Anthills Of The Savannah Critical Essays Examples

Beatrice is not set up neatly as Elewa's opposite; she is what Elewa might have been if she, too, had been able to graduate from Queen Mary College, London. And one of the triumphs of Beatrice's creation by Mr. Achebe is that although she has come, through Europeanization, to ''barely knowing'' who she was, ''knowing or not knowing does not save us from being known and even recruited and put to work'' and her goddesslike alter ego as African Nwanyibuife, instead of Shakespearean female wit, convincingly combines in a single persona. The things that fell apart under the impact of Europe in Mr. Achebe's first novel (''Things Fall Apart'') come together in this woman. She is a true world-historical figure in Georg Lukacs's sense, and it is Mr. Achebe's victory that she is also one of the most extraordinary, attractive and moving women characters in any contemporary novel.

Mr. Achebe is a novelist who makes you laugh - and then catch your breath in horror. He has found the mode for his subject.

Humor is not associated with horror; therefore, he uses the clash to startle one into response. For he understands the danger of comic-opera events. Easy to laugh at Idi Amin's medals or (as I have done) at the capitalist West's obeisance to Jean-Bedel Bokassa, exemplified by his portrait hung as a sign of prestigious royal patronage in the most elegant hotel in Nice. The discovery of what these men were doing stopped the laugh in the throat. In the person of Sam, President of Kangan, Mr. Achebe sagely illustrates that those whom the gods would make mad with power to destroy us they first disguise to us as absurd.

Mr. Achebe is a moralist and idealist, but he rarely allows himself to put a word in; these positions are perfectly integrated in his characters. Even a defense of the role of the writer as opposed to the demand that he become a revolutionary- or reformist-activist in relation to his people comes naturally, not authorially, from the mouth of an old Abazon storyteller. ''We all imagine that the story of the land is easy, that every one of us can get up and tell it.'' But the writer is the one whose eye the gods have ''ringed . . . with white chalk. . . . He may be a fellow of little account, not the bold warrior we all expect nor even the war-drummer. But in his new-found utterance our struggle will stand reincarnated before us. He is the liar who can sit under his thatch and see the moon hanging in the sky outside. Without stirring from his stool he can tell you how commodities are selling in a distant market-place. His chalked eye will see every blow in a battle he never fought.''

Mr. Achebe always has been a master of idiom as characterization, even as entertainment; but idiom is the root language of a people's ethics and values, and now he has mastered the immensely difficult art of using idiom at this deepest level. Beyond cant, this is the wisdom of the people. He knows how to glean it even from their cupidities and contradictions, constantly turning around the situations of daily life in his narrative, so that the downtrodden taxi driver who battles in ridiculous belligerence with Ikem in a traffic jam reveals a different code when Ikem is on the run from Sam's charges of treason. For - still deeper - there is an idiomatic code of behavior, too, that when cracked gives some troubling messages. The taxi driver blames the ''wahala'' of the traffic incident on the fact that Ikem doesn't travel around in a chauffeur-driven car that befits his position and demands a clear path, and Ikem marvels at ''an insistence by the oppressed that his oppression be performed in style! What half-way measure could hope to cure that?''

Ikem is a writer, one in whose utterance the people's struggle will stand reincarnated, and yet he does not see revolution as the cure, although he has chastised Chris as a ''bloody reformist.'' For ''in dictatorships of the proletariat where roots have already been dug up and branches hacked away, an atavistic tolerance seems to linger . . . for the stylishness of dachas and special shops.'' Kangan, dealing with the problems of the second stage of liberation, after Westminster-granted freedom, has had no revolution; but one wonders how Ikem could see South Africa, for example, getting rid of white domination without one. The ethos of this book is individual responsibility, and, whatever one's experience of the individual's limited effectiveness in the struggle for justice may have been, this ethos is presented with overwhelming conviction. It reaches a magnificent climax in Ikem's speech to students after he has been dismissed as editor - witness, reincarnator of the downtrodden's struggle. Novelists often tell their readers that this or that character is a poet or wit or orator; seldom are they able to produce, lacking these qualities themselves, other than lame evidence. But Mr. Achebe's creations fulfill all that he claims for them - Beatrice in her reflections and growth, Chris in the manner of meeting his death, Ikem in his passion, appalling honesty and command of the word.

There is a world in these individuals. Chinua Achebe takes full responsibility for it, as himself the individual with the chalked-ringed eye, a writer who has no illusions but is not disillusioned, loves the people without necessity for self-hatred and is gloriously gifted with the magic of an ebullient, generous, great talent.

There is only one comment left to make after turning the final page of ''Anthills of the Savannah'': Now I know! A RISKY AND DANGEROUS RELATIONSHIP ''I had the key characters in my mind 15 years ago,'' Chinua Achebe said of ''Anthills of the Savannah.'' ''I waited because the novel was not making itself available. I tried again later, and it still didn't move. I don't force things.''

