Politics and History in Ben Okri’s the Famished Road
Keywords:Ben Okri, The Famished Road, postcolonialism, magical realism, history, politics.
AbstractIn the post-World War II period, magical realism, as a distinctive mode of fiction, has offered cultural hybridity, transformation and intermingling, and has thus been a significant means of communication for the postcolonial world. It has enabled postcolonial authors to get the chance of observing the world from a different perspective and seeing the truth with a ‘third eye’. The Nigerian-British author Ben Okri’s The Famished Road, which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1991, is one of the postcolonial magical realist novels aiming at viewing the world with a third eye. In The Famished Road, Okri attempts to investigate sociopolitical and historical realities, to understand and solve the paradoxes and secrets of history in the language of magic and dreams. In the novel he connects politics directly with the concept of history; his conception of ‘inviolate’ African consciousness becomes the base for his representation of history. The aim of this study is to scrutinize the ways in which Okri encodes African consciousness versus Western epistemology and reevaluates history. The study tries to analyze how Okri redreams postcolonial potentials for his hometown, Nigeria, by extension for the whole African continent, through magical realism functioning as a third eye in The Famished Road.
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