Veronica by Adewale Maja-Pearce
Author: Adewale Maja-Pearce was born in London (1953). He grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, but returned to London to complete his education and is a prominent writer within the literary world. He now lives back in Lagos.
Context: Veronica is set in Nigeria, a country with a troubled political history. The country has been torn apart by divisions between tribes and political groups, suffering massacres and civil war. As a result, financial development within the country has been limited and rural areas have been badly affected by poverty.
Summary: In a rural village: Okeke and Veronica are childhood friends, despite Veronica being poorer and having to bring up her brothers and sisters due to her brute of a father and a weak mother. Okeke leaves the village for school and eventually University to study to become a doctor. He urges Veronica to leave; she feels tied to her family. Ten years pass before Okeke’s job brings him back to the poverty of the village. Veronica is in her old hut; her parents are dead and her siblings gone. She has a baby and a husband who has escaped war in the north but still she will not leave. Another three years pass, marred by war, and on Okeke’s return Veronica’s remaining family have died and she is herself close to death. Okeke tries to help but she longs to die, her final wish to see Okeke again granted. She dies in his arms and he buries her near the stream that they visited frequently as children.
Themes: Love and friendship, death, education, duty to family, poverty/ wealth, divisions.
Cross referencing: The Schoolteacher’s Guest (friendship), Country Lovers (divisions between rich/ poor, love, friendship)
* ‘We had grown up together in my native village. Her family had been even poorer than mine, which was saying something in those days.’ * ‘But for all the misery of my own life she never seemed to envy me mine.’ * ‘And then came the day when I was to leave for...
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