What are the themes in "Anthills of the Savannah" by Achebe?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The difficulty of overcoming a system of political unrest is one of the central themes of the novel.  Under a rule driven by power as opposed to respect, the people are unable to figure out how to establish a government built upon justice.  The citizens in the society depicted have few political rights, but significantly, they retain their sense of community, maintaining hope that someday, despite the seemingly impossibility of the task, things will be better.

The corruptive aspect of power is another theme explored in the book, especially in the character of Sam.  Unprepared and inexperienced, Sam becomes "a full-fledged evil dictator" when he comes to power, illustrating "the dangers of blindly pursuing power at the expense of the community".

The importance of storytelling is an important theme because through stories, a civilization retains its "sense of history and tradition", providing it an anchor and a guide by which it can direct its future.  The tribal elder in the book recognizes that story is more powerful than battle, grounding a society in its identity and in truth.

The important role of women in modern society is a theme clearly addressed by the author.  Women are portrayed as "the keepers of tradition", and as such maintain a connection with the past, keeping the culture alive and embodying the qualities of "moral strength and sensitivity".

Check out the second Enotes link referenced below for a much more comprehension discussion of themes in the book!