The Use of Mixed Narrative in Anthills of the Savannah

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Explore the uses and effects of mixed narrative in Anthills of the Savannah By Emmanuel Sunil

Anthills of the Savannah is set in the fictitious West African country of Kangan, a country which has been overrun with political instability ever since becoming an independent state from British rule. The novel centers on the lives of three civil servants, Christopher Oriko, Ikem Osodi and Beatrice Naynibuife, and all three serve three separate narrative voices in the novel, each sharing his or her own point of view. This provides the reader with a 360 degree picture of the situation by offering multiple points of view as well as enabling the reader to make judgments for him/ herself rather than relying on a narrator or a single character to supply descriptions of people and events. In this essay I shall consider detail the narrative roles of all three characters of the novel.

Christopher Oriko is the Commissioner of Information in the cabinet of His Excellency, Sam. His duties bring him to close proximity to Sam and thus we obtain an insiders account of the political situation in Kangan. Chris informs us in the very first chapter of Sam’s frequent mood swings. In fact he goes as far as to say that “days are good or bad for us now according to how His Excellency gets out of bed in the morning”. Here, Chris indicates the dictatorial nature of Sam thus setting a stage for the instability in the government. Chris also has a very realistic opinion of the situation and he is careful in pushing for reform than his close friend Ikem, who he thinks is far too sensitive to the danger of angering Sam. A topic which is often considered in Chris’ narrative is the futility of Ikems editorials which makes Sam consider him as treacherous. Chris often defends Ikem; however he is getting “tired “of doing so. This difference in opinion and the fact that Ikem has more freedom leaves Chris with growing resentment towards Ikem, and the two seem to be drifting further apart as the...
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