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The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho Pdf 118: A Review and Analysis of the Novel



- Who are the main characters? - What is the author's background and perspective? - What is the significance of the title? H2: Summary of the plot - How does the novel begin? - What are the main events and conflicts? - How does the novel end? H2: Analysis of the themes - How does the novel explore the human cost of war? - How does the novel portray the role of women in war? - How does the novel criticize corruption and injustice? - How does the novel reflect the cultural diversity of Nigeria? H2: Evaluation of the style - How does the novel use the collective evidence technique? - How does the novel use language and dialogue? - How does the novel use symbolism and imagery? H2: Conclusion - What are the main points and insights of the article? - What are some questions and challenges for further discussion? H2: FAQs - Where can I find The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho pdf 118? - When was The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho published? - What are some other novels by Isidore Okpewho? - What are some other novels about the Nigerian civil war? - How can I learn more about Nigerian history and culture? Table 2: Article with HTML formatting ```html The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho: A Novel of the Nigerian Civil War




The Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran war, was a brutal conflict that lasted from 1967 to 1970 and claimed over a million lives. It was fought between the federal government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra, which was mainly inhabited by the Igbo ethnic group. The war was sparked by political, economic, and ethnic tensions that had been simmering since Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960. The war had devastating effects on both sides, as well as on civilians who were caught in the crossfire, displaced, or starved.




The Last Duty By Isidore Okpewho Pdf 118


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The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho is a novel that depicts the human drama and tragedy of this war, through the eyes of different characters who are affected by it in various ways. The novel is set in a village in Simbia, a fictional name for Biafra, that is occupied by federal troops. The main characters are Aku, a young woman whose husband is imprisoned for suspected rebel activities; Major Ali Idris, a humane and compassionate federal officer who tries to maintain order and peace in the village; and Toje, a corrupt and greedy local chief who exploits the war situation for his own benefit. The novel follows their lives, struggles, and interactions as they cope with the realities and challenges of war.


The author of The Last Duty is Isidore Okpewho, a renowned Nigerian novelist, poet, and scholar of oral literature. He was born in Asaba, Delta State, in 1941 and educated at St. Patrick's College, Asaba, and later at the University of Ibadan, where he earned a first-class honors degree in classics. He worked as an editor for Longman publishers before pursuing an academic career. He obtained his Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Colorado in 1974 and joined the University of Ibadan as a professor. He later moved to the United States and taught at several universities, including Harvard, Cornell, and Binghamton. He died in 2016.


The Last Duty is Okpewho's second novel, published in 1976. It won him the African Arts Prize for Literature in 1977. The novel is based on his personal experience of the civil war, as he witnessed the horrors and atrocities that took place in his hometown of Asaba, where federal troops massacred thousands of civilians in 1967. The novel is also informed by his scholarly research on oral literature and African culture, as he incorporates elements of folklore, myth, and history into his narrative. The title of the novel refers to the moral obligation and responsibility that each character faces in the midst of war, as they have to choose between their conscience and their survival.


Summary of the plot




The novel begins with a prologue that introduces the main characters and the setting. Aku is a young and beautiful woman who lives in a village in Simbia with her husband Odibo and their son Oshevire. Odibo is a schoolteacher who is arrested by federal troops for allegedly being a rebel spy. Aku is left alone to fend for herself and her son, as she faces harassment and intimidation from the soldiers and the villagers. Major Ali Idris is the commander of the federal troops stationed in the village. He is a kind and fair man who tries to protect Aku and other civilians from abuse and violence. He also develops a romantic interest in Aku, which complicates their relationship. Toje is a wealthy and influential chief who collaborates with the federal troops and uses his power to exploit and oppress the villagers. He is also attracted to Aku and schemes to make her his wife.


The novel then proceeds to tell the story of each character in separate chapters, using a technique that Okpewho calls "the collective evidence technique". This technique involves presenting the personal statements of each character, as they narrate their own version of events and express their thoughts and feelings. The statements are not direct speech, but rather written accounts that are addressed to an implied audience or tribunal. The technique allows the reader to see the different perspectives and motivations of each character, as well as the gaps and contradictions between them.


