PROJECT TOPIC: The Female Protagonist as Nation-builder in Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah

Project Body:

Chapter One


1.1    The Background of the Study

Chinua Achebe as a writer sees tensions, dislocations, failures, conflicts, aberrations, developments and achievements in his society as the focal point of his artistic vision. Anthills of the Savannah is an embodiment of this awareness as the novel revolves around the crumbling hopes of nation-building in a post-independent African country. A portrait of the developments in his society appears to be the fundamental concern of Chinua Achebe when he says:

It is clear to me that an African creative writer who tries to avoid the big social and political issues of contemporary Africa will end up being completely irrelevant- like the absurd man in the proverb who leaves his burning house to pursue a rat fleeing from the flames (Morning Yet on Creation Day, 78-84.)

Clearly located in the creative works of Achebe is the awareness that the dearth of functional, patriotic, responsible and intelligent leadership is the bane of post-independent African countries.  He has always alerted his readers to the dangers of a leadership solely governed by obsession to mismanage available resources with selfish intent, crudely deriving nourishment from the existing social anomalies and creating false impressions of being patriotic in the eyes of the people – a phenomenon that characterizes leadership in Nigeria, but which by extension, parallels leadership in post-independent African countries. In the words of Achebe who sees such nations with pretentious leadership as doomed:

… there will always be some people whose personal, selfish  interests are, in the short term at least,  well served by the mismanagement and the social inequities. Naturally they will be extremely loud in their adulations of the country and its system, and will be anxious to pass themselves off as patriots and to vilify those who disagree with them as trouble-makers or even traitors. But doomed is the nation which permits such people… (The Trouble with Nigeria, 16)

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