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    Colonialism, trauma and affect: Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God as Oduche’s Return

    Msiska, Mpalive-Hangson (2018) Colonialism, trauma and affect: Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God as Oduche’s Return. Research in African Literatures 49 (4), pp. 46-66. ISSN 0034-5210.

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    The paper examines Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God, which deals with the advent of colonialism in Nigeria, as a trauma narrative. It argues that, though the novel has generally and profitably been read as exemplifying the problem of cultural conflict in Africa, seen through the prism of the writer’s last memoir, its primary aim is clearly to map out a genealogy of a certain “African Post-colonial structure of feeling,” in which the fracture of traditional society in the face of colonialism dramatized in the novel is seen as, to a large extent, a symptom of the foundational trauma of Umuaro’s genesis. Thus, it is argued that Achebe deploys the fiction-genre as a discursive site for mourning the loss of a Pre-colonial cultural and political space. However, the paper does not read trauma in terms of the repetition compulsion complex proposed by Freud and Post-structuralist trauma studies, but instead, it attends to the ways in which the novel rehistoricizes trauma as a way of working through it. It considers the act of writing the novel itself as part of that process of working out the historical trauma of Post-colonial affective dysfunction.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Arts > English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    Research Centres and Institutes: Contemporary Literature, Centre for
    Depositing User: Mpalive-Hangson Msiska
    Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2018 06:44
    Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 19:31


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