The fact that the short story is a neglected genre is well established and does not need to be restated here. What needs to be stated, perhaps, arising out of curiosity is that despite the numerous calls for critical interest in the short story, not many responses have been recorded. He concludes that these stories rate favourably with the best in the world Tony Afejuku and Adekunle Mamudu establish the destabilizing effects of diseases in Africa, especially in the midst of superstitious beliefs drawing exemplifications from the stories in the collection. They examine the depth of dislocation caused by disease at three levels—the individual, family and community—as portrayed in three stories in the collection.

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Taken from his Girls at War and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Achebe may be exploring the theme of struggle. Though the madman can go to the local market he prefers to travel to Eke because he knows that it is a bigger market. Despite it being a struggle and a two day journey to Eke the madman is dedicated when it comes to traveling to the market.

He overcomes the obstacles of the lorry drivers on the road who frown upon him walking in the middle of the road. Also the young children who shout at the madman as he makes his way to the market. The madman ignores them and remains determined to reach the market.

If anything Achebe may be suggesting that the madman is not only prepared to incur difficulty in order to reach the market but he remains determined regardless of what may happen.

Though ironically at the end of the story what happens the madman on the way to the market is life changing in a manner that he does not expect. Achebe also appears to be exploring the theme of appearance. Nwibe longs to be a member of the honoured hierarchy in the village and there is a sense that by becoming a member of the village hierarchy Nwibe will be more respected by others.

This may be important as it suggests that appearance is important to Nwibe. Despite the conflict that exists between two of his wives Udenkwo and Mgboye Nwibe is determined to advance within the community. To be as respected as those who are already part of the local hierarchy. Though again as the story progresses there is a further sense of irony when it becomes clear to the reader that rather than being respected by the local hierarchy Nwibe is ignored by them.

No one seems to believe his story that his clothes have been robbed by a madman and instead each character in the story views Nwibe as the one who is mad. No longer is he viewed upon as being a successful businessman rather he is treated as if he is insane. Even though the reality is very much different. How affected Nwibe might be is noticeable by the fact that he no longer acts the same.

He becomes quiet, withdrawn and begins to avoid engaging with those in the village. Which may be very natural considering that he has fallen from quite a height. Having once been respected in the village this is no longer the case. It is also possible that Achebe is suggesting that regardless of the individual should the majority of people disbelieve a person or go against them. They too like Nwibe will find it difficult to live their lives as they have previously done.

The end of the story is also interesting. Any plans he had to join the ranks of the local hierarchy have been lost. All due to a misunderstanding. Not only has Nwibe lost the ability to advance further within the community but any position that he did hold in the community may also have been lost. However what is really noticeable at the end of the story is that Nwibe regardless of the perception of others still attempts to be initiated by the local hierarchy. This may be important as it suggests that the determination that Nwibe showed at the beginning of the story by travelling to the market has returned.

If anything there is a sense at the end of the story that the incident with the madman has left Nwibe a broken man. Nwibe is to continue his life struggling to get back to the position or place he once held or knew. While at the same time having to accept that those in authority in the village may never change their perception of him.

Cite Post McManus, Dermot. The Sitting Bee, 12 Nov. Related Posts:.


The Madman by Chinua Achebe

And not any dusty, old footpath beginning in this village, and ending in that stream, but broad, black, mysterious highways without beginning or end. After much wondering he had discovered two such markets linked together by such a highway; and so ended his wandering. One market was Afo, the other Eke. The two days between them suited him very well: before setting out for Eke he had ample time to wind up his business properly at Afo. He passed the night there putting right again his hut after a day of defilement by two fat-bottomed market women who said it was their market stall.


The significance of Chinua Achebe’s short stories – Part 1

According to this literary perspective, reinforced by other African works on the subject, madness is more plural than published, but merely a matter of degrees, the dominant definitions and classifications themselves being only the opinion of the voiced majority. Kontein Trinya, Ph. Although the choice, structure, and exegetic possibilities of metaphors have been as diverse and infinite as creators of art have been different and countless, metaphors of madness have been prominent in literatures from early times, notwithstanding the peculiarities of writers, cultures, regions and periods. Farther back in history and tradition, we find the Bible account of King David who feigns insanity as a means of escape from enlistment into the Philistine army against his own people of Israel. Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? Modern African literature, particularly drama, has also had its share of explorations into this universal theme of madness.


Chinua Achebe

Biography[ edit ] Chinua Achebe was born on 16 November The Achebe family had five other surviving children, named in a similar fusion of traditional words relating to their new religion: Frank Okwuofu, John Chukwuemeka Ifeanyichukwu, Zinobia Uzoma, Augustine Ndubisi, and Grace Nwanneka. Storytelling was a mainstay of the Igbo tradition and an integral part of the community. A controversy erupted at one such session, when apostates from the new church challenged the catechist about the tenets of Christianity. Achebe later included a scene from this incident in Things Fall Apart. One of his classmates announced to the professor that the only enjoyable moment in the book is when Johnson is shot.



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