The author turned instead to his poetry, his children's stories, his teaching and, in the early 1980's, a period of political activism. When Nigeria held elections in 1979 - following several coups and long stretches of military rule since declaring independence in 1960 - Mr. Achebe said he felt direct involvement was necessary.

''I wanted to demonstrate that within the system, there were some leaders who were better than others.'' But the move was temporary. ''The writer can only write, really,'' he said in a telephone interview from Amherst, Mass., where he and his wife, Christie, are living for a year while he teaches at the University of Massachusetts. ''It's not going to change things as fast as I would wish, but there is no way to do it faster.''

Describing his novels as ''re-creations of the history of Africa in fictional terms,'' Mr. Achebe said a process of emotional synthesis accompanies the writing of each book. With ''Anthills of the Savannah,'' that process was uniquely affected by the Biafran war of 1967-70.

''This horrendous experience was, for me, the end of an epoch, and it really drew a curtain across modern African history,'' he said. ''I needed to sit back and reflect before saying anything more.''

Nigeria is once again attempting a slow shift to civilian rule. Still, Mr. Achebe said his relations with authorities are strained. He went home in December to accept an honorary doctorate from the state university at Lagos, for example; the ceremony was abruptly called off. Yet he has never considered leaving Nigeria for good.

''It's risky and dangerous, this kind of love-hate relationship with the authorities,'' he said, ''but I really have no choice in the matter. I would be very, very sad to have to live in Europe or America. The relationship between me and the society I write about is so close and so necessary.''

A member of the Ibo tribe, which sought to secede in the civil war, Mr. Achebe was born in the eastern Nigerian village of Ogidi. His oldest brother still lives in the family house, and for the author it was a great honor to be elected president of the town union in 1986.

''When I told the elders of the village that I travel often, they said, 'It doesn't matter to us.' I felt very good. The short times I spend in the village take on a quality that is difficult to describe. I value them, I think, because I know they are not going to last long.'' KIM HERON

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Critical Analysis of Anthills of the Savannah

