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Summary Of Chris Abani's Graceland

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Nigeria is Africa’s most densely populated country and the world’s eighth largest oil producer, but its success has been undermined in recent decades by ethnic and religious conflict, political instability, rampant official corruption, and an ailing economy. Chris Abani’s GraceLand poses a challenge to the way critics think about the disciplinary bounds and limitations of national and postcolonial. Born in 1966 in Nigeria on the cusp of the Biafran War, Abani is a child of the postcolony and as such he grew up through the domestic turmoil that plagued early Nigerian nationhood. The issues of identity, home, and exile that Abani writes about in GraceLand and that other third-generation Nigerian novelists address reflect a generation that has…show more content…
According to Hartwiger, “Both Freud and Bhabha locate this occurrence in the domestic space, that which is thought to be safe and protected from the world, and explore how that location becomes infiltrated and disrupted by both repressed personal experiences and the outside world. Freud articulates this as a psychological condition in which those things that should have remained hidden or kept secret emerge to evoke dread and terror”. Early in GraceLand, Elvis is faced with the traditional Igbo eagle sacrifice ceremony marking his passage from childhood to manhood. In the novel, this ritual is meant to provide boys with basic skills needed for hunting, coupled with a symbolic component. Ironically, Joseph handed Elvis “a small homemade bow with and arrow strung in it. On the end of the arrow, pierced through its side, was a chick. It was still alive and chirped sadly…Elvis stood there holding the bow and arrow, with helpless chick as far away from him as possible” (19). The ritual turned into a farce with a chick, when in fact it should have been an eagle. Moreover, Elvis did not even take part in any of the process and at the end he is proclaimed a man. According to Hartwiger, “the hollowness of the eagle-sacrifice ritual reflects the emptiness of traditional Igbo practices in contemporary Nigeria. Elvis resides in a…show more content…
He is surrounded by males who showed their masculinity/manhood sexual acts and violence which showed the traditional patriarchal structure, which he too ‘should’ grow into. In the scene where he is dressed as a woman with makeup and him running to greet is father, only leads to him getting a terrible beat down. “Elvis is bewildered by his father’s reaction and does not grasp what Felicia and her friends and Sunday understand implicitly – boys do not wear make-up. To further reinforce his point, Sunday shaves Elvis’s head, explaining that he is “doing dis for your own good” (63). The juxtaposition of these events serve to undermine male authority and shows the dominating male patriarchal system but under the radar preserves the power of a father to rape his own daughter. At this point, he is psychologically affected because there is no father-son relationship to help him in making decisions and finding his identity in this corrosive and culturally lost environment that he if forced to grow
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