Wole Soyinka's the Swamp Dwellers, What Does Igwezu Learn About Place and Displacement.

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  • Topic: Wole Soyinka, The Culture, Culture
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  • Published : December 10, 2010
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1. Write an essay (with an informative title) in response to the following question: In Wole Soyinka’s The Swamp Dwellers, what does Igwezu learn about place and displacement given his experience of life in the swamp and in the city?

The play, “The Swamp Dwellers”, which was written by Wole Soyinka, explained the life of an African American man who was caught between two opposing cultures. Iqwezu grew up in a culture that went about doing things in a certain way. The people who took on this culture where Iqwezu grew up lived in the “swamp”. The culture in which Iqwezu was pursuing to take on was that of the cities because he knew that there would be many more opportunities that he could act upon if he were to move there. However, it turns out that the city wasn’t everything Iqwezu expected it to be. For this reason, Iqwezu learns many different things about place and displacement while living in the swamp and the city.

Much of what we have learned so far in post colonial literature deals with place and displacement. To define place and displacement one must look at an individual and their self identity while living in a certain environment. This identity is formed by the underlying principles and values that the society as a whole obtain. When this environment is changed, dislocation or cultural denigration occurs. Dislocation can occur in many different ways such as, “migration, the experience of enslavement, transportation, or 'voluntary' removal for indentured labor.”(Bill Ashcroft) Cultural denigration occurs when, “the conscious and unconscious oppression of the indigenous personality and culture have been destroyed by a supposedly superior racial or cultural model.” (Bill Ashcroft). When a person is dislocated form their environment or they have been culturally denigrated, they experience a change of self identity because of their new relationship with their surrounding environment. I would best describe the term place and displacement as, the change...
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