Themes in The Life Changer by Khadija Abubakar Jalli

Every book has its own subject matter or theme. In the same way, The Life Changer by Khadija Abubakar Jalli also has its own themes.

Another name for “theme” in a book is “subject matter“. So, we shall be using the two terms interchangeably.

Theme in a book simply means ideas conveyed in a book. A book could  talk about so many things. But there must be a particular message (subject matter) which it tries to convey. Let me briefly differentiate between theme and subject matter. They have slight difference.

Subject matter is the title of a book. It will always remain the same. While theme refers to ideas conveyed by the author as he writes. An author conveys so many messages in the course of his writing even though he really means to convey a message relating to the title of his book.

So, from the brief explanation in the paragraph above, the subject matter in the JAMB novel is “The Life Changer” or we can simply say “University as The Life Changer” as first mentioned by Ummi in chapter 1.

What are the themes in The Life Changer by Khadija Abubakar? In this post I shall answer this question. Keep reading!


All you Need to Know About The Life Changer

The Life Changer Summary, Likely Questions and Answers

JAMB Past Questions and Answers

Names of Characters and Roles in The Life Changer

Themes in The Life Changer – JAMB Novel

Themes in The Life Changer

These are the themes in The Life Changer.

Bad influence and its effects

Bad influence and its effects as a theme is quite evident in Khadija Abubakar’s work. This could be seen in light of Talle and Zaki. Talle was described as the quiet one. He has qualities of a good person. In fact, one could vouch for him just to prove how innocent he is in the village.

However, a little contact with Zaki, a thug, changed his life and personality. Zaki was hired by Habib to Kidnap Alhaji Adamu’s son. Zaki tells Talle about it and suggests he joins the operation as it will usher in huge amount of money to their hands. Talle joins the operation.

His involvement in the operation lures him in to problem as the Police arrested him for abduction.

Hope and Redemption in the life of students

The novel itself, The Life Changer, solemnly talks about the hope and redemption of students. The narrator uses Salma as the protagonist to portray this theme.

Salma, despite her misfortunes, still turned a new live. She finally becomes a friend of Ummi as Ummi finds out she has actually changed for good. There is hope for everyone especially students to survive but it is in the hands of the students to make it “a dream come true”.

The upbringing of children by parents

Good parenthood is one of the predominant themes in the novel. Bad parenthood and its comeback is also evident in it.

Ummi represents good parenthood while Salma’s parents represents bad parenthood. The way a child behaves outside the home defines the kind of parents he/she lives under.

First, we see that Ummi was a good student in school. That was why she does not associate with Salma while she (Salma) portrays her bad attitude in school. She finally allows herself to associate with Salma when Salma turned a new live.

Ummi also grows to be a good mother who has the ability to organize her children peacefully to tell them stories so that they will learn. She knows the need to tell her children about her past experiences so that they will learn to go the right path.

On the other hand, Salma’s behavior is likely to be traced to her background. Her relationship with her parents was not really mentioned in the book but from her behavior one could say “Salma doesn’t have good home training“. However, she learns the hard way.


Pride is also one of the predominant themes in The Life Changer by Khadija Abubakar Jalli. Khadija uses Salma to convey the message of pride and its effects.

First, pride makes Salma to describe the University lecturers as corrupt people who can accept as little amount as 2,000 Naira or 3,000 Naira as bribe. As she talks, she doesn’t know that the young man with whom she discussed is also a lecturer in the University..

Moreso, pride makes her lose an intended relationship with Habib. She purposely turns down Habib’s proposal to date her just because she wants to be respected by other high school girls for rejecting the proposal of a rich honorable. She becomes jealous as Tomiwa, her roommate, starts to date Habib.

University as The Life Changer

This is the major theme in The Life Changer by Khadija Abubakar Jalli. She uses the voice of Ummi to tell how the university can change the life of a person.

This theme actually prompted Ummi to start telling her children stories. She tries to explain how the University changed some people’s lives from bad to good and from good to bad.

Ummi presents Salma’s university life when she first came for registration and how she changed along the line. Salma believes that the University is a place of absolute freedom. Yes, it is. But she fails to understand that absolute freedom can lure her into making undesirable decisions.

Final Words – Subject matter in The Life Changer

Khadija Abubakar Jalli’s work has so many things to discuss. As you read, try to pinpoint those subject matters. Do well to drop your contribution in the comment box below.

To get more themes, you can read the full novel. You can also draw more themes by reading the lessons from the book.

SEE ALSO: List of Undergraduate Scholarships for Nigerian Students

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