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A DEPICTION OF THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’SHALF OF A YELLOW SUN

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A DEPICTION OF THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’SHALF OF A YELLOW SUN

 

ABSTRACT

This research has set out to capture the portrayal of the Nigerian Civil War in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sunby bringing out the episodes and scenes that defined the war. This is evident in the experiences of the characters in the face of war which is captured through their fears, pains and reactions as well as how it shaped their responses and eventual personalities. The research beams its search light on the central characters as they are representative microcosm of the larger Nigerian masses that fell prey to the greed and brutality of the tussle for supremacy. Incidences that point to this fact are adequately outlined. The Nigerian civil war though not a product of imagination, is crafted in the genre of fiction so as to accommodate certain issues that are relevant today, still retaining its authenticity as a historical war fiction novel that expounds on the history of the nation Nigeria. The theme of war is the trunk that grows to accommodate a lot of issues that are central to the post colonial consciousness and the challenges that are being battled with even today. From the study, it is obvious that poor conflict management can quickly degenerate to regrettable consequences.

 

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0    Background to the Study

Nigeria as a nation came into existence after the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectoratesin 1914 by the British administration headed in Nigeria by Lord Lugard. This was primarily because of their economic interest, and Nigeria, having a vast territory afforded them the opportunity to loot as much as they wanted.The British had earlier settled in the south and established schools, churches etc. The Yoruba’swere educated home and abroad, and had gotten used to the ways of the colonialists. The north however, posed a greater challenge to the British because they saw the British as bringing a new culture and religion; since they had embraced Islam centuries earlier. As a result, the influence of the new culture could not penetrate easily to the north as it did in the south.

Subsequently,Nigeria gained independence from Britain and inherited a country that was torn along ethnic, cultural and religious lines which was deliberately orchestrated. The northerners felt the British had given them the torch to lead the new nation into the promise land. The south on the other hand believed they were more equipped mentally and educationally to steer the affairs of the newly birthed nation. The tussle for whom to rule gave birth to coups and counter coups which finally hatched a full blown civil war.Odenigbo asserts to the fact that “the only authentic identity for the African is the tribe”(33).Indeed, this created and became a viable weapon in the hands of the colonialists to orchestrate a division that became rife with hatred. Thus, the amalgamationfavoured the British but worked against the country generally because of the divergent tribes and ideologies which could not coexist as a single entity.

Because of the topic under scrutiny, it is essential to relay the brief history as well as thereasons that precipitated the war. The Nigerian civil war was a reality that hit the emerging Nigerian nation from 1967-1970. The three year war brought a lot of catastrophe to a fledglingnation that had just been granted independence. Due to intense population growth and the shortage of work in the east, the Igbo’s started migrating to the northern part of the country that was not too open to the British influence. Job opportunities abounded, and the land provided a fertile footing for those that wanted to veer into agricultural production. Thus, the Igbo’s flourished in trade and business generally.

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