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Postcolonial Ecocriticism and African Literature: The Nigeria Civil War Example

Cajetan N. Iheka


Master's Thesis, Central Michigan University, February 2011

The Nigerian Civil War has been a subject of serious literary scholarship over the years. In fact, Kole Omotosho suggests that the war literature has attracted more attention from writers and scholars than other aspects of Nigerian literature (McLuckie 510). Despite the seeming popularity of the war genre that Omotosho's work suggests, scholarship on the war has been limited to anthropocentric analyses of the war. Such analyses pay attention to the effects of the war on the people, that is, men, women, and children, but missing in such scholarship is the implication of the war on the environment, and how that affects the human members of what Aldo Leopold describes as "biotic community." Also, the ongoing concern about climate change and global warming justifies the need for an interdisciplinary study of literature and the environment. The present study, therefore, aims to bridge the seeming gap in scholarship by investigating the culture-nature relationship in a postcolonial ecocritical reading of three African texts. Isidore Okpewho's The Last Duty, Festus Iyayi's Heroes, and Chimamanda Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun are chosen for this work because of the similar patterns of thoughts and themes explicated in the text. Generally, such themes as environmental degradation, human exploitation, and trauma are explored in a reading of the novels. The study concludes that the politics of class, race, gender, and culture combine to engender the human and environmental destruction, as well as, the absurdity that was the Nigerian Civil War. Among other recommendations, the study suggests the need for pragmatic leadership in African nations, the importance of more ecological-related research in African literature, and the need for environmental sustainable awareness and practices among Nigerians and Africans.

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Biafran War Database.
Editor: Azuka Nzegwu.

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