Armah uses symbolism effectively in this novel. The characters in the novel are used as symbols to bring out Armah’s themes and ideas.
The man is used as a symbol of hope. Although the man is alone there is still hope. There is still hope for Ghana to change from the rot and filth to uprightness. The man withstands all temptations from ‘the teeth’ or teacher his wife Oyo. He represents a moral upright Ghana the author uses him to portray his ideal type of Ghana i.e. an honest, enduring and morally upright Ghana. He is rejected by his colleagues because he is honest. He is placed in the category of fools and cowards. Such virtue is not needed in this present day society of Ghana. Despite all the taunts he still stands tall.