Adewale Maya-Pearce

Nigerian village

War in Nigeria

Village Life


Narrative outline

Veronica and Okeke grow up ‘together’ but their lives diverge at the age of 12 Okeke goes to school ‘in the town’ but Veronica stays in the village Okeke becomes a doctor; Veronica looks after her family – despite brutal treatment from her father as a child Marriage, motherhood, war and death are all things that Veronica accepts passively

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Less poor than Veronica Supportive parents Different expectations of boys and girls Becomes educated but still emotionally unfulfilled (‘All the women I meet are only interested in money and cars.’) Frustrated at his own inability to help Also frustrated and frightened by V’s fatalism

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Expectations of daughters Childhood = loss of self-respect Passive,fatalistic, accepts her ‘destiny’, has no ambitions Things happen to her rather than with her active involvement Okeke thinks her death is a ‘terrible waste’

Narrative technique
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First person Quiet, understated style Importance of dialogue Descriptions are spare but suggestive (“When I got there and saw all the destruction I could have wept. I had never imagined anything like it. I went straight to Veronica’s hut. It was dark inside and bare save for a figure huddled on a mat on the ground.”)

Narrative technique

Village becomes symbol of the lack of opportunity for people like Veronica The river suggests life flowing past the village’s inhabitants (“And then I dug her a grave and buried her and afterwards I watched the flow of the stream until it was time for me to go away for the last time.”)

Cultural issues
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Family relationships Sons have a better deal tan daughters Inadequacy of the state Political unrest/war Deep-seated beliefs (fatalism) Transforming effects of education for the lucky few

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