The Anthills of the Savannah Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, by Chinua Achebe The novel Anthills of the Savanah is a socio-political commentary set in the fictitious nation of Kangan. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this bitterly ironic novel by the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God and The Man of the People is at times more of a. Anthills of the Savannah has ratings and reviews. Blood River by Tim Butcher Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe The Poisonwood Bible by.

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Chinua Achebe has a journalist’s background. He was born a member of the Igbo or Ibo tribe, one of the four main tribes of Nigeria. This background is reflected in his literary works. Chinua’s father was a Christian churchman and he attended elite schools; the Government College in Umuahia and University College in Ibadan.

In he went to England to get his B. The following year he joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Company in Lagos and in complemented his studies in journalism and broadcasting at the BBC in London. Chinua Achebe published his first novel in Things Fall Apart, perhaps his most critically acclaimed novel ever, deals with traditional village life in a late 19th-century Igbo village society.

The story of the book is about the downfall of an old-school authoritative and wealthy village chief named Okonkwo. His demise is in effect linked to the appearance of the white man in Africa and the prevailing theme of the novel is the impact that colonialism had on the traditional African and Nigerian way of life. In order to survive, Okonkwo should have adapted to the new circumstances. He did not adapt, and he did not survive.

Achebe’s wide knowledge of literature is reflected by the fact that he took the name of the novel from a William Butler Yeats poem called The Second Coming, from the line: The same theme of confrontation between the traditional Igbo values and the new colonial situation are dealt with in his next two novels, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God The first book is in effect a continuation of Thing Fall Apart. The main character is Obi Okonkwo, grandson of the previous novel’s tragic hero. He becomes a civil servant in Lagos and, like most other civil servants, succumbs to corruption.

Arrow of God is also about a traditional Igbo village man, Ezeulu, who cannot adapt to the change brought about by colonialism. The Nigerian Civil War broke out in It was a conflict between the Igbo, the eastern tribe; and the other three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. The hostilities resulted in the Igbo founding the independent state of Biafra in eastern Nigeria. The other ethnic groups did not approve of Biafra’s declaration of independence and continued to fight it, one of the major reasons for this being the oil fields that were left inside Biafran territory.

The conflict ended in after the federal forces had starved two million Biafrans to death. Inhe was paralyzed from the waist down in a car crash.

Anthills of the Savannah, Chinua Achebe | Chinua Achebe: Chiā€¦ | Flickr

For a long period of time after Biafra, Achebe did not write any long novels. Anthills of the Savannah was his first novel axhebe Biafra. It came out in23 years after anthjlls previous major work, and it remains his last novel. Over the times, there has been some controversy over the fact that Chinua Achebe writes in English instead of an indigenous African language. This has been said to be in conflict with his critical views of the colonial period.

This is how Achebe defends his choice of language:. Afhebe was antills language of colonization itself. It is not simply something you use because you have it anyway; it is something which you can actively claim to use as an effective weapon, as a counterargument to colonization. The novel is set in a fictional West-African state called Kangan sometime during or after the ‘s.

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The savsnnah is indicated by the fact that the book implies that there are independent states in Africa. Kangan is ruled by a dictatorial president with a military background, a man called Sam. He’s a Kanganese who has received his military training in Great Britain and come back to rule the country with a tight grip and a rather corrupt government. There appears to be no parliament in Kangan, just the president, a Cabinet and the military security service called the State Research Council.

He’s one of the two main characters of the book. He got to know Sam when they were studying together in Britain and the two appear to have been fairly close up till the time anthi,ls Sam seized power in Kangan.

As Commissioner for Information, Chris is responsible for censorship in the country. This is where the main theme and the tension of the book comes from: The Gazette’s editor and the other main character in the book, Ikem Osodi, is Chris’s closest friend, who studied in Britain ov with Chris and Sam.

Ikem writes editorials that are critical of the Kangan government and eventually gets both himself and Chris into trouble. He is an intellectual who sees the problems of the Kanganese common people and feels as if he is one acjebe them instead of being of the elite, which he in fact belongs to.

Ikem is opposed to this elite and grows more and more radical in the course of the book.

The two main female characters of the book are Chris’s girlfriend Beatrice and Ikem’s girlfriend Elewa. Beatrice has also received a British education whereas Elewa is a Kangan girl who has apparently never acheebe abroad, the daughter of a market saleswoman. The contrast between these two women is also one of the themes of this book. The main theme with the characters sagannah the novel is the hierarchical situation of power to which Sam, Chris and Ikem have embroiled and their different characters: Ikem’s flamboyant activist nature opposed to Chris’s reflective intellectual character, which is in turn contrasted with Sam’s straightforward dictatorial rule.