Anthills of the Savannah

A Struggle to Overcome a History of Suffering
Anthills of the Savannah is a chronicle of continuous struggle by the people to overcome a history of suffering brought about by bad government. A typical confirmation of this fact is that the novel begins with a coup and ends with another coup.
The sad reality is that every regime in Africa—military or civilian comes with its own oppressive mechanism and the people continue to suffer. Therefore the struggle to overcome a history of suffering is a continuous process. Arguably, the deaths of Major Sam, Ikem and Chris will not change anything. From this, we can also deduce that the death or exit of one oppressive military dictator in Africa does not in any way eradicate or assuage suffering but rather, it is an entrance of another dictator who comes with his cohorts to perpetrate more sufferings.
A critical analysis will reveal that Achebe is talking about the issue of power in the novel. This power issue can also be found in most of Soyinka's works. It should be noted that power without a responsibility is an abuse of power. It is this abuse of power Achebe is much concerned about. In looking at the abuse of power in Anthills of the Savannah, we look at Sam, a likeable, charming, intelligent, warm, social networker and a friendly general whose friends are Chris and Ikem. We can compare the bond between the trio with Jonathan and David in the Bible.
Unfortunately, friendship has been bastardized these days. People are now motivated by the pressure of needs. Friendship should be based on love, altruism, magnanimity and care. Because of the pursuit of power, one of the trios, Sam who was hitherto friends turns his back from his other friends and even threatens to kill them. This is why it is often said that power is nothing without control. Arguably, Major Sam does not control the power invested on him.
Betrayal of Trust
Anthills of the Savannah also portrays betrayal of trust in relationships. Achebe tells us that Beatrice is beautiful but not flamboyant. He shows the relationship among Chris, Ikem and Sam on one hand and that of Chris and Beatrice and Ikem and Elewa on the other. The relationship between Chris and Beatrice and that of Ikem and Elewa is healthy. The relationship between Ikem and Elewa is quite significant. Perhaps Achebe is telling us that love breaks all barriers—class, educational differences, tribe and ethnicity. Apart from the domestic relationships, there is also an unhealthy relationship between the so-called third worlds and the West. Every economic summit, bilateral relation and all other of such jargons is a ploy to rip the continent off. Unfortunately, it is African dictators that often connive with the West to rape the continents of its numerous resources. 
However, the greatest form of betrayal of trust is revealed in Anthills of the Savannah when Major Sam betrays the trust repose in him by the people of Abazon. He misunderstands their peaceful demonstration as an act of rebellion and insurrection that needs to be crushed with a military might.  Again, I think that Major Sam has betrayed his friends who invited him to head the military junta in the first place. Even in death, I don't think that Sam merits forgiveness considering the untold hardship he has subjected Beatrice and Elewa who are now young widows to.
Love and Feminism
Despite the fact that Beatrice is Chris's girlfriend, Major Sam would want to sleep with her. Beatrice would not succumb to his advances. Beatrice seems to be a type cast on whose sensibility the destiny of the entire nation is hinged. She has a sense of religiosity. Her character is unique. She seems to draw her strength from all sources—a first class graduate from a western university and a product of a mission school. Achebe takes time to describe her.
In order to silence his critics, especially the feminists, Achebe has time to portray a few women realistically in Anthills of the Savannah. Beatrice is an epitome of an educated African woman who takes active part in political and social affairs while Elewa is a typology of the passive housewife.
Anthills of the Savannah also talks about oppression. This is very true as we recall the fracas between Chris and the soldier which later leads to Chris death. The masses are always tolerating the excesses of those in power. Achebe touches on the issue of a few being rich at the expense of the masses.
Again, the age-long oppression of women is revealed in Ikem's so-called love-letter to Beatrice. In his letter, he carefully recants the Biblical story of creation and the traditional variant of the same story which makes a woman a culpable scapegoat for causing the fall of man and trying to cause a catastrophe to the planet earth. Although many will not see this popular story of human evolution as a ploy to discredit women in order to oppress them, Achebe, through his mouthpiece, Ikem deems it so. However, to balance issue, Achebe again uses Ikem to advance his argument on human oppression thus:
The women are, of course, the biggest single group of oppressed people in the world and, if we are to believe the Book of Genesis, the very oldest. But they are not the only ones. There are others—rural peasants in every land, the urban poor in industrialised countries, Black people everywhere including their own continent, ethnic and religious minorities and castes in all countries. The most obvious practical difficulty is the magnitude heterogeneity of the problem. There is no universal conglomerate of the oppressed. Free people may be alike everywhere in their freedom but the oppressed inhabit each their own peculiar hell. The present orthodoxies of deliverance are futile to the extent that they fail to recognise this. You know my stand on that. Every genuine artist feels it in his bone.  The simplistic remedies touted by all manner of salesmen (including some who call themselves artists) will always fail because of man's stubborn antibody called surprise. Man will surprise by his capacity for nobility as well as for villainy: No system can change that. It is built into the core of man's free spirit. (98-99)
