A Man of the People

A Man of the People

by Chinua Achebe

By the renowned author of "Things Fall Apart," this novel foreshadows the Nigerian coups of 1966 and shows the color and vivacity as well as the violence and corruption of a society making its own way between the two worlds.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.87
  • Pages: 160
  • Publish Date: August 16th 2016 by Penguin Books
  • Isbn10: 0385086164
  • Isbn13: 9780385086165

What People Think about "A Man of the People"

The story revolves around a young educated man, Odili, and his relationship with Chief Nanga, a corrupt, swaggering Minister of Culture in an unnamed country. After a falling out, Odili plans an elaborate revenge, involving Nanga's young wife and the recent elections. It is easy to say, "This book is an allegory" - there's politics as the most brutal infighting, the young and educated versus the old and traditional, the power and brutishness of corruption, and so forth. Achebe savors personal tics, details, dialects, and especially little ironies.

Chinua Achebes 1966 novella, A Man of the People, was selected by Anthony Burgess as one of the best novels in English since 1939. It is present day (1966) in an unnamed African nation and a well educated man is about to meet the countries leader, Chief the Honourable M. A Man of the People contains two firsts for Achebe as a novelist: this is the first time he attempts comedy and satire much of the doom and portent of Things Fall Apart has now gone and this is also the first time he has chosen to write in the first person. Knowing and now seeing firsthand how Nangas government is betraying the common man, Odili and his friends strive to do something about it: That first night I not only heard of a new political party about to be born but got myself enrolled as a foundation member. The unnamed country of this novel is almost devoid of white men, and though the political figures in this work have all had a British education, though are not keen to retain those Western ideals. The country in this novel is one the white men have clearly abandoned as was done all over Africa in reality so that tin-pot dictators such as Nanga can come to power and be overthrown by another power hungry figure indecently quickly. Achebes novel is a deeply satirical one, in tune with modern African politics that retains much of the resonance it must have had for a 1960s audience as it does to us, forty years later.

But then the narrator, an idealistic young man in his twenties, decides to stand up to a bully, though for some of the wrong reasons.

This story chronicles the politics of African states, and it's eat-and-let-eat leaders.

Achebe's Man of the People Notes, Discussion and Summary from my For Unofficial Use Only Blog This novel takes place in 1964 examines the institutions of Nigeria. Without understanding that Chief Nanga is a man of the people, the story does not work. It's important that Nanga is the only character that talks to the people. It's important to note that Achebe writes in the first person, a departure from his previous novels. Chapter 1 Chief Nanga (Minister of Culture) comes to his hometown (village) of Anata. He is "a man of the people." Background on his rise to power. Chapter 3 Odili goes to Nanga's and is welcomed warmly. Background on Odili's father, a district interpreter--a powerful and hated man with five wives and 35 children. Odili and Nanga visit Chief Koko, who handles education abroad, but they don't get a chance to discuss the scholarship. (Our Home Made Stuff) - the gap between power and previous life is so huge that it feeds corruption Chapter 4 Mrs. Nanga gets ready to leave with the children to visit her village, which they do at least once a year. Chapter 5 Odili goes to Jean's party and ends up sleeping with her. Nanga never ends up going because Mrs. Akilo arrives at his home--we find out later that he sleeps with her. - Jalio wrote fictional Song of the Blackbird Chapter 7 Nanga makes a good speech and they return home. Chapter 8 Odili plots revenge against Nanga. Case in point: - some in the older generation wish the white man had never left - "it is only when you are close to a man that you can begin to smell his breath" Chapter 9 Odili goes back to Anata and we hear the story of Josiah, the bar-owner who took too much. The CPC has Odili run against Nanga. Odili implore Edna not to marry Nanga! - we also see that the wooden masks are now a game played by drunkards and children - we see Odili enjoying the fear in another person--enjoying power - whereas a telegram might take 3 days to reach the country, rumour took a day or less Chapter 11 Odili gets bodyguards as the campaign gets vicious. - "Eating the hills like yam" Chapter 12 Maxwell arrives from the city with his CPC staff to drum up support for Odili. Odili's home village loses their pipes for supporting him. Chapter 13 In disguise, Odili goes to Nanga's campaign meeting. - corruption equated with "a warrior eating the reward of his courage" at throwing the white man out - the people had nothing to do with fall of government--it was unruly mobs and private armies.

Though cynical, this book is an excellent, excellent read.

He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Achebe writes his novels in English and has defended the use of English, a "language of colonizers", in African literature. Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of values during and after the colonial era.