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Half of a Yellow Sun


Half of a Yellow Sun Love and Race/Class Relations as the Seeds of War and its Resolution Joyce Chen and Kate Liu, Fall, 2011 The trip to Kano (1): Olanna and her ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun
  • Love and Race/Class Relations as the Seeds of War
    and its Resolution

Joyce Chen and Kate Liu, Fall, 2011
  • I. Introduction
  • Nigeria-Biafra war
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and the novel
  • II. Chap 1 Ugwus Education
  • III. Chap II Relations between
  • Olanna and her family
  • Olanna and her uncles family
  • Olanna and Odenigbo
  • Seeds of Independence and Conflicts
  • IV. Notes References
  • V. Next Time

Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970)

NigeriaBasic Data
NigeriaBefore Colonization
  • circa 11th century onwards - Formation of city
    states, kingdoms and empires.
  • 1472 - Portuguese navigators reach Nigerian
  • 16-18th centuries - Slave trade
  • 1809 - Single Islamic state - Sokoto caliphate -
    is founded in north
  • 1850s - British establish presence around Lagos.

Nigeria Colonization to independence
  • 1861-1914 - Britain consolidates its hold over
    what it calls the Colony and Protectorate of
    Nigeria, governs by "indirect rule" through local
  • 1923-Western-educated elites established the
    first political party NNDP the rise of
    independence movement
  • 1960 - Independence, with Prime Minister Sir
    Abubakar Tafawa Balewa leading a coalition
  • 1964-First national election

Nigeria-Biafra WarCauses
  • Race-Religion Tribalism to regionalism
  • Religion and Ethnic differences
  • Hausa-Fulani feudal society governed by Muslim
    Sharia. Conservative, undeveloped, yet most
  • Yoruba feudal society governed by oba (monarch)
  • Igbo republic system, governed by titled men.
    Convert to Christianity and enjoy the highest
    literacy in English during colonization
  • Economy the discovery of oil reserves
  • Direct cause
  • Coup in 1966
  • genocide in the north 30,000 people of Ibo/Igbo
    ethnic origin were killed

Part 1 http//www.youtube.com/watch?vJ3ReFoFp0Gs
346 three tribes
Nigeria-Biafra War International Intervention
  • Recognition Gabon, Haiti, Côte d'Ivoire,
    Tanzania (the first) and Zambia
  • A continuous power wrestling between ex-
  • Interest of oil
  • Fear of Balkanization (seccesionism)

The end of the War Air raid, blockade,
Starvation, and Ojukwus exile to Côte d'Ivoire
Part 4 http//www.youtube.com/watch?veppgEVwxCfk
featurerelated 412 starvation
  • Different perspectives of the researches on the
  • Civil war meaningful or meaningless?
  • Why/ How do we (non-Nigerians) study the war?
  • How is the war presentedby American films such
    as Blood Diamond, The Last King of Scotland, and
    by African novels and documentary such as

End of the war http//www.youtube.com/watch?vrZT
puVlKJ_Qfeaturerelated 600 Biafran Govt in
Exile http//www.youtube.com/watch?vrZTpuVlKJ_Qf
Literary Presentation of the war Earlier
  • Witness memoirs / diaries
  • Wole Soyinka (1934-)
  • The man Died Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka
  • Elechi Amadi (1934-)
  • Sunset in Biafra A Civil War Diary
  • Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-95)
  • On a Darkling Plain An Account of the Nigerian
    Civil War.

Literary Presentation of the war Earlier
  • Allegory/fictions/ Poems
  • Chinua Achebe(1930-)
  • Girls at War
  • Christmas in Biafra and other poems
  • Christopher Okigbo(1932-67)
  • Labyrinths with Path of Thunder
  • Flora Nwapa (1931-93)
  • Wives at War and Other Stories.
  • Never Again.
  • Buchi Emecheta (1944-)
  • Destination Biafra .

