Here’s a conversation between Manuel–the protagonist of the novel– and Annaise in Masters of the Dew (MOD).
Manuel: “‘You see the color of the plain,’ he began ‘It looks like straw at the mouth of a flaming furnace. The harvest has perished. There’s no more hope. How are you going to live? It would be a miracle of you did live—but then it would only be to die a slow death. And what have you done to prevent it? One thing only. Cried about your misfortune to the loas, offered ceremonies so that they’d make the rain fall. But all that’s just so much sill monkeyshines. That doesn’t count! It’s useless, and it’s wasting time” (87).
Annaise: “’Then what does count, Manuel? And aren’t you afraid of offending our old gods of Guinea?”
Manuel: “No, I respect the customs of the old folks, but the blood of a rooster or a young goat can’t make the seasons change, or alter the course of the clouds and fill them with water like bladders” (87).
Manuel continues to tell Annaise why he participated in the recent Vodou ceremony and danced to the sacred Yanavalou dance. He denies any attachment with the religion
Manuel: “The other night, at the Legba ceremonies, I danced and sang to my heart’s content. I’m Negro, no? And I enjoyed myself like a real Negro. When the drums beat, I feel it in the pit of my stomach. I feel an itch in my loins and an electric current in my legs, and I’ve got to join the dance. But that’s all there is to it for me” (87-88).
Below I report what happened to Manuel at the Vodou ceremony:
Narrator: “Manuel let himself go in the upsurge of the dance, but a strange sadness crept into his soul. He caught his mother’s eye and thought he saw tears shining there” (71).