Nighttime gives people an excuse to become risky. In Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s novel, Tram 83, workers, prostitutes and tourists come out of their hiding places to pursue the lavish, inappropriate setting of the tram. Because it is the only entertainment club in central Africa, Tram 83 offers plenty of sketchy and wild opportunities for those who attend. Mujila uses the image of night to illustrate the steps some must take in surviving and how the darkness entails manipulation among human nature.
The City-State the tram resides in is a mining town, where most of the male workforce consisted of miners. After mining all day, they were desperate to escape the lives they had lived hours earlier, and the fact that they will never resort to any job better than that. This type of human condition can result in careless and unbecoming behavior. Those workers that appeared at night, “knew the plot, the prosody of events, the convulsion of circumstances, the gloomy processions toward the unknown,” (Kindle Loc 2505). They used the naughty and improper environment of Tram 83 to numb their troubles away. Most looked at prostitutes, alcohol, music, and violent actions as an escape from the poverty of their lives. The night allowed them to avoid their problems.
By 10 pm, Tram 83 is filled with those whom live to drown their lives in temporary pleasures. Nighttime became a “symbol of society in perfect harmony, intermixed, intermingled…forced infatuations and premature ejaculations” (Kindle Loc 830). The darkness allowed society to accept cheaters having sex in the bathroom with underage women, because everyone knew that when the sun came up, none of it would matter. The money given to tips of those who could give minute pleasures was not wasted in their eyes, because all people wanted was to forget the tragedy of the present.
Nighttime legalized sex, scandal and any ways of survival. Human nature will do anything when it’s desperate. How does one survive nights like these? Read this novel to find out.