The above exegesis is not only the genesis of oppression but is also the genesis of patriarchal stronghold that put women at the receiving end. Beyond all of these, I see it as Achebe's "love-letter" to women folk.  You see, over the years, many critics have faulted Achebe's negative portrayal of women in his works, especially in his classics: Things Fall Apart.
In order to answer his critics back, Achebe uses Ikem to show how he feels about women and his attitude toward their plight. Personally, I have always argued that Mr. Achebe does not hate women or feel prejudiced against the folks. What he does is to simply present women the way they are and accepted by his traditional Igbo society. I don't know if Achebe's critics would have wanted him to exaggerate his female characters by dressing them in foreign outfits.
Political Instability
Anthillsof the Savannah is a good example of political fervour. It is also historical—it expounds the excessive of military despotism and tyranny. It is also allegorical as power, the central theme of the novel is said to be naked. As a psychological fiction, Achebe uses it to mirror the inner landscape of the heart.
Arguably, political instability has been the bane of African development. From the north to the south, almost all African countries have had their fair share of political instability. As I said earlier, the exit of one oppressive political regime in the continent paves way to the entrance of another, and the cycle continues.
Radical Struggle
Another major theme I have found in Anthills of the Savannah is radical struggle which is ongoing in the continent. When Major Sam becomes a monstrous despot, Ikem and Sam become activists who champion a radical struggle to free the masses from his oppressive tyranny. As it is often the case, the duo becomes the arch enemy of the state who must be martyred for the collective interest, which is personal interest in reality. Like the two men—Chris and Ikem, many political activists have lost their lives in the hands of military despots in Africa.
Anthills of the Savannah also x-rays all forms of corruption—political, moral and social—among the ruling elites. As we see in the novel and as it is in the most military regimes, Major Sam is not accountable to anybody. He squanders the nation's resources on extravagancies and personal aggrandisement. The funds which would have been used to develop the country are squandered on the so-called Presidential Palace which has become the Seat of Corruption.
Again, Major Sam's engagement in public execution which has become obsolete and his attempt to rape Beatrice at the party show how much moral corruption has eroded the continent.
(Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes.)
The Quest for Good Governance: There is no doubt that Anthills of the Savannah centres on the art of governance. Arguably, every society is in a continuum of finding an ideal government which will make every citizen happy. The nation of Kangan, and by extension, Africa or Nigeria is not an exception.
After the coup, Ikem and Chris invite Sam, their boyhood friend and a military officer to take the mantle of leadership but when Sam turns  to a dictator, the duo begin to devise a mean of dethroning him. The quest for an ideal leadership continues amidst tension and stiff opposition by Sam until the demise of the three principal characters including Sam himself. Even after the death of the trio, there is no hope for an ideal government.
I think what Mr Achebe wants us to understand using Anthills of the Savannah as a template is that the act of governance is more complex than we think and the so-called utopian government could be far from reality.
As far as history is concerned the quest for good governance has been the bane of many nations in the world, especially those in Africa. After the extermination of colonialism, neo-colonialism came with its attendant evils. Every successive military regime comes with more oppressive policies and the people continue to fight to their own peril.
(Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colours used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.)
The Drought in Abazon: The drought in Abazon symbolizes the denial of people basic fundamental social amenities. It is a form of punishment for the wrong doers.  This natural phenomenon is used in Anthills of the Savannah to symbolise the natural drought that bad government and inhumane leadership has subjected a people to. Ironically, it is during this time of drought that Major Sam denies the Abazon people access to water as a punishment for not supporting the referendum for his life presidency.
The Death of Chris: Although Anthills of the Savannah is not a religious literature, the death of Chris could be likened to the death of Christ.  Like Christ who died to save humanity (Adam) from their sin so that they might gain eternal life, Chris gives his life to Adamma to save her from the evil sexual nature of the police officer.    
Anthills of the Savannah: In fact, Anthills of the Savannah which is the title of novel is another powerful symbol that I have found in the novel. It seems to me that Mr Achebe uses anthills or termite mounds which are very common in Africa to symbolise independent selfish colonies which African despots have used the sweat of the people to build for themselves.  It is also instructive to know that sometimes Savannah is used to represent Africa. For instance, a breed of wild cat called Savannah Cat and Savannah Monitor (medium sized specie of monitor lizard) have been researched to be native to Africa.
The Newborn Baby: Elewa's newborn baby at the end of the novel is a symbol of hope and regeneration not only for Beatrice and Elewa but also for the people of Kangan.

