and character of her husband-to-be. Rumours were that he was stingy and a loafer.

Mr. Ambrose Yakubu who was the headmaster of the school Abiba attended hated the idea of teenage marriages. Her daughter, Jamila, was also a good friend of Abiba.

When they found out about Abiba’s situation, they promised to save her with the help of the police and officers from the Social Welfare Department.

Abiba had accepted her fate when the marriage rites were performed. She was to be taken to her husband’s house finally.

Suddenly, there was a hot argument outside in the yard. When she saw Jamila, Ambrose Yakubu and a number of people having a serious conversation outside, she had the courage to run for her life!

Themes in the Story

  • The negative effects of teenage marriages and it’s impact on young girls: Amina was forced into an unwanted marriage which took her life in the end.
  • The need to fight against the wrongs of society: Mr. Ambrose Yakubu and her daughter Jamila set a good example by fighting for the helpless Abiba.
  • Sometimes the rich and powerful get away with doing the wrong thing: Because of money and influence, Sayibu Mba was allowed to marry young girls fit to be his daughters without any resistance.

1. Abiba: Amina’s daughter.

2. Amina: 4th wife of Sayibu.

3. Mama Adamu: 1st wife of Sayibu.

4. Safia: 3rd wife of Sayibu.

5. Sayibu’s Uncle : Oldest member in Sayibu’s family.

6. Yaro: Amina’s father.

7. Yareba: Amina’s mother.

8. Moses, Salisu, Thomas, Nurudeen and Yusif: Amina’s siblings.

9. Ambrose Yakubu: Headteacher of Abi’s primary school.

10. Jamila: Abiba’s friend and daughter of Ambrose Yakubu.


  • Pity; pity for the young exuberant girl.


  • Could she even call the fourth marriage of the wealthy Sayibu news?
  • “Will this work?” she asked


  • I just wish that everybody would stop staring at me, as though I have suddenly grown two heads….
  • She loved Amina like the sister she never had.
  • …a husband as intolerable as Sayibu.
  • …accept her destiny like a stoic.
  • …his bark was worse than his bite..


  • It was almost dramatic to watch the young happy brides deteriorate with the speed of light……
  • ……she carried older troubles of her whole world on my shoulders


  • Sayibu never did things half-heartedly.
  • Now, Abiba brought back fond memories……
  • ….Abi to go to her husband’s house.


  • Masculine Beauty


  • She dashed out but Jamila and her group…..

1. Who was Mama Adamu to Sayibu Mba and why is she important in the story?

2. What gift did Mama Adamu give to Abiba when she reached the age of fourteen and how helpful was that gift?

3. Explain the circumstances that led to Amina becoming so unhappy in her marriage life.

4. What is the true reason why Amina died during childbirth? Why did they blame Safia for Amina’s death?

5. What literary device is in the following sentence?: “I just wish that everyone would stop staring at me as though I’ve got two heads.”

6. Sayibu Mba was well-known throughout Saga and beyond. What made him well-known?

7. What was the rumour going round about Abiba’s future husband?

8. What is the meaning of the statement, “his bark is worse than his bite?”

9. Who were Mr. Ambrose Yakubu and Jamila? What were their roles in the story?

10. Why did the writer title the story “Ripples?”

11. What is the theme of the story?

Please share your thoughts and comments on the story below. Thanks for reading!


George is interested in self-education, knowledge building and self expression through writing!

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Brew

    “A husband as intolerable as “sayibu is an example of

    1. George

      @Brew, that is an example of a simile.

  2. Brew

    The setting of the conversation with city woman

    1. George

      @Brew, could you make the question clearer?


    What happened after the chase

    1. George

      @Armah, please did you mean after the case?