Literary Presentation of the warYounger
  • Dulue Mbachu
  • War Games
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
  • Uzodinma Iweala
  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Chris Abani
  • Song for Night

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • born (after Biafra war) in 1977
  • the family's ancestral hometown is Abba (where
    Odenigbo comes from)
  • grew up in Nsukka,
  • left for the United States at the age of 19
  • Got her BA degree in communication and political
    science at Eastern Connecticut State University,
    her master's degree in creative writing at Johns
    Hopkins University
  • Purple Hibiscus (2005)
  • Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)
  • Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007

Source http//www.l3.ulg.ac.be/adichie/
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Why write?
  • because I wanted to write about love and war,
  • because I grew up in the shadow of Biafra,
  • because I lost both grandfathers in the
    Nigeria-Biafra war,
  • because I wanted to engage with my history in
    order to make sense of my present, many of the
    issues that led to the war remain unresolved in
    Nigeria today,
  • because my family my father has tears in his
    eyes when he speaks of losing his father, because
    my mother still cannot speak at length about
    losing her father in a refugee camp,
  • because the brutal bequests of colonialism make
    me angry,
  • because the thought of the egos and indifference
    of men leading to the unnecessary deaths of men
    and women and children enrages me, because I
    don't ever want to forget.
  • (source youtube http//www.youtube.com/watch?vQ
    O8ZEtyuiZM )

Half of a Yellow Sun
  • Three major characters
  • Olanna born of an upper-class family, a teacher
    at Nsukku U. before the war
  • Uugwu Odenigbo's household servant from the
  • Richard Churchill a British writer and
    journalist, lover of Kainene kaineinei

Why the title Half of a Yellow Sun
  1. Commemorates Biafra
  2. The sun can be a rising sun, or a falling sun.
  3. Who and what can survive the war?

The Novel and the war
  • (1) The characters as witnesses
  • Olanna -- witnesses the killing of Igbos in the
    streets of Kano, including some of her family
    (her uncle and aunt)
  • Richard -- sees the killing of Igbos in the
    airport while waiting for a plane
  • Ugwu forced to serve in the army, where he
    witnesses and gets involved in the violence of
    wartime (e.g. raping a woman).
  • -- heard that the Nigerian soldiers had promised
    to kill five percent of Nsukka academics.

Structure the Theme of War and Love
  • Parallel between two time lines
  • Early Sixties Part I, III (climax),
  • Late Sixties Part II (massacre? war breaking
    out), IV
  • 8 chapters end with a fragment from The Book The
    World Was Silent When We Died
  • Two kinds of family and national wars, trauma,
    and how to survive both.
  • (2) The characters as survivors and/or writers.

The Book in the Novel
  • e.g. At Independence in 1960, Nigeria was a
    collection of fragments held in a fragile clasp.
  • e.g. Nigeria did not have an economy until
    IndependenceBut the new Nigerian leaders were
    too optimistic
  • Who wrote it?
  • Title from Richard (This war isnt my story to
    tell, really 530)
  • A poem modeled after Okeamas poems
  • Ugwu wrote his dedication For Master, my good

photos in sixty-eightOf Children with their hair
becoming rustSickly patches nestled on those
small heads,Then falling off, like rotten leaves
on dust?Imagine children with arms like
toothpicks,With footballs for bellies and skin
stretched thin.It was kwashiorkordifficult
word,A word that was not quite ugly enough, a
sin.You neednt imagine. There were
photosDisplayed in gloss-filled pages of your
Life.Did you see? Did you feel sorry
briefly,Then turn round to hold your lover or
wife?Their skin had turned the tawny of weak
teaAnd showed cobwebs of vein and brittle
boneNaked children laughing, as if the
manWould not take photos and then leave, alone
  • Chap I

Reminder Place Names
  • setting of chaps 1-2 Nsukka ? Lagos ? Kano
  • (Kainene Port Harcourt, running her fathers
  • Odenigbo from Abba

War Game Jos? Amafor
Reminder Character Names
  • Olanna
  • sister Kainene (45) boyfriend Richard
  • father Chief Ozobia mother (42-43) Chief
  • uncle Mbaezi aunt Ifeka daugher Arize
    (49) --Hausa friend Abdulmalik (50)
  • ex-boyfriend Mohammed
  • boyfriend Odenigbo
  • Ugwu

Chap 1 Ugwus Education
  • Ugwu as a villager
  • What aspects of the town Nsukka and Odenigos
    house are new to Ugwu?
  • Where does Ugwa keep his traditional thinking?
  • Do we see similar responses to modernity in chap
    2 (p. 34)?
  • Ugwu as a houseboy
  • How does Ugwu settle down and win the masters
    heart? Is he completely obedient?
  • What makes him special as a houseboy? How does
    he learn from Odenigbo and his colleagues?
  • Where do you see the seeds of Biafra independence?