Chapter One
After Chris has made several attempts to persuade Sam, the Head of State of Kangan to visit Abazon but to no avail, he regrets that his friends have invited Sam to head the military junta in the first place. No sooner the cabinet meeting ended than a group of protesters from Abazon invade the premises of the Presidential Palace. Major Sam is particularly angry at this new development as he lambastes the Inspector General of Police and his Chief Security Officer for not being sensitive enough to have nipped the insurrection in the bud.
This chapter reveals the callousness of African dictators who often see the constitutional rights of a people to express themselves as treasonable felony. For denying them their right to water, the people of Abazon visit the Presidential Palace to claim their rights but Major Sam sees their legitimate demand as an act of insurrection that needs to be nipped in the bud.
Since it is often said that water is life, for denying the people access to water, Sam has also denied them access to life. As far as he is concerned, the people of Abazon should die. This selfish attitude does not make Sam an ideal leader.
Chapter Two
Professor Okong visits Major Sam in his office and informs him about the delegation from Abazon who have come to pay him a solidarity visit and to declare their loyalty to him and his military government. Before he could finish his speech, Major Sam shows his indignation by telling Professor Okong that he also learns that the people of Abazon have come with a petition summoning him to visit their province to see how much damage the drought has caused. Major Sam then tells Professor Okong that he will not go out to address the delegation from Abazon, no matter how loyal their mission may be. According to him, this will serve as a deterrent to other groups who may want to pay him such visits.
After he has convinced Professor Okong with his opinion, Major Sam instructs him to address the delegation on his behalf telling them that the Head of State is too busy to see them.  Before Professor Okong leaves, Major Sam tells him to arrange with a State House photographer who will take a picture of the delegation while he is addressing them and shaking hands with their leader. He also tells him to receive their petition if any and promise them that the President will look into it and respond to it in good time. He however warns him that no information about the petition should be published and there should not be any television coverage. Professor Okong tries to win cheap popularity with the Head of State by telling him that he feels some of his commissioners are not loyal to him but the Head of State dismisses him as a gossip.
After Professor Okong has left, Major Sam summons his Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to his office and asks him about the intelligence reports he has received that his Commissioner for Information is no more loyal to him. With some reservations, the Attorney-General confirms that he does not think that Chris is hundred percent behind His Excellency. He goes on to give startling personal opinion to win cheap affection and to make Major Sam hate his boyhood friend the more but Major Sam dismisses him for want of concrete evidence to his claim.
Again, we see in this chapter one of the political gimmicks and insincerities which characterised most governments—military or democratic. Despite his dogged resolution to punish the people of Abazon for not supporting him to become a life president, Major Sam orders Professor Okong to attend to the delegation from Abazon off camera and to give them false hope that their petitions will be looked into. If you think that the petitions will be swept under the carpet, your guess is as good as mine.
Chapter Three
Chris calls Ikem on the telephone and asks him to send a photographer to the Reception Room of the Presidential Palace to cover a goodwill delegation from Abazon. After a few objections, Ikem promises to oblige. Amidst the heavy traffic, Ikem drives speedily to the Presidential Palace.
Chapter Three reveals yet another paradox in the act of governance. While Chris sees the visit of the delegation from Abazon to the Presidential Palace as a goodwill delegation, Major Sam sees it as an act of insurrection to be condemned. This different mentality and orientation marks the genesis of personal conflict between these two boyhood friends who now find themselves in the same boat of leadership.
Chapter Four
Earlier in the day, Ikem had picked up Elewa to his house to have fun with her and now it is quite late in the night. She has to go back to her house since Ikem does not always want her to spend a night in his house. They have to wait for a taxi to show up since the battery of Ikem's car is down. As they wait for the taxi, Elewa, who does not like the idea of her going back home instead of spending the night with Ikem, continues to nag and pester him in Pidgin.  Amidst the nagging, a taxi finally shows up and as Ikem bids Elewa goodbye, he is happy to regain his freedom.
After a sad coverage of a public execution at a beach, Ikem writes an editorial appealing to the Head of State to amend the Public Executions Decree and the Head of State does accordingly but Chris argues that the gesture of the Head of State has nothing to do with Ikem's compelling editorial. To give vent to his anger, Chris calls Ikem into his office and rebukes him for his 'insensitive' editorials and vouches never to defend him at the cabinet meetings but Ikem promises never to relent.
Although Ikem and Chris are responsible educated leaders in Kangan, their sinful sexual relationship with their girlfriends is a stain on their personalities. Although many may not see anything wrong with men keeping girlfriends, it is indisputable that we don't expect men of their calibre to be so irresponsible. Again, many feminists may interpret the relationship between these men who are highly placed in the society and their so-called girlfriends, as an act of oppression and subjugation against women. Although we often see Beatrice helping Chris to fine-tune his political antenna, as far as Ikem is concerned, Elewa is only reserved for sexual gratification.
Chapter Five
Chris, Betrice, Ikem and Elewa pay a visit to Mad Medico who treats them to a curtail party with Dick, his visitor from England. After they have left, Chris and Beatrice are now left alone and Chris shares his experiences with Beatrice.
This chapter shows the social intercourse which often takes place among African ruling elites and their western counterparts. During such parties, like the type we witness in this chapter, African leaders would throw caution to the winds and drink to stupor with their western counterparts.
Chapter Six
Major Sam invites Beatrice to a private dinner at the Presidential Guest House at Abichi Lake. After Beatrice and other guests have been treated to sumptuous meals and drinks, Major Sam takes her to the dance floor and when he is fully charged, he takes her by the hand to the balcony to have sex with her. Beatrice resists Major Sam and tells him of similar experience she has had in London. Major Sam furiously storms away leaving her alone on the balcony.
Although it has often been argued that men are pathological sexual animals, one would not have expected Major Sam to descend so low to attempt to rape his subordinate. Again, this attempted rape does not only reveal the universal nature of man but also show how morally bankrupt a military regime could be. Since Major Sam does not have a wife or a girlfriend, I may be tempted to conclude that he is sexually loose and irresponsible. 
Again, many morally sound people would salute the courage of Beatrice not give in to her randy boss. Arguably, not all women would be as courageous as Beatrice in a moment of temptation and "opportunity" like this. Many women in Beatrice's shoe would see it as an opportunity to win the affection of the Head of State while many may have to give in to keep their jobs. I may not have much evidence to say that Beatrice resistance is to protect her common law marriage with Chris, but I can say that she would still resist Major Sam's sexual demand even if she were not in a relationship.
Chapter Seven
Beatrice returns from Gelegele market this Saturday but she feels too tired to cook. Agatha, her housemaid has gone to her Sabbath church as usual. Beatrice therefore finds a comfortable place and sits. She begins to reminisce her girlhood experiences with her parent and her relationships with Ikem and Chris.
Personally, I see this chapter as the making of Achebe's central female character in Anthills of the Savannah. While reviewing her childhood and her present status in Kangan, Beatrice tells the world that whatever and whoever she is in the novel is the creation of the author.
Chapter Eight
A few days after Beatrice has returned from the private dinner organised by Major Sam, Chris visits her to ask about her experience at the party. Beatrice first feigns angry at Chris's uncaring attitude of not calling or visiting her earlier. Chris however apologises to her when he discovers that she is crying. To reconcile, they have sex and lunch together.

