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Achebe is building dramatic tension He moves from safe house to safe Essay

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Paper type: Essay

Achebe is building dramatic tension. He moves from safe house to safe house, attempting to evade the police. The final words in the chapter are prophetic, to succeed as small man not be small thing. While Oriko is at ease acting within the capacity of a government official, he finds it difficult to behave as a common man, and it is this inability to remain inconspicuous which partly leads to his death. As central as the oral tradition is to African cultures, the widespread use of the printed word, radio, and television threatens to render this important tradition obsolete. With Anthills of the Savannah Achebe offers a story of the people told by the people (by using multiple viewpoints) and emphasizes the central role of the storyteller in African society. This message comes from various sources, ranging from the village elder of Abazon to the erudite and well – educated Ikem. Achebe reconciles the tension between the oral tradition and the printed word, demonstrating that one does not have to yield to the other as both make worthy contributions to contemporary African society.

This is the concluding chapter of the book. It employs the literary technique known as denouement, literally, the untying of the action or plot. Achebe tells the reader that in the months since Oriko’s death, the President has been killed and the government has fallen. Ikem’s girlfriend, Elewa, has given birth to their child and Beatrice has resumed work. The birth of the child and the name that it has been given suggests that Achebe feels a sense of hope for Africa’s future; he is suggesting that peace and dependability may well be accomplish by the next age group.

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Anthills of the Savannah provides a entire view of the action of the novel by presenting multiple points of view. Achebe allows the reader to see the situation from the points of view of Ikem, Chris, and Beatrice, and also, in some passages, from that of a third person, omniscient narrator. This technique enables the reader to produce or make a judgments for him herself rather than relying on a narrator or a single character to supply imagery of people and events. This also is a way in which Achebe retains the part of his African literary legacy that focuses on the society rather than on the entity.

Achebe also draws our attention to the fact that the society can be a better place, if its citizens, whether in power or outside power work towards building it. In the novel the ordinary people are forced to act, they agitated, they cried, they fought, though the fight was a hopeless one. Till suddenly change came, from heaven knows where. It therefore tells us that to try is the best way to act even though what is before us is above us.

Achebe has done so well in his application of different techniques in his narrative. These skills are very rare and are sure to come from no other but from the best. Achebe is a man of letter, and has proven his worth not only in this novel but in his other novels. His techniques are not meant to draw admiration from his audience, but to enable proper understanding and interpretation of his novel. Thus his works are meant to lead his audience aright, rather than entertainment alone.

At the end of the novel, the naming ceremony takes place for Elewa’s infant girl. even though men conventionally name children, Beatrice does so in this case. In this scene, Achebe portrays women as the keepers of tradition, even if tradition must be altered to accommodate modern life. To further blur the lines between masculinity and femininity, the baby is given a boy’s name Amaechina which means “May the Path Never Close.” (Anthills – 132) This is brave not only because she has given a boy’s name to a girl, but also because the influence of naming by tradition belongs to a man. Amaechina is hope for the future, even though the future currently looks grim. Achebe’s portrayal of women in Anthills of the Savannah suggests that they are critical in the growth of new African societies. A work must portray the problems of a society, pains, feelings, in this novel Achebe beautifully portrays post – colonial and modern Africa and peoples’ problems, need. Achebe suggests something for the growth of his society.

The novel is an indictment of the rule by the army in the last quarter of the present century. The remedy turns out to be worse than the disease. The novel has a dramatic start with Samson, the dictator, in tantrums and chiding his Cabinet Ministers for lack of vigilance on their part about the security of the state. It opens with the military ruler of the African state of Kangan disdainfully treating his civilian Cabinet like children. Anthills of the Savannah has multiple protagonists and the story of the novel is sought to be told by means of a multiple narration. The real villain in Anthills is Power itself. Ikem, who seems to represent Achebe’s viewpoint in many respects, comments: “Those who would see no blot of villainy in the beloved oppressed nor grant the faintest glimmer of humanity to the hated oppressor are patriots and party-liners.” (Anthills – 60)

Man is an amalgamation of both good and evil in unequal proportions. The novel seeks to indict the right reactionaries as well as the left adventurists. Achebe seems to strike middle – kpath based on the Igbo – concept of duality in things, one thing balancing and correcting the other. He also focusses, on the significance and inevitability of contradictions governing and influencing events, and people. He observes: “Contradictions if well understood and managed can spark off the fires…the right or the left is the graveyard of creativity.” (Anthills – 60) A human being is neither wholly good, nor wholly bad, but a blend of the two. The potentialities for good and ill the contrary forces in man if well recognised and managed will instil creative energy for a suitable intermix in the making of a better individual and community.

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