The Wretched of the Earth is a collection of essays by Frantz Fanon which is concerned with the processes of decolonization, especially in regard to Africa in the 1950s. Chinua Achebe’s novel The Anthills of Savannah also treats African decolonization, and both works emphasize the multiple negative effects of colonialism.
A related similarity in the authors’ perspectives is their conviction that a colonial system harms the colonizers as well as the colonized because coercion and violence are required to maintain control. They also point to the debilitating psychological harm inflicted by colonialism, which endures long after the official achievement of national independence.
A significant difference between the works is that Fanon’s essays are nonfiction, while Achebe’s text is a novel. Fanon also draws primarily on the Algerian liberation movement, which was current as he published the book in 1961. Achebe sets his novel in a fictional country, Kangan, after it emerged from colonialism and struggled to survive as a free country.
The warning that Fanon sounds about the enduring harm of colonialism is shown in Achebe’s novel. This damage includes the co-optation of colonized people to benefit from colonialism at the expense of their fellow subjects. The corrupting influence of power likewise affects the new nation’s leaders and their challengers; through their deals, compromises, and violent overthrows, such leaders fail to represent their citizens’ best interests.