After a few sexual bouts, Beatrice tells Chris how Major Sam made an attempt to rape her. This news makes Chris feel infuriated at his boss's randy behaviour. In order to pacify him, Beatrice tries to divert Chris's attention to the need to reconcile with his friend and subordinate, Ikem. Chris is too reluctant to bring himself to talking terms with his erstwhile friend. However, Chris feels trapped in the very cabinet he once cherished but he sees no better alternate to staying put.
Although it is natural for Chris to feel angry at Major Sam's attempt to rape Beatrice, we expect him at the same time to appreciate and salute Beatrice's resolve not to give in. However, Chris does not say anything to encourage Beatrice's courage. This oversight is not only proud but also patriarchal. 
Apart from his sinful sexual relationship with Beatrice, Chris's refusal to reconcile with his boyhood friend, Ikem also reveals another human weakness in him.
Chapter Nine
The leaders of Abazon pay a visit to Major Sam at the Presidential Palace but the Head of State would not meet them in person. They leave the palace and heads for Harmoney Hotel where they hold another solidarity meeting for Ikem, the Editor of the National Gazette, who is also an indigene of Abazon.
After the meeting, Ikem goes out to where he parked his car and a policeman on duty at the hotel accuses him of not putting on his parking lights. Ikem explains that there was no need for parking lights since there are many electric lights in the premises. Despite his sound argument, the errant police constable collects his particulars and asks him to report at the Police Traffic Department the following Monday.
When Ikem visits the Police Traffic Department, the Police Superintendent lambastes the errant officer, apologises to Ikem and asks the officer to return his particulars.
Although it is often said that the police are callous, the attitude of the Police Superintendent at the Police Traffic Department shows that not all members of the force tolerate callousness.  Perhaps the point Mr Achebe tries to make here is that even in an irresponsible and corrupt military regime, there are few people in uniform who still possess some sense of sanity and fair judgment like the Police Superintendent. However, one may also argue that the Police Superintendent does so because of the position of Ikem in the society. If we accept this argument, we can also conclude that the randy police officer wouldn't have shot Chris if he had known that he was the former Commissioner for Information.
Chapter Ten
While preparing to visit Mad Medico with Elewa, Ikem is greeted by two men who turn out to be taxi drivers. One is the Chairman of the Taxi Drivers' Association while the other, who leads the way, happens to be the taxi driver who drove Elewa home from Ikem's house a week earlier. The purpose of their visit is to apologise to Ikem for their unbecoming attitude towards him when Ikem had a little scuffle with the chairman of the taxi union in the traffic. They also praise Ikem's bold attempts to address the plight of the dregs of the society through his pen. As they leave, they pledge Ikem their unflagging support.
This visit is very significant to Ikem because those words of appreciation and encouragement from the taxi drivers are the first and the last Ikem receives before his death. Their appreciation shows how Ikem's editorials have addressed the plight of common people.
Chapter Eleven
Sequel to the security reports that Ikem has conspired with his townsmen from Abazon to scuttle his government; Major Sam summons Chris to his office and orders him to serve Ikem a letter of suspension. Chris, who does not see any tangible proof why his colleague should be suspended, refuses to sign the letter and threatens to resign from the cabinet. Major Sam threatens to deal with him if he resigns. Later in the day, Ikem is served with a letter of suspension signed by the purported Chairman of Kangan Newspapers Corporation, publishers of the National Gazette. Ikem visits Chris with the letter and the estranged friends begin to plan how to avert the danger looming on them.
It is amazing to know that Ikem and Chris come to talking terms when Major Sam's regime becomes a threat to their lives and that of the entire nation. Naturally, one would expect them to speak in one voice to fight their common enemy. This is no time to keep malice. The two men now know who their enemy is.
However, I am not surprised at Major Sam's attitude to his boyhood friends. Such is the power drunk. Even in the Bible, when King Saul saw David (who once helped him to kill his enemy) as his enemy, he began to devise means to kill him. Again, this is why men are often regarded as political animals and in animal kingdom, cannibalism is natural.
Chapter Twelve
Ikem delivers a soul-searching lecture at the main auditorium of the University of Bassa. The title of his lecture is "The Tortoise and the Leopard—a Political Meditation on the Imperative of Struggle". After his short lecture, which Ikem actually calls a meditation, the audience cry out for more. Ikem then encourages the audience to ask questions so that he can expound his message. After he has lambasted the excesses and political wantonness of public office holders, he then uses the forum to propound his self-styled new radicalism, which he wants the people to embrace.
Again, he moves on to give a fair share of his candid opinion on the excesses and corrupt practices of government employees and even university students such as hectic billing procedures, theft, arson, tribalism, rioting, religious extremism and electoral merchandising.
After the lecture, which has now encroached into mid-night, the chairman thanks Ikem for his stimulating and scintillating lecture but admonishes him and other literary activists in the so-called Third World to always try to proffer solution to the numerous social ills they have denounced.
