Sozaboy

There are a couple of things that stand out to me about the Ken Saro’s Sozaboy, not the least of which is the Englishes in which it is written. North’s article was particularly interesting beacause of its treatement of intranslatability and the intentional omission of proper place names. His argument implies, if we read Mene as representative of a people, that Ogoni/Dakuna, was unaware of the implications of the oil trade surronding it.  I’m fascinated by how the innocence and the loss of innocence is constructed via ‘rotten english’ and a hyperfocus on marriage. I don’t know that Mene’s age is ever stated explicitly, but his naivete is underscored repeatedly by how Agnes mocks his uncontrolled ‘snake,’ by his consistent misunderstandings of what war is and what it means, and by moments like the one in which Bullet tells Mene that they’re going to the front and Mene only understands that word to mean the front of the bus.

Another element of the novel that takes my attention  is the treatment of Dukana’s religious and political leaders as turncoat figureheads. I understand Saro-Wiwa to satirize the church by presenting it as a place that fails to protect, and I recognize the insuffciency of the institutions of local government and of faith (namely marriage) by Mene’s continual reflection on the Cheif as a deceitful sychophant. There are useful connections to be made between the desertion of the church in Dukana, the last few pages of call/response between Duzia and Mene and the final image of the perpetual fugitive narrative (or man without a land) that the novel ends with.

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