Second-Class Citizen

by Buchi Emecheta

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What literary devices are used in Second-Class Citizen?

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In Second-Class Citizen, Buchi Emeta utilizes literary devices such as personification, allusion, and simile. Personification is evident when the River Oboshi is depicted as a female character. Allusion is seen in the reference to Washington Irving’s story, hinting at the river’s inattentiveness. Similes are used to describe events and emotions, such as carrying a bag of money "like a delicate baby" and her life shattering "like broken glass".

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Buchi Emeta uses many literary devices in Second-Class Citizen. These include personification, allusion, and simile.

One example of personification relates to Adah’s identification of the river that ran through her town in Nigeria. Adah speaks of the River Oboshi as a female person: “Oil was discovered very near her, and she allowed the oilmen to dig into her . . . .”

Adah, in this same passage, wonders about the river’s lack of attention to these goings on. The narrator phrases this as an allusion to Washington Irving’s story: “She must have been in a Rip Van Winkle sleep . . . .”

Similes are frequently used devices. After Adah and Francis are married, they are described as carrying a bag of money "like a delicate baby." When Francis agrees to the plan of going to the United Kingdom, the smile on his face was “like a warm sunshine after a thunderous rain.” She soon learns, however, that she must remain in Nigeria, and only Francis will go to London. Adah saw “her life being shattered, like broken glass, about her.”

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