This study is set out to analysis the issues of poverty, class stratification and social injustice in Olu Obafemi’s Wheels and Festus Iyayi’s Violence. The purpose is to enlighten Africans on the need to fight against all forms of social injustice. The Marxist theory is adopted for the analysis of this study. The result is that the quest for a classless society is the only way for a better living.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TITLE PAGE i
1.0 Introduction 1
1.1 Statement of Research Problem 2
1.2 Purpose of the Study 3
1.3 Scope and Limitation 3
1.4 Justification 4
1.5 Research Methodology 4
1.6 Authors’ Background 5
2.0 Literature Review 8
3.0 POVERTY, CLASS STRATIFICATION AND SOCIAL INJUSTICE IN OLU OBAFEMI’S WHEELS
4.0 POVERTY, CLASS STRATIFICATION AND SOCIAL 35
INJUSTICE IN FESTUS IYAYI’S VIOLENCE
5.0 FINDINGS, SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 45
A writer is supposed to perform certain duties to the upliftment of his society. Perhaps this accounts for various roles that both writers and critics have ascribed to modern African writers. Ngugi says:
I believe that Africa intellectual must align themselves with the struggle national idea… perhaps in a small way, the African writer can help in articulating the feelings behind this struggle. (Ngugi, 1975:50)
Nigerian writers have pursued different themes amongst which are cross-cultural conflicts, the African past, corruption in politics, social injustice, which also include; poverty, exploitation, oppression, marginalization, class struggle and class stratification. Achebe argues that the novel is a:
Form of fiction has seized the imagination of many African writers and they will use it according to their differing abilities, sensibilities and vision without seeking anyone’s permission. I believe it will grow and prosper. I believe it has great future. (Achebe, 1981:54)
Apparently, the events of the Nigerian political system have caused Nigerian writing to shift in themes. Therefore, a writer who tries to avoid the big social and political issues of contemporary African society will end up completely irrelevant because his work would have no impact on the people and society.
Such work becomes irrelevant like the writer himself to the society and the people because he has failed to address any of the important issues at stake. Therefore art should not just be for the purpose of exploring its beauty just as the formalist school of thought posits. It should contemplate the society and expose the ills in the society and as well define a solution for these ills just as the Marxist would argue.
The Marxist concern emerges out of the need to find a lasting solution to class stratification and a society free of oppression. Fortunately, this quest is not in vain as a good number of writers in Africa are involved in various ways in the struggle for the negation of the neo-colonialism and the alienating effect of capitalist lordship in African countries. Among these African writers are Olu Obafemi and Festus Iyayi. Olu Obafemi uses his novel Wheels to mirror the society and as well fight for the cause of the poor, just as Festus Iyayi has done in his novel Violence. He uses his protagonist Idemudia to narrate the plight of the poor who suffer from social injustice and are placed in the lower cadre of the society.
Marxism, like every other modern theory of writing is universal and since it can be used in quest of freeing the society from corrupt practices, Africans should then, not be left out as the decisive development of African literature. Marxism consists of the rise of a tradition of radical thinking in general, and with strongest ideological alignment.
At the level of general theory of development in question, it is a vindication of the generalization that in a class society, literary movements are inevitable, if not automatic outgrowth of class society and political directions.
Statement of Research Problem
Every research work poses as a problem that needs to be resolved, which bring about the questions as to how these problems that arises will be solved. The sole aim of the researcher is to find answers that will best solve these problems. Therefore this research will by the end have answered questions like:
1. What is Marxism?
2. How has the gap between the rich and the poor evolved?
3. What is poverty and class stratification and why is it regarded as social injustice?
In an attempt to provide appropriate answers to these questions the researcher will carry out thorough investigations on the Marxist theory thereby making references to the work of other researchers and scholars who have worked on Marxism. Also the works of Festus Iyayi and Olu Obafemi, as earlier stated, will be used as well.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to shed more light on the issues of class stratification, social injustice, and poverty and how African writers like Olu Obafemi, Festus Iyayi, Ayi Kwei Armah, Isidore Okpewho, Ngugi wa Thiong’o have used literature as a tool for the eradication of poverty and to breach the gap between the rich and the poor.
Also, in the light of these issues been faced in Africa, the aim of this study is to also bring to the reader’s notice the importance of fighting to get out of poverty in a dignifying manner and not allowing the oppression and exploitation of the bourgeois just as Festus Iyayi uses the character, Idemudia, in Violence to explain this, as well as how Olu Obafemi explores these issues in Wheels.
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