the capitol building where he worked. His experiences help him realize that Beatrice was right about his alienation from his own people, and as he reaches into the deep reservoirs of his own culture, he finds that he is on a journey of self – discovery.
Chris finally asserts himself when Sam orders him to fire Ikem, thus beginning a harrowing series of events. Fleeing for his life, Chris comes into contact with the people and begins to understand his country better. Chris is killed trying to save a girl from being raped at a chaotic party, and his last words are, “The last green.”(Anthills – 139)
The elder from Abazon speaks at length about the important and lasting role of the storyteller. He argues that in his youth he would have said that the battle was most important, but now that he is older and wiser, he understands that the story is more powerful. Through stories, a community can retain its sense of history and tradition and seek guidance for the future. He explains, “Because it is only the story that can continue story is our escort; without it, we are blind.” (Anthills – 75) Later, as Ikem addresses a group of students, he expresses his belief that the role of the writer is to ask questions, not to propose solutions. The power of writing is shown after Ikem is taken away in the dark of night and killed. To get the truth about the event into public awareness, Chris uses his contacts within the international press as a means of informing the world about what happened to Ikem.
Even before Europeans arrived during the colonial period, Achebe’s native Nigeria was a male dominated society. Ikem explains to Beatrice that their culture initially regarded women as lowly and unworthy of respect and then elevated them to a pedestal, where they could remain beautiful and admired but inconsequential.
Anthills of the Savannah is often noted for portraying strong, believable female characters. In the midst of political strife and injustice, the women maintain a connection with their heritage and culture, and stand for moral strength and sensitivity. Ikem converses with Beatrice about his newfound respect for the position and relevance of women in contemporary society. He explains that women are the most oppressed group of people worldwide and that they must be respected as important to the future of a nation.
Achebe’s one of the most fully developed female characters is beatrice. She works for Sam and is an old friend of Ikem’s, so through her connections to Chris, Ikem, and Sam, she plays a significant role in the action of the novel. She was the fifth daughter to her parents in her family. Her father had been hoping for a son, so she was named Nwanyibuife, which means A female is also something (Anthills – 52) As an adult, Beatrice is well educated, having earned a degree with honors in English from the University of London, and she holds an important civil service position as an administrator in a state office. She also enjoys writing short fiction, which Ikem reads and admires for its muscularity and masculine (Anthills – 54) qualities. Beatrice is characterized by superiority, cleverness, and liberty, but she is also accustomed to the ordinary people on an instinctive level. Never having intended on a career in the administration, she is very troubled by accusations that she is ruthless. In reality, she desires what she has desired since childhood to be left alone in her peaceful solitude and not attract any attention. Achebe places her firmly in the mythic tradition of the people, making her a sort of manifestation of Idemili, a goddess sent to man to oversee morality. Although Beatrice is unaware of the myths regarding this goddess, she grows into a woman possessed with wisdom, self-knowledge, and compassion as she connects with the culture of her land.
The novel also contains a female trinity in the characters of Beatrice, Elewa, and Amaechina. Elewa is a highly emotional and uneducated women. She where it should sit. . .You gather in this. . .house and give the girl a boy’s name. . .That is how to handle the world! (Anthills – 136)
The women signify the refusal to let go of the traditions so critical to their culture and in doing so they honor their heritage and maintain a meaningful link to the spirit of the people. Beatrice is the novel’s single most spiritual character. Achebe identifies her strongly with the goddess Idemili, who was sent to Earth by the Almighty to moderate Power. When the Almighty saw how Power was raging across the Earth, he decided to send Idemili. On the night Ikem visits Beatrice and they discuss his newfound respect for the important role women should be given in society, Ikem tells her that it was not raining at his house but that when he started out to see her, it was literally like barging into a pillar of rain (Anthills – 56) a clear reference to the goddess.
In another scene, Beatrice is summoned to the palace for a dinner. As the evening progresses, she notices that an American reporter is becoming overly familiar and suggestive with Sam. Although Beatrice is not an admirer of Sam’s, she is a patriot to her country and cannot stand to see its leader the object of such shameless overtures by a foreigner. In order to avert his attention, she throws herself at him, dancing with him like the dancer in a Hindu temple. (Anthills – 48) Once Sam is fully aroused and no longer thinking of the reporter, Beatrice leads him outside and explains her actions to him. Sam calls her a racist and sends her home immediately.
Beatrice is much more than an everyday government employee or citizen of Kangan. Achebe’s Beatrice grow into the completeness of her individuality; she get your hands on wisdom and a company that information high opinion. Her experiences have shown her that the real strength of her people is in their unity and enduring spirit because these are not crushed, even when the land is ravaged by political instability and social upheaval.
Chris avers with a sense of pride: We are all connected. Ikem may resent me but he probably resents Sam even more and Sam resents both of us most vehemently. We are too close in somebody’s company. (Anthills – 39) This statement by Chris, who knows Sam for over twenty years, is expressive of the resentment against one another because of the power – nexus between them. Beatrice retorts to say: all three of you, are incredibly conceited.
Power – game in the novel becomes synonymous with circus. Just as the wild animals are tamed into submission in a circus – show, people involved in power – game are sought to be rendered ineffectual and impotent by power-equations all along the line. That is why Sams Cabinet is likened to people you put away in a wooden locker (Anthills – 33) where in people are equated with things without a voice or a soul of their own. The worst part of it is that the people themselves are also sought to be domesticated so as to render them pliable and docile. A major weakness with Sam is his sense of insecurity. Chris wonders why the army leader armed to the teeth should feel nervous and jittery at the sight of even a small group of people who keep visiting the big boss for favours of many kinds. It is only natural since the boss holds both the yam and the knife. (Anthills – 77)
Anthills of the Savannah is cast adjacent to the environment of a delegation comprising six elders from Abazon who land at the Presidential Palace unannounced wanting to invite Sam to their province to atone for their opposition to him when he sought to install himself as the President for Life through a Referendum. They are also prompted by a compelling need to seek remedy for the drought which hit them hard. Incidentally, of the four provinces, Abazon alone voted against Sam in the Referendum for the Life Presidency. Prof. Okongs account of the outcome of the Referendum is the very acme of grovelling sycophancy.
Achebe, thus, exposes the farthest limits of sycophancy and hypocrisy of those who surround the farthest limits of sycophancy and hypocrisy of those who surround the boss in any system or institution. Academic institutions and bodies are no exception. They keep parroting: Boss is always right. He can never be wrong. Such bunch of time – serves pose a potential threat to the very image of the boss (the boss seldom has a good image anyway) and his administration. The worst part of it is the boss is never allowed to have access to the truth which always gets distorted and biased to suit the immediate and long-range needs of the boot – lickers.
Achebe decries the damned image of woman as depicted in the Bible, Eve in particular, in terms of a Temptress and as one responsible for the fall. This image of woman with minor variations seems to be a familiar feature in many a holy scripture representing different religions. Manus version of woman needing to be protected all along her life from girlhood to old age under the care of a father, a husband and a son at different stages of her existence is hardly conducive for the proper growth of a womans personality. The system of polygamy legitimized by the tradition in Africa and the Islamic belief and law reduce woman to a child – bearing machine.