The Mythopoetics of Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah

John Aning, Confidence Gbolo Sanka, Francis Elsbend Kofigah


The objective of this paper is to investigate how Chinua Achebe uses myth making as an attempt to address the leadership problem of his country, Nigeria. Many writers have identified leadership as the greatest problem of many countries in Africa. Consequently, Achebe uses symbolism and a language full of violence to portray the levels of corruption and abuse of power in the novel.  In this paper, we present a myth criticism of Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah by looking at how the novelist deconstructs Biblical and traditional stories to show that women should be given a greater political role alongside men to chart a new course of development. Achebe’s novel is dominated by the myth of the Pillar of Fire which he takes from the Bible and the Idemili myth which he takes from the traditions of his people. At the end of the deconstruction of these two myths, the only viable alternative left is the all-inclusive group led by the priestess of Idemili and hope is finally enshrined in the baby girl Amaechina. 


Bible, corruption, deconstruction, metaphor, myth making, Nigeria, political leadership, tradition

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