Persecution in Igbo-Nigerian Civil-War Narratives

in Matatu
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Abstract

Sociopolitical phenomena such as corruption, political instability, (domestic) violence, cultural fragmentation, and the Nigerian Civil War (1967–1970) have been central themes of Nigerian narratives. Important as these are, they tend to touch on the periphery of the major issue at stake, which is the vector of persecution underlying the Nigerian tradition in general and in modern Igbo Nigerian narratives in particular, novels and short stories written in English which capture, wholly or in part, the Igbo cosmology and experience in their discursive formations. The present study of such modern Igbo Nigerian narratives as Okpewho’s The Last Duty (1976), Iyayi’s Heroes (1986), Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), and other novels and short stories applies René Girard’s theory of the pharmakos (Greek for scapegoat) to this background of persecution, particularly as it subtends the condition of the Igbo in postcolonial Nigeria in the early years of independence.

Matatu

Journal for African Culture and Society

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