Beasts and Abominations in Things Fall Apart and Omenuko

Hugh Hodges


This article argues that the beast whose spectre W.B. Yeats raised in “The Second Coming” has been a constant presence in Nigerian writing. It discusses two early manifestations of this beast, as they appear in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Peter Nwana’s Omenuko, focusing on the problem of abominations, particularly suicides, in traditional Igbo culture. In doing so, it contests Adélékè Adéèkó’s assertion that Nigerian writers continually return to the conclusion of Things Fall Apart because of “dissatisfaction with Okonkwo’s failure to negotiate historical transition” (“Okonkwo” 84). This article argues, while Adéèkó is right that Nigerian writers frequently return to Things Fall Apart, they do so because Okonkwo’s body, is both literally and metaphorically an abomination that cannot be buried. As such, it anticipates what the historical transition is bringing: mere anarchy.


Chinua Achebe; Things Fall Apart; Peter Nwana; Omenuko; Ritual Suicide

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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