THE FEMALE PROTAGONIST AS NATION-BUILDER IN CHINUA ACHEBE’S ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH

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ABSTRACT

Post-independent African nations have always floundered and are still floundering as a result of rudderless leadership – a phenomenon Chinua Achebe is always critical of in his works. The floundering of post-independent African nations is an offshoot of the failure of devoted engagement of the task of nation-building by post-independent African leaders, thus bringing in its trail tremors, corruption, poverty, oppression, exploitation, dictatorship and underdevelopment. Characteristically, in his allusive and suggestive language which challenges the reader to make discovery through self-examination and reflective thinking, Achebe beams light on the flawed approach to nation-building by post-independent African nations coupled with a panacea in ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH. Towards a stable and developed post-independent African nation (typified by Kangan) using the post-colonial theory in the textual analysis and explication of Chinua Achebe’s ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH, this research sees Beatrice the female protagonist who has moral, intellectual and mythical capabilities as a nation-builder equipped to develop and defend the post-colonial identity and dignity, reverse the downward developmental trend and arrest the progressive degeneration in the task of nation-building in post-independent African nations. Much as this research awakens Africans to the right course in nation-building, it also challenges the hasty pathological tendency towards feminization of Chinua Achebe’s ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH  in critical perspectives.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Abstract
Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction
1.1       The Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Purpose of the Study
1.4       The Scope of the Study

Chapter Two: Literature Review
2.1       Concept of Nation-Building
2.2       Review of Related Literature

Chapter Three: Theoretical Framework and Methodology
3.1       Post-Colonialism
3.2       Methodology

Chapter Four: Nation-Building in ANTHILLS OF THE  SAVANNAH
4.1       Beatrice Nwanyibuife Okoh’s Involvement in Nation-Building
4.2       Intervention in Chris and Ikem’s Disagreement and the Visit to the Presidential Retreat
4.3       The Women, Beatrice and Nation-Building

Chapter Five: Summary/Conclusion
5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusion
            Works Cited


CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION


1.1      The Background of the Study

Chinua Achebe as a writer sees tensions, dislocations, failures, conflicts, aberrations, developments and achievements in his society as the focal point of his artistic vision. Anthills of the Savannah is an embodiment of this awareness as the novel revolves around the crumbling hopes of nation-building in a post-independent African country. A portrait of the developments in his society appears to be the fundamental concern of Chinua Achebe when he says:

It is clear to me that an African creative writer who tries to avoid the big social and political issues of contemporary Africa will end up being completely irrelevant- like the absurd man in the proverb who leaves his burning house to pursue a rat fleeing from the flames (Morning Yet on Creation Day, 78-84.)


Clearly located in the creative works of Achebe is the awareness that the dearth of functional, patriotic, responsible and intelligent leadership is the bane of post-independent African countries. He has always alerted his readers to the dangers of a leadership solely governed by obsession to mismanage available resources with selfish intent, crudely deriving nourishment from the existing social anomalies and creating false impressions of being patriotic in the eyes of the people – a phenomenon that characterizes leadership in Nigeria, but which by extension, parallels leadership in post-independent African countries. In the words of Achebe who sees such nations with pretentious leadership as doomed:

   there will always be some people whose personal, selfish interests are, in the short term at least, well served by the mismanagement and the social inequities. Naturally they will be extremely loud in their adulations of the country and its system, and will be anxious to pass themselves off as patriots and to vilify those who disagree with them as trouble-makers or even traitors. But doomed is the nation which permits such people… (The Trouble with Nigeria, 16)

Coincidentally the above description of visionless leaders parading themselves in the guise of patriots parallels General Sam in Anthills of the Savannah who sees and persecutes Chris Oriko and Ikem Osodi as traitors.
Achebe believes in the potency and the indispensability of story. A story has a transformational power as it embodies the successes and failures of any generation. It is the story which has the capacity to clear a progressive path for any generation. A generation deprived of a story parallels a people without a pair of compass or direction: such a generation is doomed and lost. The story as the hope for tomorrow forms the escort for people in every generation. This awareness informs Achebe’s conviction.....


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