Ugwu as a villager
  • Ugwu -- the town Nsukka and Odenigos house
  • Street (3)
  • The house too much space (5), bookshelf, ceiling
    too high and white (5), tap fridge (7), bulb
  • Masters wearing slippers (7), Ironing the socks
  • chap 2 (p. 34)the older womans response to the
    landing airplane
  • Ugwas traditional thinking
  • Desirous and Sexist a) keeps chicken in his
    pocket 2) Nnesinach -? Anulika (9-10)
  • Wary of the traders in the North
  • Literal-minded Cannot understand the analogy the
    Master makes (12)
  • Blames all on Evil spirit (17) curses those he
    doesnt like (16)
  • Believes in dibias power e.g. using arigbe to
    win the masters heart.

Ugwu as a houseboy
  • The Masters emphasis on education
  • (13-14) Education is a priority
  • Different from the other houseboys (21)
  • Ugwu attentive and open to learning
  • Careful in learning the rhythm of Masters life
  • Reads the books though not understanding them
    completely (21)
  • Listens to the talk of Odenigbo and his
    colleagues (21-) All Ugwu needed was the deep
    voice, the melody of the English-inflected Igbo,
    the glint of the thick eyeglasses (26)
  • chap 2 learning to cook from Olanna

Ugwu as a houseboy (2)
  • Ugwu personally involved, he cares about both
    Odenigbo and Olanna.
  • Dislikes Ms. Adebayo (26)
  • Cursing her at first (27)
  • Finds the masters English to be dignified and
    like music, and Olannas, magic (27-28)
  • Attentive to their interactions (pp. 30-31)

Seeds of Independence and Survival
  • Independence
  • Intellectuals comments on racial inequality in
    American South, South Africa
  • pan-Africanism vs. pan-Igbo idea-- The only
    authentic identity for the African is the tribe
  • (24-25)
  • Survival
  • Ugwu imitates the Master (25)
  • Ugwu Feels confirmed (tall) by Olannas smile
    appreciates her inner strength like a polished

  • Chap II

Olanna and her family
  • How do you describe Olannas parents class
    background and social position? (clues airport
    scene, Lagos Life and the meeting with Chief
  • How is Olanna related to her parents, and her
    sister Kainene? (36-46)
  • From their interactions, could you tell what the
    parents expect of Olanna and Kainene differently?

Olannas Family rich but cold and distanced from
one another
  • Well-known and glamorous
  • airport scene recognized by the ticket seller,
    who invites her to the VIP lounge (33)
  • Lagos Life (41) a picture of her and her mother
    (Olanna does not feel comfortable about being a
    part of the gloss that was her parents life
  • the meeting with Chief Okonji.
  • the father has a construction company, which
    usu. gives the government 10 as a bribe.
  • They want her to marry one of these famous people
    in order to improve their business (43)

Kainene vs. Olanna
  • (36-46)
  • Kainene critical/acerbic (????), sharp and
  • Calls her a sex bait (44) So will you be
    spreading your legs for that elephant in exchange
    for Daddys contract (44)
  • Calls Odenigbo Olannas revolutionary lover
  • The two drifted away since their 2nd-school
    years (45)
  • a clue to future (dis-)connection Richard (44)

The trip to Kano (1) Olanna and her uncles
  • What makes Olanna close to her uncle and aunt?
  • What types of racial differences, relations
    and/or antagonism does Olanna encounter in her
    uncles (e.g. her meeting uncles Hausa friend,
    her conversation with Arize), and then with her
    ex-boyfriend, Mohammed?

