Ken Saro-Wiwa's Sozaboy

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Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy, first published in 1985, has significance in its emphasis on the construction of subjectivity. This is made possible by the narrator’s journey through the lineal spaces and time-based displacements, between the known and unknowable, and the disenchanted versus the enchanted worlds of materiality and imagination. Saro-Wiwa, whose political activism is often separated from discussions of Sozaboy, provides a helpful foundation with his novel of the Nigerian literature scene. In his depiction of the child soldier in Sozaboy, the aesthetics of “voice” remain the focus of academic criticism. Close readings of the text – and of his other fiction and poetry – usually appear entirely separate from the analysis of Saro-Wiwa’s environmental and minority rights activism that led to his hanging by die Nigerian government in 1995. One can argue that the generative event for the story is the naïve narrator’s visit to the African Upwine Bar in what the locals calls “Diobu New York”. For Mene, this cosmopolitan space offers an initiation into lusty sex and war that persistently threatens to overwhelm him and to mark his passage…show more content…
He, in effect, exorcizes himself from Dukana to escape from the villagers’ exorcism, a ceremony that has already claimed “money and seven white goats and seven white money blokkus and seven alligator pepper and seven bundles of plantain and seven young girls” and that promises to end when “they will bury you proper so that your ghost cannot return to Dukana.” (Saro-Wiwa, 1994: 180). The narration that has sustained Mene as a character for the reader and against “big grammar” here fails to sustain village allegiances in the face of so much

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