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AAS 111 Group 10 Presentation

Literature, Memory, and War: Christopher Anyokwu's “Memory and Nationhood in Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun”

Adam Fox

on 15 June 2010

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Transcript of AAS 111 Group 10 Presentation

"May we always remember" Christopher Anyokwu Memory and Nationhood in
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's
Half of a Yellow Sun Memory Democracy Historical Background Nation Article Summary Book Summary How far back
should memory reach? Transforming Memory into Physical Form History as an Academic Discipline The Past No Statute of Limitations Tapestry of History
Makes Up Society Memory Paradox Acting Indifferently
vs. Clinging Passionately Man has always sought to memorialize and/or monumentalize milestones Art forms tell own stories Appreciate the collective history
Humans need to know of past actions/inactions The Cause-and-Effect Nexus of Human Agency Achebe's: role of memory in war Most Important:
Telling the story afterwards "It is only the story that outlives the sound of war-drums and the exploits of brave fighters...the story is our escort; without it we are blind." Cornucopia of Memories Past equally as important as the need to critique, evaluate, interrogate and interpret the past through memory “’At independence in 1960, Nigeria was a collection of fragments held in a fragile clasp’” (185)
---Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Adichie's novel is based on the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967-1970 Presents her “imaginative truths” and not “the facts of the war” Colonial Nigeria
Hausa and Fulani (north) Yoruba (South-West) Igbo (South-East) Two Coups
Imbalance throughout the country Civil War Secession Result
war fought to reunify
federal government won
estimated 3 million people dead
What are the links? ...How does a book on Civil War inform us about democracy in today's Nigeria? What is democracy? The condition of Nigerian democracy Why are fiction important? topics of
democracy novel used as backcloth
to examine
'fault-lines ' of history
and Nigeria's chances of being
genuinely democratic discusses
the book 'Half of a Yellow Sun'
about the Nigeria/Biafra Civil War (1967-1970) novel maybe an agent of political culture and the novelist a political philosopher and teacher. (Diamond, 1989) Key elements of a nation "A nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the
feeling of the sacrifices that one has made in the past and of those
that one is prepared to make in the future. It presupposes a past; it
is summarized, however, in the present by a tangible fact, namely,
consent, the clearly expressed desire to continue a common life. A
nation’s existence is, . . . a daily plebiscite, just as an individual’s
existence is a perpetual affirmation of life." Ernest Renan 1823-1892 "A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle" 'the expression of the will of the majority ... [which] ought to be seen as an exercise in overall inclusiveness, which confers the most potent legitimacy to leadership'

- His Excellency, Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State Democracy lies on tripod of
popular equity
popular sovereignity & popular consultation
Majority rule
David Kerr (2006) the basic rights and freedom required for democracy
freedom of conscience
freedom to join any lawful organization
freedom of worship
right to access to alternative sources of information
freedom of movement
right to fair trial
guarantee of free and fair elections
- David Kerr (2006) Military dictatorship 'a rape on democracy' 'unrelieved despair and pessimism' corruption civil war over ... but class war is still
being waged against the masses Memory of the origin of Nigeria:
Democracy never sewed in Nigeria's soil 'Democracy only started yesterday and is still impertect ...Isnt it human to hope'
Harold Smith why the author brings up
the civil war? Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 'democratic' election in 2007 'contest for power a matter of life and death' In 2008, ranked as one of 50 most corrupted countries of the world among Sub-Saharan countries Nigeria is ranked 30th out of 47 Nigeria as a divided "nation" Series of coups Misappropriation of oil wealth 1993 annulment of election results Before the Civil War "Before the outbreak of the war,
it is beautiful to see both southerners and northerners, Christians and Muslims, live together in peace and
harmony, mostly under the same roofs." Solidarity civil war
Human Dev Index rank = 158 out of 182
Children underweight (under age 5) = 29 %
Probability of not surviving 40 years = 37%
Adult Illiteracy rate= 28%
People without access to safe drinking water = 53%

from the Human Development Report 2009
Half of a Yellow Sun Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The novel aims to produce realistic re-enactment of the Nigerian/Biafra civil war. It focuses on Human tradegy in the war and comountry during the 1960's. The Novel in Relation to History The novel is significant in terms the the way in which we view eras of time and specific historical events. Things to keep in mind; The way an author portrays a story or historical event affects the way in which an audience will come to remember history. Importance of the novel in relation to our article
The article uses Half of a Yellow Sun to better explain democratizaion of Nigeria "He who invokes history is always secure
The dead will not rise to witness against him."
-Czeslaw Milosz.
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