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Did the ideology influence the writing or did the writing influence the ideology in...

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lt1017 | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted August 21, 2013 at 1:20 AM via web

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Did the ideology influence the writing or did the writing influence the ideology in "Africa Kills Her Sun"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 21, 2013 at 7:03 AM (Answer #1)

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This incredibly powerful short story, which takes the form of a letter, is one that stems entirely from the ideology of the author as he sought to raise awareness concerning the massive endemic corruption facing African nations and the impact that this had on African society and also the future of Africa. This very dark satire is derived from Ken Saro Wiwa's own view on what was happening in Africa, and particularly in his home country of Nigeria, and seeks to voice his worries and his concerns about his homeland. This is made obvious very quickly in the text. Consider, for example, the following quote from the second paragraph of the letter:

I know this will get to you because the prison guard’s been heavily bribed to deliver it. He should rightly be with us before the firing squad tomorrow. But he’s condemned, like most others, to live, to play out his assigned role in your hell of a world. I see him burning out his dull, uncomprehending life, doing his menial job for a pittance and a bribe for the next so many years.

The description of the prison guard is particularly interesting. Note how Bana describes him as "condemned... to play out his assigned role." There is irony in this use of "condemned," as on the one hand it is Bana himself who is condemned, and thus it is odd for him to describe a man who is ostensibly free in those terms. However, as the letter develops the kind of life that Bana describes is truly a "hell of a world," where people are forced to "burn out.. dull, uncomprehending lives" living on bribes and corruption in order to make ends meet. This explains Bana's view of himself as striving for honesty in becoming a robber: after all, as he reasons, at least he is being honest about doing what everybody else around him does. Thus this text is based on ideology first and foremost, and this influence is clear throughout.

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