This chapter records some of the activists' activities of Ikem which make him dearer to the people and a deadly enemy of Major Sam. In fact, he is assassinated after this outing. Ikem symbolises numerous activists who have been martyred by corrupt and wicked military regimes all over the world and Africa in particular.
Chapter Thirteen
Ikem's soul-searching lecture continues. While answering some of the question thrown at him by the audience, Ikem proposes the head of the president should be removed from the national currency if his image is put in the nation's currency. The press understands his message as a call for regicide. As usual, Major Johnson Ossai, Director of SRC swings into action as he summons mad Medico, whom he thinks, has some relationship with Ikem, for interrogation and consequently, deportation. Not quite long the Army Council announces his (Major Ossai's) promotion to the rank of full colonel.
When Chris gets the full detail of Mad Medico's deportation from Kangan, he tries to reach Ikem but to no avail. He visits him only to discover that he is not in the house, which is now in shambles. Upon enquiry, Chris learns from Ikem's neighbours that some men, who purportedly came from the State Research Council, came to pick Ikem up in army jeeps the previous night.
After contemplating the whereabouts of Elewa, Ikem's girlfriend, Chris tries frantically to speak with the President, the Attorney General or Major Ossai about the abduction of Ikem but to no avail. Professor Okong, on the other hand, denies knowing anything about the matter. Later in the day, the Directorate of State Research Council issues a bulletin announcing the treasonable plot by Ikem and his foreign allies to destabilize the country. The news also has it that Ikem has had a scuffle with the security officials and as a result, he has been fatally wounded by gunshot. As a result, the Kangan Military junta set up a high-level inquiry to look into the purported scuffle between Ikem and the security guards who were sent to carry out his arrest for question.
After listening to the news bulletin, Chris leaves to a hideout where he summons some foreign journalists to counter the lie of the military junta who have killed Ikem. Not quite long, Chris is declared a wanted person by the military junta. Colonel Johnson Ossai calls Beatrice to ask about the whereabouts of Chris but Beatrice denies knowing his whereabouts.
Meanwhile the lie by the National Gazette to frame up Ikem has infuriated the Student Union members who publicly burn copies of the National Gazette which publishes the so-called regicide called by Ikem. They also write to the Editor of the same magazine demanding an apology for the calumnious and sensational headline about Ikem which they see as insult to students and their guest lecturer.
The Student Union leader meets Chris in his hideout and he gives him his article to counter the lie by the government about Ikem. The Student Union leader who sees this dastardly act by the military junta as suicidal promises to run two thousand copies of the article to be distributed to the students.
After his meeting with the Student Union leader, Chris grants an interview by the BBC and accuses the Kangan military junta of murdering Ikem with the false pretext that he died in the custody. The next day, the BBC correspondent who has granted Chris an interview is deported but the Student Union has already taken up the case demanding the immediate dismissal of Major Ossai and judicial inquiry into the death of Ikem. In the riot that ensue between Kangan Mobile Police sent to arrest the Student Union leaders and the students, the government announces an indefinite closure of Bassa University.
The man-hunt for Chris continues even as Beatrice tries to console Elewa just to pacify her own grief. No sooner has the duo lie down to sleep than some soldiers and police detectives drive in to search Beatrice's flat as the ultimate search for Chris continues. After an hour of thorough search, they leave without discovering the object of their search.
This chapter could be said to be the anticlimax of Anthills of the Savannah. Now that Ikem is killed and the manhunt for Chris has resumed, the reader is quite curious to know what is going to happen next. However, I'm not surprised at the turn of events in this chapter. In a military regime, one act of assassination always leads to another and to another, and to another and the cycle continues until all the so-called enemies of the State have been eradicated. This is exactly what we see in this chapter.
Unfortunately, one major event that serves as a catalyst for Ikem's death is the sensational headline about Ikem's call for regicide published by the National Gazette of which Ikem was the former editor. It is sad to know that whoever coined such an inciting headline neither respects nor protects their former boss.
Chapter Fourteen
While Beatrice is preparing for work, a voice over the telephone advises her to tell Chris to move farther to save his dear life but she cannot tell whether the advice comes from a friend or a foe. Recovering from several fits of apprehensions, Beatrice summons enough courage to go to work but she has to return by a taxi because she mistakenly locked her car keys inside.
During the conversation Beatrice has with the taxi driver who visits Elewa, she learns that the Taxi Union members are going to protest against the gruesome murder of Ikem.
After Chris's last hideout has been raided, Beatrice has a short conversation with him telling him about the situation in the house. Chris is perhaps a bit relieved when he learns that there is not much trouble in the house with Beatrice. 
Returning home later in the day, Beatrice feels pity for Elewa when she sees her eat dry bread served her by Agatha without an omelette. Beatrice is particularly disturbed by Agatha's overt wickedness despite her regular show of religiosity.  While watching Elewa eat, Beatrice sinks into deep thought reminiscing the backgrounds of the two women—Elewa and Agatha.
