THE MILITARY IN SELFI ATHA’S EVERYTHING GOOD WILL COME AND NGOZI ADICIE’S PURPLE HIBISCUS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Everything Good Will Come is about the coming-of-age of Enitan, the chief character, as she develops from a gripping aura of innocence to an assertive consciousness. Born into two tangled worlds – an unhappy home where father and mother are like cats and rats, and a country replete with political inconsistencies and instability – Enitan staggers her way through self-doubt into self-realisation and actualisation. The story dramatizes how Enitan manages to defy her childhood pre-conditioning of a failed marriage as characterised by her parents’ unending fight and misunderstanding.
Growing up, Enitan is torn between what is right for herself and what is right for her parent. Despite her privileged upbringing, a special treatment her father never ceases to refer her to later in the story, she is less of a happy child. But her unhappy state will soon transform into mirth, liveliness and self-belief when she becomes friend with Sheri, a girl of her age next door whose lifestyle is completely unalike to hers. Unlike Enitan, Sherri is free and spoilt, even though she is born into a polygamous family and a Muslim. Soon, Sheri’s behaviour earns her unwanted pregnancy as a result of rape, when she and Enitan go to Ikoyi Park to have some fun, without the knowledge of their parents.
After college Enitan goes to England for her law degree and soon returns for NYSC. She meets Mike, an artist and falls in love with him. Meanwhile, Sheri has become a housewife of one Brigadier and all her childhood aspirations of travelling round the world now dashed because she has to acquiesce only to the desires of her strict Muslim husband who believes that the place of a woman is her husband’s home. Later she is compelled to move out of the house after engaging in a free-for-all with him. Enitan too, who has packed in with her after her discovery of her father’s and then Mike’s deceit and lies, has to leave for her mother’s place.
As the political tension in the country intensifies, there are coups upon coups; many people arrested, others’ whereabouts unknown; Enitan miscarriages, her father arrested alongside Peter Mukoro, his client, having petitioned the government for arresting the latter. Grace Ameh, a journalist, who now prints underground, is also arrested along with Enitan for their involvement in a reading session. Thereafter, they are released; and Enitan soon gives birth to Yimika. Fortunately for her, another coup leads to the suspension of the military junta and enthronement of democracy. Consequently, Sunny Taiwo, Enitan’s father is among the released detainees. The novel then ends with Enitan openly displaying her joy on her father’s release, as she goes to meet him.
Also, in the Ngozi Adicie’s Purple Hibiscus ,the novel is an amazing exploration of the psyche of a highly militarized society. It portrays the family as a microcosm of the larger society. The compelling narrative reveals the dynamics of group behavior in a militarized society, where many family units and interpersonal relationships at various levels are conditioned to re-enact the unhealthy pattern set by the political gladiators who use draconic rules to perpetuate themselves in power. The protagonist in this novel is portrayed as a tyrant with enormous power to crush every form of opposition. However, rebellion erupts from unlikely quarters and he eventually becomes a victim of the obnoxious system he had created.
Purple Hibiscus is set in South-Eastern Nigeria, but it captures the prevailing socio-economic and political climate in the country during the military regimes of Generals Ibrahim Babaginda and Sani Abacha with the ill contrived,’ Interim Government’ of Chief Ernest Shonekan in between. The dispensation covered reveals reigns of terror fraught with unpopular policies, blatant disregard for the rule of law, abuse of human rights, financial indiscipline, senseless killings and other atrocities. The prevailing socio-economic environment captured in the narrative, echoes the era of incessant industrial actions by labour unions and high cost of living-hyper-inflation, scarcity of fuel with long
unending queues at filling stations.
1.2 AUTHORS BIO DATA
1.2.1 Chimamanda Adichie’s Biography
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born to Igbo parents, Grace Ifeoma and James Nwoye Adichie on 15 September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria. While her family’s ancestral hometown is Abba in Anambra State, she grew up in Nsukka, in the house formerly occupied by Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe.
The fifth of James Adichie’s six children, Chimamanda’s original and initial inspiration came from Chinua Achebe. After reading late Prof. Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” at the age of 10, Adichie was inspired by seeing her own life represented in the pages.
