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By Neil McEwan (auth.)

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Additional resources for Africa and the Novel

Sample text

His decision over the land was not affected by respect for the impartiality of British justice but by conflicts within changing lbo society. Ezeulu, the arrow of his god Ulu who was created to unite the six villages of Umuaro, is opposed by the priest of an older god, Idemili, and by Nwaka, a powerful villager. When he refuses Wintabota's offer of Paramount Chiefship, Ezeulu is jailed; he takes advantage of the interruption to monthly ritual to delay the planting season in a bid to uphold the power of Ulu.

The last sixty years are always in view to the author of Things Fall A part, and the title is misleading in so far as it suggests finality, rather than Yeats's fears for the whole modern world in trouble. The novel is misrepresented when it is explained as an elegy or an imaginative excavation of a lost world. It is of course a tribute to the dignity of the people and their ancestors, but also a critical appraisal of the drastic changes of Eastern Nigeria in recent history, of the subsequent transition from village community to nation state which has not yet been brought about at the end of the story, but which is contemplated on every page.

The birds reclaim their feathers and arrange for him to fall to earth on the 'hard things' from his home, hoes, machetes, spears. His shell is smashed but repaired imperfectly by a great medicine-man. 'There is no song in the story', Ezinma objects. The story is skilfully told and the skill belongs to Ekwefi, to her mother, and her mother's mother. In the second part of the chapter, where Ezinma is taken by the priestess to the Oracle of Hills and Caves, events are presented through the terrified mind of Ekwefi who follows them through the spirithaunted night, sustained by her love of Ezinma; the skill here is a novelist's, and so is that which combines the domestic intimacy of the children's tale with the awful exposure to night and the power of the goddess.

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