Satirizing the Use of Children as Soldiers in Africa: An Analysis of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy – a Novel in Rotten English and Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation and the First Half of an Original Novel, Odi’s Odyssey

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Satirizing the Use of Children as Soldiers in Africa: An Analysis of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy – a Novel in Rotten English and Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation and the First Half of an Original Novel, Odi’s Odyssey

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Title: Satirizing the Use of Children as Soldiers in Africa: An Analysis of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy – a Novel in Rotten English and Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation and the First Half of an Original Novel, Odi’s Odyssey
Author: Asaah, Gordon Divine Ntso
Citation: Asaah, Gordon Divine Ntso. 2017. Satirizing the Use of Children as Soldiers in Africa: An Analysis of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy – a Novel in Rotten English and Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation and the First Half of an Original Novel, Odi’s Odyssey. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
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Abstract: This essay on satire of war explores how two African writers, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Uzodinma Iweala, deride the use of children as soldiers in their novels, Sozaboy – A Novel in Rotten English (1985) and Beasts of No Nation (2005), and how these works of fiction have influenced similar satire in my novel, Odi’s Odyssey. In satirizing the dehumanization of children fighting in African wars, Saro-Wiwa and Iweala empower their barely-literate protagonists to tell their harrowing stories in the English language, resulting in a pidginized dialectal concoction that humanizes the characters. Likewise, my novel features a semi-educated African boy who recounts his foray into war in pseudo-English. While Saro-Wiwa and Iweala differ in their execution of satire, they both use literary devices such as language, point of view, characterization, foreshadowing, and tragedy, among others, to entice and then shock their readers with the dreadful plight of child soldiers. Notably, Saro-Wiwa blends lighthearted Horatian satire with blistering Juvenalian satire to tell his cautionary tale of a boy who is tempted to willingly become a child soldier for the wrong reasons, meanwhile Iweala stays mainly on the somber side, using Juvenalian satire to paint a haunting portrait of the abuse of the human rights of a child soldier. Equally, my novel uses Juvenalian satire to depict the unintentional involvement of an ordinary African family in a civil war and terrorism, and its destruction by both. By studying how Saro-Wiwa and Iweala lampoon the use of children as soldiers in their novels, the writers’ influences on my work become apparent.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33813404
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