Refugee mother and child essay


K J Thomas

Sent to the hospital for an appendectomy soon after, she was pleasantly surprised when Achebe visited her with gifts and magazines.


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Achebe and Okoli grew closer in the following years, and on 10 September they were married in the Chapel of Resurrection on the campus of the University of Ibadan. However, as their relationship matured, husband and wife made efforts to adapt to one another. Their first child, a daughter named Chinelo, was born on 11 July They had a son, Ikechukwu, on 3 December , and another boy named Chidi , on 24 May In , while they were still dating, Achebe dedicated to Christie Okoli his second novel, No Longer at Ease , about a civil servant who is embroiled in the corruption of Lagos.

Obi is trapped between the expectations of his family, its clan, his home village, and larger society. He is crushed by these forces like his grandfather before him and finds himself imprisoned for bribery. Having shown his acumen for portraying traditional Igbo culture , Achebe demonstrated in his second novel an ability to depict modern Nigerian life.

Later that year, Achebe was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship for six months of travel, which he called "the first important perk of my writing career"; [59] Achebe set out for a tour of East Africa. One month after Nigeria achieved its independence, he travelled to Kenya , where he was required to complete an immigration form by checking a box indicating his ethnicity: European , Asiatic , Arab , or Other.

Shocked and dismayed at being forced into an "Other" identity, he found the situation "almost funny" and took an extra form as a souvenir. Achebe also found in his travels that Swahili was gaining prominence as a major African language. Radio programs were broadcast in Swahili, and its use was widespread in the countries he visited.

Nevertheless, he also found an "apathy" among the people toward literature written in Swahili. In Northern Rhodesia now called Zambia , Achebe found himself sitting in a whites-only section of a bus to Victoria Falls. Interrogated by the ticket taker as to why he was sitting in the front, he replied, "if you must know I come from Nigeria , and there we sit where we like in the bus.

Refugee Mother and Child

He travelled to the United States and Brazil. Achebe worried that the vibrant literature of the nation would be lost if left untranslated into a more widely spoken language. One of his first duties was to help create the Voice of Nigeria network. The station broadcast its first transmission on New Year's Day , and worked to maintain an objective perspective during the turbulent era immediately following independence.

Achebe became saddened by the evidence of corruption and silencing of political opposition.

Commentary on Refugee mother and child by Chinua Achebe - WriteWork

He met with important literary figures from around the continent and the world, including Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor , Nigerian playwright and poet Wole Soyinka , and US poet-author Langston Hughes. Among the topics of discussion was an attempt to determine whether the term African literature ought to include work from the diaspora , or solely that writing composed by people living within the continent itself.

Achebe indicated that it was not "a very significant question", [70] and that scholars would do well to wait until a body of work were large enough to judge. Writing about the conference in several journals, Achebe hailed it as a milestone for the literature of Africa, and highlighted the importance of community among isolated voices on the continent and beyond. Impressed, he sent it to Alan Hill at Heinemann, which published it two years later to coincide with its paperback line of books from African writers.

Hill indicated this was to remedy a situation where British publishers "regarded West Africa only as a place where you sold books. Bristling against the commentary flooding his home country, Achebe published an essay entitled "Where Angels Fear to Tread" in the December issue of Nigeria Magazine.

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In it, he distinguished between the hostile critic entirely negative , the amazed critic entirely positive , and the conscious critic who seeks a balance. He lashed out at those who critiqued African writers from the outside, saying: "no man can understand another whose language he does not speak and 'language' here does not mean simply words, but a man's entire world view.

Achebe's third book, Arrow of God , was published in Like its predecessors, it explores the intersections of Igbo tradition and European Christianity. Set in the village of Umuaro at the start of the twentieth century, the novel tells the story of Ezeulu, a Chief Priest of Ulu. Shocked by the power of British intervention in the area, he orders his son to learn the foreigners' secret.

Ezeulu is consumed by the resulting tragedy. The idea for the novel came in , when Achebe heard the story of a Chief Priest being imprisoned by a District Officer. When an acquaintance showed him a series of papers from colonial officers not unlike the fictional Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger referenced at the end of Things Fall Apart , Achebe combined these strands of history and began work on Arrow of God in earnest. In a letter written to Achebe, the US writer John Updike expressed his surprised admiration for the sudden downfall of Arrow of God ' s protagonist.

He praised the author's courage to write "an ending few Western novelists would have contrived". A Man of the People was published in A bleak satire set in an unnamed African state which has just attained independence, the novel follows a teacher named Odili Samalu from the village of Anata who opposes a corrupt Minister of Culture named Nanga for his Parliament seat. Upon reading an advance copy of the novel, Achebe's friend John Pepper Clark declared: "Chinua, I know you are a prophet.

Everything in this book has happened except a military coup! Soon afterward, Nigerian Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu seized control of the northern region of the country as part of a larger coup attempt. Commanders in other areas failed, and the plot was answered by a military crackdown. A massacre of three thousand people from the eastern region living in the north occurred soon afterwards, and stories of other attacks on Igbo Nigerians began to filter into Lagos.

The ending of his novel had brought Achebe to the attention of military personnel, who suspected him of having foreknowledge of the coup. When he received word of the pursuit, he sent his wife who was pregnant and children on a squalid boat through a series of unseen creeks to the Igbo stronghold of Port Harcourt. They arrived safely, but Christie suffered a miscarriage at the journey's end. Chinua rejoined them soon afterwards in Ogidi. These cities were safe from military incursion because they were in the southeast, part of the region which would later secede.

Once the family had resettled in Enugu , Achebe and his friend Christopher Okigbo started a publishing house called Citadel Press, to improve the quality and increase the quantity of literature available to younger readers. One of its first submissions was a story called How the Dog was Domesticated , which Achebe revised and rewrote, turning it into a complex allegory for the country's political tumult. In May , the southeastern region of Nigeria broke away to form the Republic of Biafra ; in July the Nigerian military attacked to suppress what it considered an unlawful rebellion.

Achebe's colleague, Christopher Okigbo , who had become a close friend of the family especially of Achebe's son, young Ikechukwu , volunteered to join the secessionist army while simultaneously working at the press. Achebe's house was bombed one afternoon; Christie had taken the children to visit her sick mother, so the only victims were his books and papers.

The Achebe family narrowly escaped disaster several times during the war. Five days later, Christopher Okigbo was killed on the war's front line. As the war intensified, the Achebe family was forced to leave Enugu for the Biafran capital of Aba. As the turmoil closed in, he continued to write, but most of his creative work during the war took the form of poetry. The shorter format was a consequence of living in a war zone.

All this is creating in the context of our struggle.

Chinua Achebe “Refugee Mother and Child”

One of his most famous, "Refugee Mother and Child", spoke to the suffering and loss that surrounded him. Dedicated to the promise of Biafra, he accepted a request to serve as foreign ambassador, refusing an invitation from the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University in the US. Achebe traveled to many cities in Europe, including London, where he continued his work with the African Writers Series project at Heinemann. During the war, relations between writers in Nigeria and Biafra were strained. Achebe and John Pepper Clark had a tense confrontation in London over their respective support for opposing sides of the conflict.

Achebe demanded that the publisher withdraw the dedication of A Man of the People he had given to Clark. Years later, their friendship healed and the dedication was restored. Speaking in , Achebe said: "I find the Nigerian situation untenable. The Nigerian government, under the leadership of General Yakubu Gowon , was backed by the British government ; the two nations enjoyed a vigorous trade partnership. He framed the conflict in terms of the country's colonial past. The writer in Nigeria, he said, "found that the independence his country was supposed to have won was totally without content The old white master was still in power.

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