Character Analysis Of Adewale Maja Pearce's 'Veronica'

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“Veronica” is set in a rural village in Nigeria. The characters in the story were affected by the Nigerian Civil War, meaning that it is set in the 1970s. Veronica and Okeke are childhood friends who grow up together but their circumstances take them down different paths. When Okeke cries for “the terrible waste”, it is clear that he is referring to Veronica and her life. The author uses several techniques to show who or what he feels could be responsible, however, it is not stated clearly. However, with that being said, it is clear that there are four contributing factors that lead to Veronica’s death; the civil war, prevailing culture, family and herself.

The author, Adewale Maja Pearce, highlighted early on in the piece that Veronica’s
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As she only had a “brute” of a father and a “weak” mother, it would have been hard for Veronica to look up to any role models. Despite her father’s abusive nature and the responsibility of raising her siblings on her shoulders, Veronica still managed to stay faithful to her family and even jeopardized her chances of making something of herself for them. As she has never seen anything aside from her family, all she would aspire to is having a family of her own as that is all she has ever known. This partly explains why, later, she refuses to leave the village with Okeke. This also contributes to her life being labelled as a “terrible waste” because she probably did not have any outlandish aspirations as a small child and, consequently, could not form “regular” aspirations as a young adult.

As they get older, Veronica is left to raise her siblings as the responsibility had “fallen on her”. Okeke does help as he “helped her fetch water from the stream and occasionally chopped firewood”, but there is only so much that he can do as his support is barred by his own “physical inadequacy”. Especially as Veronica is abused by her father “night after night”. Both Okeke and his father seem to both be responsible for this portion of Veronica’s life. Okeke blames himself and his inability to help but also his father and his evident unwillingness to try and help
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He identifies his own probable over confidence: “I thought I knew my own worth”. They meet at their usual place; the stream, and Okeke realises that time has passed and Veronica has become a young woman. He also notes that apart from that “nothing had really altered”. Just as life in the village never changes. At this point in the story, Okeke has already ventured out of the village but Veronica hasn’t. Okeke is also the only one out of the two whose life has progressed. Veronica is still looking after her siblings and not receiving an education. Okeke is considerate of Veronica’s feelings as he pretends to be “unconcerned” about his departure when he is overjoyed: “the break I had hardly dared hope for”. Okeke attempts to persuade Veronica to leave the village and her family, who he says have never done anything for her, but her chaste reply of: “they are my family, that is enough” shows the clear contrast between Okeke and his ambition and Veronica who is driven by traditional values and has no other experiences to change this. Okeke still tries to persuade Veronica to go but being a child of extreme poverty has affected her future. She now has no qualifications or any other views on life that differs to the one that she is used to in the village. Even Okeke, as a narrator, “knew there was a lot of truth in what she said” but was “appalled” by her lack of ambition. This is a major
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