As the chapter ends, Beatrice is particularly troubled by two recent developments, (1) the news published by the National Gazette that Chris has left the country in a foreign airliner bound for London disguised as a Reverend Father and wearing a false beard and (2) a police statement declaring Chris wanted in connection with the recent coup plot in the country. She sees these two developments as a ploy by the dastardly government of Major Sam to execute Chris just the way they did Ikem.
Again, all these plots, lies and character assassination are the disadvantages of military regimes. The only way to hang Chris is to give him a bad name.
Chapter Fifteen
After the announcement by the police declaring Chris wanted, he decides to move out of Bassa for fear that some of his benefactors may hand him over to the police in order to buy their peace. He arranges with Emmanuel, his aide-de-camp, to move out of the GRA to the northern slums under the care of the taxi-driver, Braimoh.
After a brief arrangement, Chris is disguised and he travels to the north of the country in Braimoh's taxi leaving behind Emmanuel to rejoin him later. After they have passed three road blocks successfully, they come to the fourth where they are stopped by one of the soldiers on duty. Fortunately for Chris, the tired and grumbling officer cannot discern his true identity. After a friendly interrogation, Chris and his companion are allowed to go.
Like Jonathan in the Bible who tried to save David's life from Saul, Emmanuel and Braimoh are godsends who help Chris to escape from the domain of Major Sam, his mortal enemy. But very little do these men know that a deadly fate still await their friend.
Chapter Sixteen
After a night of brief reunion with Beatrice who has come to say goodbye to him, Chris leaves on a bus rather than in Braimoh's taxi in order not to draw unnecessary attention to himself. On their way to his self exile, Chris continues to reflect on the inscriptions on various parts of the luxurious bus on which they travel. He ponders on the high level of intelligence of the less educated artists who have inscribed such soul-searching words.
The inscriptions that Chris reads on the luxury bus are very common in major cities across Africa but the irony is that many drivers and conductors of such buses always behave in a way that questions their understanding of such inscriptions. Again, we should not forget the fact that it is not these drivers or their assistants that wrote those inscriptions since many of them are only hired to manage the buses. However, the point Mr Achebe is making here is that these so-called semi illiterate transporters are capable of profound and philosophical thoughts that can arrest any intellectual mind like Chris.
Chapter Seventeen
After they have travelled for more than five hours, the driver pulls up at the market town of Agbata where the passengers ease off. Chris and his companions disembark from the bus and join the other passengers to have a meal at a nearby restaurant.
After all the passengers have gone back onto the bus, Chris and other passengers resume their journey and get to a crowded rowdy scene where traffic is at a standstill. Upon an enquiry, Chris discovers that a crowd of police officers on duty and civilians have stopped a truck loaded with beer and have gathered to celebrate the sudden overthrow of the military government.
In the frenzy orgy, a police officer tries to rape a girl and Chris tries to rescue her and in the process, he is shot dead by the drunk police officer. In anger and despair, Braimoh runs after the trigger-happy cop but cannot apprehend him.
The chaos in this scene is a symbol of the chaotic state of the nation of Kangan. Sad enough, Chris is the first victim of the chaos. The frenzy orgies of the police officers here is also very natural in a moment of crisis in a nation. This attests to their humanity. In fact, the police are celebrating the demise of Major Sam's regime. We see this happen many times in Africa when a military junta is overthrown. Many civilians often think that all the officers in uniform are direct beneficiaries of a military regime but the truth is often revealed when there is another coup.
Chapter Eighteen
Twenty-four hours after the coup, Major-General Ahmed Lango takes over as the new Head of State. He orders a state funeral for Chris but Beatrice is too distressed to attend the state burial of her husband. Not quite long, Braimoh and Emmanuel return with Adamma, a girl for whom Chris died. Beatrice's apartment soon becomes a temporary home and centre of political debates for her visitors who have been part of her life in recent time.
A week after Chris's burial, Beatrice summons enough courage to resume work but she is still hunted by the frightening thoughts of her irreparable losses. When Beatrice learns that Elewa's mother may not show up for the naming ceremony of Elewa's baby, she volunteers to conduct the naming ceremony. After a careful appraisal of the situation and circumstances of the baby's birth, Beatrice names her Amaechina which literarily means May-the-path-never-close. Immediately after the child has been named, Elewa's mother and her uncle arrive. When they learn that the baby has already been named, Elewa's mother demand a refund of the items she has bought for her brother to conduct the naming but her brother ignores her and goes straight to perform the kola nut ritual pronouncing good times ahead of the baby.
This last chapter of the novel begins a new chapter in the lives of Beatrice and Elewa and all the people of Kangan. With the coming of a newborn baby, there is a glimmer that the path of Chris, Ikem and the people of Kangan will never close.

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