This paper analyses the language used in the portrayal of the characters of Chinua Achebe’s novels. This is the language used by the characters in discourse, and the narrators in the novels. The study reveals that the protagonists start off as heroes and eventually end up as antiheroes on account of high-handedness, dishonesty, corruption, violence, sexual promiscuity, ill temperament, vindictiveness, and murder. The study applies the theory of deconstruction in the assessment of the characters and reveals that the protagonists are antiheroes rather than heroes: Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart (1958), Obi Okonkwo in No Longer at Ease (1960), Ezeulu in Arrow of God (1964), Odili Samalu in A Man of the People (1966), and Sam in Anthills of the Savannah (1988). In deconstructing the protagonists, the five primary texts are read the first time and they reveal the protagonists as heroes. This first reading forms the basis for the second deconstructive “critical reading” which unveils the heroes as antiheroes. The publications and the themes of the novels of Achebe span over pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Nigeria. Subsequently, the paper concludes that as antiheroes, the protagonists are barbaric and are not good exemplary African leaders. The characters therefore present the novels they appear in as colonialist, rather than anti-colonialist literature. This paper therefore recommends that Achebe’s novels should be seen as colonialist literature.
FROM INGNORANCE TO EXPERIENCE: PROTAGONISTS OF DYNAMISM IN FESTUS IYAYI’S VIOLENCE AND HEROES (Published)
This paper foregrounds the notion of dynamic protagonist in Festus Iyayi’s two novels. Idemudia and Iyere are seen as protagonists of dynamism whose volte-face as the plots unfold is orchestrated by their new experience, knowledge and maturity. Idemudia who starts off as an idealist with rose tinted spectacles fashioned from the mill of inexperience later becomes a life-beaten but introspective realist who has come to appreciate that life’s sacrifices come in different forms. Similarly, Osime Iyere who initially sees humanity in the federal troops and undiluted savagery on the Biafran side during the civil war later comes to see the two sides in the war as nothing but murderers and rapists of defenceless civilians. His contention, therefore, is that the war is actually a huge conspiracy of the blood-sucking bourgeoisie on both sides against the masses in general who can only be saved by a neutral third army with membership from both sides. In conclusion, the paper states that by artistically placing the two protagonists in the two novels where their experiences invest them with the correct education toward combating the oppressive alienating disorder in the society Iyayi’s thesis is clear: the masses must be correctly educated about the nature of the society in order to wage a meaningful war against its crushing lopsidedness.