Investigating conflict between the individual and the community in African fiction.

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Khondowe, Grey
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University of Zambia
This study sought to investigate conflict between the individual and the community in African fiction, namely No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, and Bitterness as primary texts. The main objectives were to investigate the nature and causes of conflict between the individual and the community. Focus was placed on how characters who portray their individuality are portrayed, and why they are portrayed in the manner they are, in the selected African novels. In addition, the study endeavoured to investigate how these individuals react to the way society responds to them. The study adopted the qualitative, desk research methodology, making use of three selected African novels: No longer at Ease, Arrow of God, and Bitterness. Secondary texts were also made use of. The study found that individuals who express their individuality are portrayed in a negative manner and presented as being antagonistic and social misfits because there is a great sense of community in African societies. The study futher revealed that these characters are portrayed in such a negative manner because individuality is misunderstood to mean non conformism to societal values, and taken as being confrontational and counterproductive. Besides that, the study showed that these individuated characters who are alienated by their societies and communities tend to be resigned to their fate and the conflict ensued. Such characters, more often than not, end as tragic heroes. The research also revealed that individuated characters are usually highly intelligent and skilled, industrious individuals. Based on these research findings, individuality should be celebrated rather than condemned.
Social conflict in literature.. , Politics in literature. , War in literature.