Olanna and her uncle and aunt
  • Uncle Mbaezi light-complexioned, earthy (47),
    admired by Olanna because of his differences from
    her mother
  • Aunt Ifeka breastfeeding O and K always kills
    a hen when O visits
  • Arize (49) gives her an excited hug,
  • a Hausa friend gives her a pair of slippers
    friendly. Olannas parents look artificial by
  • The whole household noisy, lively and intimate
  • Olannaavoids looking at the cockcroach eggs or
    worrying about the choking smoke (51)

The seeds of Independence
  • Igbo Uncle about The Igbo Union
  • Igbo Union Grammar School (47)
  • Anti-colonialist Odenigbo critical of
    Europeans views of Africa Hegel calls
    Africa a land of childhood (62) ? If Europe had
    cared more about Africa, the Jewish Holocaust
    would not have happened. (62)
  • Okeoma the function of WWII (63) realizing
    that white man was not mortal.

Seeds of Conflict (1) Racial Differences
  • Arize
  • lack of appreciation of Ijaw culture and their
    stockfish (51) cheap or delicious for Arize?
    Mischievous or condescending?
  • About a man from Abba so ugly (52)
  • looks forward to getting married, but definitely
    not to a Hausa man
  • Mohammeds mother used to be standoffish, speak
    stiffly (57)

Seeds of Conflict (2) Olanna and Odenigbo
  • How did Olanna get to know him? Is their
    relationship sex-driven only?
  • Olanna A mixture of ideal and sex.
  • Mohammed youre a nationalist and a patriot,
    and soon you will marry your lecturer the freedom
    fighter (58)
  • Their sex being interrupted, she is reluctant to
    go meet his colleagues. (62) Her connection to
    life is later also a means of survival.
  • But she talks more when feeling threatened by Ms.
    Adebayo (64)

Tentative Conclusion a collective history
written about/by
  • Intellectuals who are idealist but beaten
  • Igbo mathematician, poet (in the group are also
    one from the Caribbean, one from America, one
    from India)
  • Foreigners Some indifferent and some
  • Susan escapes.
  • Dr. Patel -- Indian doc. who never eats kola nut
    but appreciates the joke
  • Richard a friendly foreigner who is sympathetic
    but still an outsider.
  • Olanna in between her interest in intellectuals
    debates and the joie de vivre
  • Ugwu in between his traditional thinking and
    learning from the masters.

Notes (1) Black German Holocaust
  • Heroro people In 1904, the Heroro tribe of
    German South-West Africa revolted against their
    colonial masters in a quest to keep their land
    the rebellion lasted four years, leading to the
    death of 60,000 Heroro tribespeople (80 of their
    population). The survivors were imprisoned in
    concentration camps or used as human guinea pigs
    for medical experiments
  • the Rhineland of 1936 Hitler retaliated against
    the African soldiers' occupation by targeting all
    Black people living in the Rhineland first. In
    particular,Germany's 24,000-member Black
    community was the number one focus for Hitler's
    sterilisation programme. (source)

Notes (2)
  • Kola nut (??? ) -- offspring of the cola tree
    that grows in Africa, South America and the West
    Indies. Chewing this nut is a favorite pastime
    of natives who claim it diminishes fatigue and
    thirst and (for some) has aphrodisiac properties.

Note (3) Kwame Nkrumah
  • (21 September 1909 - 27 April 1972) was an
    influential 20th century advocate of
    Pan-Africanism, and the leader of Ghana and its
    predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to
  • attempted to rapidly industrialize Ghana's
    economy. He reasoned that if Ghana escaped the
    colonial trade system by reducing dependence on
    foreign capital, technology, and material goods,
    it could become truly independent. Unfortunately,
    industrialization hurt the countrys cocoa
  • As his government was overthrown, and Nkrumah
    deposed, Ghana fell from being one of the richest
    country in Africa to one of the poorest.

  • http//www.historians.org/Tl/LessonPlans/nc/Trask/
  • http//www.nathanielturner.com/rememberingbiafraal
  • Hawley, John. Biafra as Heritage and Symbol
    Adichie, Mbachu, and Iweala. Research in African
    Literatures 39.2 (2008) 15-26. Print.

Next Time 1.2
  • The first four chapters -- A childs experience
    of escaping from a city to a countryside.
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