The main events and conflicts that take place in the novel are as follows:


  • Aku tries to cope with her husband's absence and her son's illness, while resisting the advances of Toje and the soldiers. She also tries to find out what happened to Odibo and whether he is still alive.



  • Major Ali Idris tries to maintain order and discipline among his troops, while dealing with the hostility and suspicion of the villagers. He also tries to help Aku and other civilians who are suffering from hunger, disease, and violence. He faces opposition from Toje, who accuses him of being soft and sympathetic to the rebels.



  • Toje tries to take advantage of the war situation by hoarding food, selling contraband goods, and extorting money from the villagers. He also tries to get rid of Major Ali Idris, whom he sees as a rival and a threat. He plots to frame him for treason and have him executed.



  • The novel ends with a dramatic climax that resolves the fate of each character. Aku learns that Odibo has been killed by federal troops during a prison break attempt. She is devastated by the news and decides to join the rebels in their fight against the federal government. She leaves her son with Major Ali Idris, who promises to take care of him.



  • Major Ali Idris is arrested by his superiors on charges of treason, based on false evidence provided by Toje. He is taken away for trial and possible execution. He hopes that Aku will be safe and that they will meet again someday.



  • Toje is exposed as a traitor and a criminal by one of his former associates, who reveals his involvement in smuggling arms and ammunition to the rebels. He is also confronted by Aku, who accuses him of being responsible for Odibo's death. He is arrested by federal troops and taken away for punishment.



Analysis of themes




The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho explores several themes that are relevant to the Nigerian civil war and its aftermath, as well as to human nature and society in general. Some of these themes are:


The human cost of war




The novel depicts the devastating effects of war on both soldiers and civilians, who are subjected to violence, death, hunger, disease, displacement, trauma, and loss. The novel shows how war destroys not only lives but also relationships, values, morals, and cultures. The novel also shows how war creates divisions and hatred among people who belong to different ethnic groups, regions, religions, or political affiliations. The novel challenges the notion that war is a noble or heroic endeavor, but rather exposes it as a senseless and brutal waste of human potential.


The role of women in war




The role of women in war




The novel portrays the plight and the resilience of women in war, who are often marginalized, oppressed, and exploited by men. The novel focuses on the character of Aku, who represents the typical woman in war, who has to endure hardship, violence, and loss. Aku is a strong and courageous woman, who tries to protect her family, her dignity, and her identity. She also challenges the patriarchal and sexist norms of her society, by refusing to submit to Toje's authority or to become his wife. She also defies the traditional gender roles, by joining the rebels and fighting for her cause. The novel also shows how women can form bonds of solidarity and support among themselves, as exemplified by Aku's friendship with Rukeme, another woman in the village who suffers from domestic abuse.


The criticism of corruption and injustice




The novel criticizes the corruption and injustice that pervade both sides of the war, as well as the peacetime society. The novel exposes how some people use the war as an opportunity to enrich themselves, exploit others, and abuse their power. The novel also exposes how some people are denied their basic rights, freedoms, and dignity, because of their ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation. The novel condemns both the federal government and the rebel leaders for their hypocrisy, brutality, and indifference to the suffering of the masses. The novel also questions the legitimacy and morality of the war itself, as it seems to be driven by selfish interests rather than by genuine ideals or principles.


The reflection of cultural diversity




The novel reflects the cultural diversity of Nigeria, which is a country with over 250 ethnic groups and languages. The novel shows how this diversity can be a source of richness and beauty, as well as a source of conflict and tension. The novel celebrates the oral traditions and folklore of various ethnic groups, especially the Igbo and the Urhobo, which are represented by Aku and Major Ali Idris respectively. The novel also explores the similarities and differences between these cultures, as well as their interactions and influences on each other. The novel also acknowledges the role of colonialism and modernization in shaping and changing the Nigerian culture and identity.