Chinau of the Savannah starts out describing a Cabinet meeting. After the session is closed it turns out that outside the palace there is crowd of people from the province of Abazon who try to get to meet the President.

The people are dissatisfied because, as it later turns out, Sam has caused them to suffer by shutting down water-holes in the province, which is suffering from drought. He refuses to meet the delegation. After this event, Ikem goes to meet the delegation. It turns out that he is in a way one of them, born and raised in Abazon, and has come to be greatly respected by the Abazonians as the famous editor of the National Gazette.

When he leaves achebee Abazonian delegation that day, he is stopped by the traffic police because of some misdemenour. It is later revealed that he was followed by State Research Council agents who needed proof that Ikem had actually visited the delegation in order to later be able to accuse chinuua of treason for siding with the rebellious Abazonians.

Some time after this, Ikem is fired from the National Gazette by orders from the President, who thinks Ikem’s writing in the Gazette is too critical of his “administration”. The President actually wants Chris to do the firing, but he refuses. After being sacked, Ikem makes a radical speech at the University of Bassa the capital of Kangan.

The speech is purposefully misquoted in the Gazette the next day, giving the impression that Ikem wants the President dead.

He’s charged of treason and conspiracy, soldiers come to pick him up from his home and shoot him dead, claiming it was an accident. After this episode, Chris feels he can no longer work under President Sam as Commissioner for Information. He is afraid he is going to wind up like Ikem, and goes into hiding.


A while later, he too is charged with treason and becomes a fugitive for real. After a couple of weeks hiding, he decides to travel away from the capital to the province of Abazon. Upon hearing this he joins a celebration on the street and meets a drunken policeman.

By accident, the man shoots him dead. In Anthills of the Savannah, Chinua Achebe writes about the problems facing newly independent African states. The prevailing theme and the most visible one of these problems is the corrupt, dictatorial rule set up in Kangan Nigeria and most of the other “new” African states that let down the dreams and hopes that were associated with independence.

Although the rulers were no longer European, antuills although they were a lot closer to the people than their European predecessors, they fairly soon distanced themselves from the people.

The first instance of this alienation in the novel is the way Sam deals with the problem of the Abazonian delegation. Chniua of going out to meet them by himself, he assigns achwbe else to do it. The fact that he’s built himself a luxurious lakeside mansion is another representation of this.

Anthills of the Savannah, Chinua Achebe

There is also the theme of oppressive dictatorial rule. The way Sam deals with Ikem is reminiscent of traditional totalitarian states, especially the Latin American juntas.

This is also the case with freedom of speech in Kangan. The paper, apparently the only one in the country, is censored and orders regarding its contents often seem to come straight from the President. Another theme of the book is described in Ikem’s peculiar dilemma. Despite his position as editor of the Gazette, he wants to appear like just another Kangan worker. Therefore he doesn’t ride a company car to work, but drives by himself in fo old beat-up car.

The dilemma is pointed out to him by a taxi driver: The larger problem here is the position of the black, African elite in the new African countries, where the elite has traditionally been of European origin. There was no elite class in the pre-colonial period in Africa. The novel also deals with the theme of being a been-to, an African who has come back to his country after a longer stay in the West.

Savannan main characters are all been-tos and this is reflected in the ways in which they try to position themselves in relation to the “common” Kangans.

An example of this is how Chris relates to Emmanuel, a university student leader; and Braimoh, a cab driver. There is a direct reference to the West in the scene in which Beatrice goes to a party that Sam has organized to impress an American journalist.

Anthills of the Savannah – Wikipedia

The journalist wraps the President and the whole Cabinet around her finger, lecturing them about how Kangan should take care of its foreign affairs and debt. She represents the attitudes of the West to the African countries in general and their unequal standing in world politics. Achebe mentions “the green bottles”. This is a refence to the traditional song “Ten Green Bottles”, which is a simple repetitive song about bottles hanging on a wall and falling down one by one.

The bottles in the book are apparently the main characters of the novel. When he’s dying, Chris tries to say “the last green The novel is in many ways a very political one and Achebe makes a point about delivering a message. I suppose this is a quite common feature in African literature.

Achebe is by no means subtle in delivering his political “agenda”. There are instances in the novel where he makes his points very clearly indeed, the most visible one being the scene where Ikem delivers a speech at the University.