A Man of The People: Chapter Summaries

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A Man of The People: Chapter Summaries
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Post Icon A Man of The People: Chapter Summaries

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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.  He recognizes and remembers Odili, who is a teacher in the village.  He invites him to come stay withi him in the city. The corruption and the politics are introduced.-  would a sensible man “spit out a juicy morsel that good fortune placed in his mouth.”- showing tip of tongue to sky to swear oath?  

Chapter 2
Background on Odili and Else, his friend with benefits.  Also meet his friend Andrew.  Odili is firm in his aspirations and his work to keep his actions ‘clean.’  He will not stoop to cronyism to get the scholarship to London that he desires.  There is a universal disdain among politicians for education abroad, however Nanga still looks forward to his upcoming honorary law degree from a small college in US.- Objectification and devaluation of women shown in anecdotes.

 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’s mother died giving birth to him—there’s shame associated with this.  Odili and Nanga visit Chief Koko, who handles education abroad, but they don’t get a chance to discuss the scholarship. - After independence the value of education becomes inverted.  Proximity to power is most important. - Corruption feeds and multiplies bureaucracy and vice versa.- OHMS, which the elite don’t use. (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.  Americans John and Jean stop by.  Jean flirts shamelessly with Nanga while her husband highbrows it with Odili.  Jean and John work in public relations for Nigeria in their efforts with the U.S.- Good details about racism and lynching in the US to contrast with Nigeria’s problems.   

Chapter 5
Odili goes to Jean’s party and ends up sleeping with her.  He finds that he doesn’t really like her but ask to see her again.  For American, Africans are a novelty, one that they hold apart and distinct from the ‘blacks’ back home.  At the dinner party, Odili has a good time.  Nanga never ends up going because Mrs. Akilo arrives at his home—we find out later that he sleeps with her.- Shaking the fist is a sign of great honour and respect. 

Chapter 6
Odili visits Elsie and sets up a date.  He takes Nanga’s Cadillac which impresses her.  They all go together to a book exhibition to hear Nanga speak.- Objectification of women again. - Jalio wrote fictional Song of the Blackbird 

Chapter 7
Nanga makes a good speech and they return home.  He comments that he likes Jalio after he sees various ambassadors fawning over the author.  They eat dinner and Nanga has sex with Elsie!  Odili loses it when he hears them (she is screaming Odili’s name in a perverse twist) and leaves the house at 4AM.  He comes back in the morning and curses out Nanga and heads to Maxwell’s. - a dash is a small loan or bribe—this destigmatizes corruption—it’s just a small quick thing after all. 

 Chapter 8
Odili plots revenge against Nanga.  Maxwell hold a meeting of the Common People’s Convention (CPC).  While the party has Communist undertones, Maxwell is quick to reject that label.  He reveals that the CPC has an inside man in the current government. -  All the politicians care for are women, cars, landed property.  It’s like a rap video today.  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.  Odili visits Mrs. Nanga and gets Edna’s location and then visits her, saying that Nanga sent him to inquire after her mother (who is in the hospital).  He gives Edna a lift to the hospital on his bike but also crashes it, humorously. - No greater condemnation: taking things till at last the owner (the people) notice. 

Chapter 10
At Christmas, details of major corruption (more than their fair share) break out in the media concerning current government.  The CPC has Odili run against Nanga.  Odili implore Edna not to marry Nanga!  Odili meets a lot of opposition in his campaign.  It’s important that he rejects Josiah’s offer of support.- now we see a dash of a four-story home!- 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.  Through it all, he pines for Edna (probably more than he cares about the CPC).  Nanga approaches Odili’s father and tries to buy off Odili with 250 pounds and a two year scholarship.  Odili firmly rejects this.- “Eating the hills like yam” 

Chapter 12
Maxwell arrives from the city with his CPC staff to drum up support for Odili.  Maxwell admits he took a bribe similar to the one offered to Odili, however, he insists that the bribe carries no weight and he just did it to take the money.  When Odili approaches Edna, she angrily dismisses him.  When the POP finds out that Odili’s father indirectly supported his son’s campaigning, they nearly jail him and levy convenient overdue taxes against him.  Odili’s home village loses their pipes for supporting him.  Odili writes off Edna. 

Chapter 13
In disguise, Odili goes to Nanga’s campaign meeting.  Josiah sees him though and calls him out.  Odili is beaten severely, with only Edna vainly trying to help.  He wakes up in the hospital and ends up winning Edna.  A military coup occurs in the country, overthrowing the government and suddenly Max is a martyr and a hero. - 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.- “but in the affairs of the nation there was no owner, the laws of the village became powerless.” - you’ve lived a good life when someone will shoot your murderer without expecting anything in return. 
 

 

 
(This post was last modified: 02-23-2014 11:47 PM by MyElimu.)
02-23-2014 11:43 PM
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