thematic concerns in chimamanda adichie’s half of a yellow sun and isidore okpewho’s the last duty


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This research work examines the thematic concerns in Chimamanda Adiche’s Half of a yellow sun, and Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty with reference to the Nigeria civil war of 1967 – 1970, which led to the death of millions of Nigerians and destruction of properties. Based on the research, the greatest problem of most independent African state is instability, and the causatic agent is tribalism and ethnic rivalry. The work brings to bear the theme of war and violence, love, betrayal, evil rivalry, oppression, societal conflict, poverty and the theme of Nigerian politics as well. It also promises to portray the psychological damages, societal displacement, starvation, and emotional challenges witnessed and felt by innocent Nigerians during the three –year civil war, which is a sum – total of the thematic expression in the research work. Therefore this research work recommenced that government should ensure that tribalism, favouritism, as well as language discrimination, is done away with through campaigns and public programmes.



1.1       Background to the Study                                                                              

1.2       Statement of the Problem                                                                              

1.3       Purpose of the Study                                                                                     

1.4       Significance of the Study                                                                              

1.5       Objective of the Study                                                                                  

1.6       Research Methodology                                                                                   1.7       Scope and Limitation of the study

1.8.1    BioData of Chimamanda Adiche                                                                  

1.8.2    BioData of Isidore Okpewho                                                                        



3.1       Analysis of Half of a Yellow Sun                                                                   

3.2       Thematic Analysis of Half of a Yellow Sun                           

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3.2.1    The Theme of Colonialism and Nigerian Politics                                        

3.2.2    The Theme of War and Violence                                                                   

3.2.3    The Theme of Love                                                                                        

3.3       Style and Narrative Techniques                                                                     

3.4       Characterization                                                                                             


  4.1     Analysis of The Last Duty                                                                             

4.2       Thematic Concerns in The Last Duty                                                            

4.2.1    The Theme of Betrayal                                                                                  

4.2.2    The Theme of Ego and Over-ambition                                                          

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4.2.3    The theme of Evil of Rivalry                                                                        

4.2.4    The Theme of the Evil of War                                                                       

4.2.5    The theme of Oppression                                                                               

4.2.6    The theme of Societal Conflict                                                                      

4.2.7    The Theme of Poverty                                                                                   

3.4       Style and Narrative Technique                                                                      

4.4       Characterization                                                                                             


5.1       Summary                                                                                                        

5.2       Conclusion                                                                                                    

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                         

Works Cited

thematic concerns in chimamanda adichie’s half of a yellow sun and isidore okpewho’s the last duty


1.1       Background  to the Study

 The Nigerian civil war, better known as the Biafra war of 6th  July, 1967 15th January, 1970, was war fought between the government of Nigeria, and the secessionist state of Biafra which represents the Nationalist aspirations of the Eastern Nigerians, whose leadership feeds they can no longer coexist with the Northern –dominated federal government.

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The conflict results from political, economic, cultural and religious tensions which proceeds Britain’s formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 – 1963. The immediate causes of the war in 1966, includes a military coup, a counter – coup, and persecution of the Easterners living in the Northern Nigerian, as well as the control over oil block in the Niger Delta.

On January, 15th, 1966, Nigerian actually experienced a coup , soldiers assumed control of the government, abolishing all democratic institutions, suspending the constitution and ruling by decree. Another coup takes place a few months later, which gives rise to military dictatorship in Nigeria. Events Nigeria becomes deeply embroiled in the ethic civil war, which inspires (The Last Duty) by Isidore Okpewho and (Half of a yellow sun) by Chimamanda Adichie.

On May 30th, 1967, Ojukwa declares the Eastern region to be a separate country from Nigeria, and names the new Nation the “Republic of Biafra”, with four African countries: Zambia, Tanzania, Gabon, Ivory Coast in full support, and on that 30TH May1967, Nigeria declare war on the secessionist state of Biafra, under the Slogan, “To keep Nigeria one is a task, which must be done”. 

In The Last Duty the political slogan is echoed as “To keep Zonda one, is a task which must be done”, and zonda is a fictional name for Nigeria. This begins the Nigeria civil war of 6th July 1967 – 15th January 1970, a conflict that drags for 30 months.

One dilemma on both sides is how to treat families with heritages in both Nigeria and Biafra. This problem is most acutely in border towns where people of different ethnic groups have intermarried and intermingled for decades. Generally, families with members of different ethnic groups on different sides of the war, experiences hard times establishing their unquestionable loyalty and in the end many of them splits up and returns to their individual places of origin rather than living under daily suspicion of their loyalty to a particular side. This type of families is at the root of the crisis in Okpewho’s The Last Duty and Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a yellow sun.

The civil war begins and people not born in the territories in which they find themselves, are at the mercy of their neighbors, who may trump up allegations of sabotage and collaboration with the enemy. Many innocent lives are lost to such charges, the means, as evident in the two texts, by which some malicious people settle old scores.

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Random clashes between different ethnic groups have been a fact of life since independence. There have been various attempts to accommodate diverse ethnic interest in government and to achieve equity in power sharing and the distribution of amenities, but ethnic jealousies rivalries, suspicious, and mistrust still abounds.

From the aforementioned, the research work seeks to bring to bear the thematic concerns of the war, as seen in Adichie’s Half of a yellow sun and Okpewho’s The Last Duty. The work also brings to line light the societal disorder, emotional pains, conflicts, injustice and psychological damages that are experienced by the Nigerian citizens (Eastern Nigerians) during the three year civil war of 1967 – 1970.

thematic concerns in chimamanda adichie’s half of a yellow sun and isidore okpewho’s the last duty

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The declaration of the Eastern region to be a separate country from Nigeria, termed the “Republic of Biafra” on 30th My, 1967, led to the Nigeria civil war of 1967 – 1970 which is the cause of the researcher’s interest on the effects and consequence of the war on the individual and the society as general.

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