Evaluation of style




The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho is a novel that employs a unique and innovative style that distinguishes it from other novels about the Nigerian civil war. Some of the features of this style are:


The collective evidence technique




The novel uses a technique that Okpewho calls "the collective evidence technique", which involves presenting the personal statements of each character, as they narrate their own version of events and express their thoughts and feelings. The technique allows the reader to see the different perspectives and motivations of each character, as well as the gaps and contradictions between them. The technique also creates a sense of realism and authenticity, as it mimics the oral mode of storytelling that is common in African cultures. The technique also challenges the reader to form their own judgment and opinion about each character and situation, rather than relying on a single or authoritative voice.


The language and dialogue




The novel uses a simple and straightforward language that is accessible to a wide range of readers. The novel does not attempt to reproduce the dialects or accents of different ethnic groups or regions, but rather uses standard English with some occasional words or phrases from local languages. The novel also uses dialogue sparingly, as most of the communication is done through written statements or internal monologues. The dialogue that does occur is mostly between characters who belong to different ethnic groups or sides of the war, which creates a contrast and a tension between them.


The symbolism and imagery




The symbolism and imagery


The novel uses symbolism and imagery to convey deeper meanings and messages beyond the literal level of the story. Some of the symbols and images that the novel uses are:


  • The title of the novel, The Last Duty, which refers to the moral obligation and responsibility that each character faces in the midst of war, as they have to choose between their conscience and their survival.



  • The names of the fictional countries, Simbia and Zonda, which are derived from the words "simbi" and "zonda", which mean "snake" and "scorpion" respectively in Igbo. These names suggest the venomous and deadly nature of the war, as well as the animosity and distrust between the two sides.



  • The image of the sun, which appears repeatedly throughout the novel, especially in relation to Aku. The sun symbolizes Aku's beauty, warmth, and vitality, as well as her hope and courage. The sun also symbolizes the life-giving and life-destroying aspects of nature, as it can provide light and heat, but also cause drought and fire.



  • The image of blood, which also appears frequently throughout the novel, especially in relation to Major Ali Idris. Blood symbolizes Major Ali Idris's humanity and compassion, as well as his guilt and remorse. Blood also symbolizes the violence and suffering that war causes, as well as the bond and kinship that unites people regardless of their differences.



Conclusion




The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho is a novel that offers a compelling and insightful portrayal of the Nigerian civil war and its impact on human lives and society. The novel explores various themes such as the human cost of war, the role of women in war, the criticism of corruption and injustice, and the reflection of cultural diversity. The novel also employs a unique and innovative style that uses the collective evidence technique, language and dialogue, symbolism and imagery. The novel is not only a historical account of a specific event, but also a universal story of human nature and morality in times of crisis.


FAQs




  • Where can I find The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho pdf 118? You can find The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho pdf 118 online on various websites that offer free or paid downloads of books. However, you should be careful about the quality and legality of these sources. Alternatively, you can buy a physical copy of the book from reputable bookstores or online platforms.



  • When was The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho published? The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho was first published in 1976 by Longman publishers. It was later reprinted by Heinemann publishers in 1981 as part of their African Writers Series.



  • What are some other novels by Isidore Okpewho? Some other novels by Isidore Okpewho are The Victims (1970), which is a tragedy of domestic conflicts; Tides (1993), which is a saga of migration and identity; Call Me By My Rightful Name (2004), which is a story of slavery and diaspora; Blood on the Tides (2014), which is a sequel to Tides.



  • What are some other novels about the Nigerian civil war? Some other novels about the Nigerian civil war are Things Fall Apart (1958) by Chinua Achebe, which is a classic masterpiece that depicts the pre-colonial and colonial history of Nigeria; Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which is a critically acclaimed novel that follows the lives of four characters during the war; There Was a Country (2012) by Chinua Achebe, which is a memoir that combines personal experience with historical analysis; Under the Udala Trees (2015) by Chinelo Okparanta, which is a novel that explores the themes of love, sexuality, and identity in wartime Nigeria.



  • How can I learn more about Nigerian history and culture? You can learn more about Nigerian history and culture by reading books, articles, documentaries, podcasts, or websites that cover various aspects of Nigeria's past and present. You can also visit museums, galleries, festivals, or events that showcase Nigerian art, music, literature, or cuisine. You can also interact with Nigerians or people of Nigerian descent who can share their stories, perspectives, and experiences with you.



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