She once said, “I realized that people who looked like me could live in books.” Using that inspiration, Adichie has been writing about the Nigerian experience throughout her career. As mentioned earlier, she grew up in the house where the great icon and author, Chinua Achebe once lived. This may have also contributed to her motivation and passion to write.
1.2.2 Sefi Atta’Biography
Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in January 1964, to a family of five children. Her father Abdul-Aziz Atta was the Secretary to Federal Government and Head of the Civil Service until his death in 1972, and she was raised by her mother Iyabo Atta.
She attended Queen’s College, Lagos, and Millfield School in England. In 1985, she graduated from Birmingham University. She qualified as a chartered accountant in England and as CPA in the United States. She is married to Gboyega Ransome-Kuti, a medical doctor, and son of Olikoye Ransome-Kuti. They have one daughter.
Atta’s Lagos-based production company Atta Girl supports Care to Read, a program she initiated to earn funds for legitimate charities through staged readings.
She currently divides her time between Nigeria, England and the United States.
1.3 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
This research is set to examine the Military In Selfi Atha’s Everything Good Will Come And Ngozi Adicie’s Purple Hibiscus in particular to address the issues of militarization and its effect of citizen.
1.4 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
Many critical works have explored The Military In Selfi Atha’s Everything Good Will Come And Ngozi Adicie’s Purple Hibiscus.This study is different from the works that have been done before because it will bring a comparative analysis on the military government in Atta’s Everything Good Will Come, And Ngozi Adicie’s Purple Hibiscus
1.5 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives are to explore the various technique used by Sefi Atta and Ngozi Adichie to make statement on tyrannical government today, and highlight the significance of such revelations on the plight of modern African society.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this work Will Come lies within the historical perspective Sefi Atta uses to look at her character’s life. By being based in a true Nigerian culture and political atmosphere, this fictional story has relevance to the time period in which it is set. This relation between fact and fiction gives the reader insight to how likely and the effect politics could play a role within each character’s life. Although the focus is on the middle and upper classes, the unsettled government of the 1970s through 1990s is still well represented. The history of this novel follows Nigeria through a civil war and into the Second and Third Republic, all times of different political powers but connected through the character’s lives.
The research will also make a critical exposition of several errors of perception, policy implementation at top government level in Nigeria lack of political will and commitments as well as failure to understand and appreciate the internal dynamics and nature of democratic governance in Nigeria. This study can also as inducement for the public interest in the fight against militarization.
1.7 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In this research, scope of study shall be on the theme The Military In Selfi Atha’s Everything Good Will Come And Ngozi Adicie’s Purple Hibiscus. The two novel is chosen because of its significance in the history and development of Nigeria. The study is centrally limited to assessing the thematic postulations of the novelist.
1.8 DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS
Militarization: or militarisation, is the process by which a society organizes itself for military conflict and violence
Colonization :is a process by which a central system of power dominates the surrounding land and its components.
Tyranny: a state under cruel and oppressive government.
The research is basically conducted under library review. The materials here are gathered from internet sources, library reviews, and critical content analysis of the text. The multifaceted approach affords the researcher a more balanced viewpoint on the subject under review.
1.10 THEORITICAL FRAME WORK: SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH
1.10.1 ORIGIN OF THE SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH
The field of sociology itself–and sociological theory by extension–is relatively new. Both date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The drastic social changes of that period, such as industrialization, urbanization, and the rise of democratic states caused particularly Western thinkers to become aware of society. The oldest sociological theories deal with broad historical processes relating to these changes. Since then, sociological theories have come to encompass most aspects of society, including communities, organizations and relationships.
1.10.2 APPLICATION OF THE THEORY TO THE STUDY
A sociological approach to self and identity begins with the assumption that there is a reciprocal relationship between the self and society (Stryker, 1980). The self influences society through the actions of individuals thereby creating groups, organizations, networks, and institutions. And, reciprocally, society influences the self through its shared language and meanings that enable a person to take the role of the other, engage in social interaction, and reflect upon oneself as an object. The latter process of reflexivity constitutes the core of selfhood (McCall & Simmons, 1978; Mead, 1934). Because the self emerges in and is reflective of society, the sociological approach to understanding the self and its parts (identities) means that we must also understand the society in which the self is acting, and keep in mind that the self is always acting in a social context in which other selves exist (Stryker, 1980).
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