This dissertation is a study of the influence of the Supernatural in Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine and The Great Ponds- an x- ray of men and women living in a universe teeming with God, gods, goddesses, spirits, deities, the transcendentals and natural phenomena like sacred animals, birds, hills, and rivers. They all share in the attributes of the supernatural. Unfortunately, man’s vaunted ambition to satiate his quest for the best of everything has always run counter to the dictates of the supernatural, leading as it were, to untold hardships, deaths, and total loss of the gleam. The novels leave us with an enduring lesson that the gods are inscrutable and have a hand in all affairs of the human world. The study reveals that man’s destiny and affairs or existential struggles is dictated and controlled by the supernatural. Furthermore, the study portrays that man is a pawn in the hands of the supernatural. However, man’s conscious effort to counteract his destiny often result in tragedy as exemplified in the novel under study. The theory of myth was adopted to investigate the influence of the supernatural in the affairs of the characters in the two novels as no other literary theory explains the mystery of life and death.

Title page
Table of contents

1.1       Introduction
1.2       Background of the Study
1.3       Statement of the Problem
1.4       Objectives of the Study
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.7       Methodology

2.0       Review of Related Literature

3.1       Theoretical Framework
3.2       Myth in Society
3.3       The Supernatural In Igbo Cosmology

4.1       The Supernatural in Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine
4.2       The Supernatural in Elechi Amadi’s The Great Ponds

5.1       Summary / Conclusion
5.3       Works Cited


The idea of the supernatural exists in every traditional society all over the world. The ancient Greeks saw man as being a victim of the supernatural. It is however in the oral tradition that the supernatural has its strongest hold. Geoffrey Parrinder in his text African Traditional Religion says; “To Africans, the spiritual world is so real and near, its forces intertwining and inspiring the visible world that, whether pagan or Christian, man has to reckon with things invisible to mortal sight”(10). Thus, the supernatural occupy an immense position in the minds of the Igbo society as in Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine and The Great Ponds.

In the traditional society, some animals are treated with reverence and some birds are regarded as ominous. When a particular stream or wooded landscape is found unique, it is a supernatural manifestation. These unique places are seen as the abodes of communal deities or local spirits identifiable with the destiny of the different communities. All these establish that beyond nature, there are the supernatural.


The Igbo are a group of people whose culture and tradition mean a lot in their lives. They occupy a territory known as Eastern Nigeria which is made up of five major states namely: Abia, Imo, Enugu, Anambra, and Ebonyi states. Certain Igbo communities though in scattered formations could also be found in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, and Kogi states of Nigeria.

The culture and tradition of the Igbo are guarded by a number of beliefs associated with the supernatural. The supernatural are God, gods, goddesses, deities, forces or powers that cannot be explained by the laws of science or be easily comprehended. It is these supernatural who influence activities in traditional societies.
Man has been dependent on “assumed” higher authority, power or god who he believes knows and controls his affairs throughout his life time on earth. Despite the worthwhile advances made by science and technology to better his lot and understand his environment, it is surprising that:
He is still deplorably ignorant and the universe is largely a mystery to him. He does not understand the nature of space and time; he does not know what matter is made of, if indeed it is made of anything. Above all he does not understand himself (Amadi 1).

From the above quotation, it is obvious that man is a stranger even to himself. This is why he is dependent on the supernatural in order to find answers to things he cannot explain and this in turn leads him into worship and reverence for those supernatural beings whose understanding eludes him. Therefore, man’s dependence on the supernatural is very important for his survival in a world he does not understand. Part of this dependence is in the culture and tradition of the Igbo people whose belief in the ancestors and gods affects their lives and mode of living even in written texts. Thus,
The African writer who really wants to interprete the African scene has to write in three dimensions at once. There is the private life, the social life and what you may call the supernatural (Amadi 7).

It means that, the private, social and most importantly the supernatural life of the Igbo will be explored if indeed they must write. The characters whose lives we will explore from Amadi’s novels in the course of this work have been portrayed with that human frailty, weakness and imperfect nature of men who have eyes but could not see and ears but could not hear. That is to say that at one point or the other, humans are confronted with forces and circumstances beyond their control.....

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