Aug 19 2020

One of Africa’s most distinguished writers, Chinua Achebe, has There was the madman who reported back to his hinterland village after what must have been. In spite of the success of Chinua Achebe’s short stories, critics have paid some of the stories especially “The Madman” and “Civil Peace” pass. In his short story, “The Madman”, Prof. Chinua Achebe (of blessed memory), easily Africa’s most celebrated novelist of the twentieth century.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. According to this literary perspective, reinforced by other African works on the subject, madness is more plural than published, but merely a matter of degrees, the dominant definitions and classifications themselves being only the opinion of the voiced majority.

Although the choice, structure, and exegetic possibilities of metaphors have been as diverse and infinite as creators of art have been different and countless, metaphors of madness have been prominent in literatures from early times, notwithstanding the peculiarities of writers, cultures, regions and periods.

Farther back in history and tradition, we find the Bible account of King David who feigns insanity as a means of escape from enlistment into the Philistine army against his own people of Israel. Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence?

MUST READ!: The Parable Of The Madman (1)

Modern African literature, particularly drama, has also had its share of explorations into this universal theme of madness. Even though madness finds a place in the title of the play, it is not essentially the subject of investigation.

Are you here to work or fool around? He got that way through the brainwashing of his therapist, the Old Man and father of the Specialist himself. Unfortunately, because Achebe does this in a short story, it has received little critical attention. It is the burden of short stories the world over, irrespective of their creative worth, that they often get comparatively less attention in literary conferences and critical essays.


The significance of Chinua Achebe’s short stories – Part 1

The story opens with the madman through whose rationalizing mind we see the preliminary scenes of conflicting perceptions. He learns thereafter to plan his day and avoid the conflict. Not him, but their mother.

It is another eventful market day. On the way, he notices some young ladies going in the opposite direction from the traffic to the market; they are returning from the stream with water pots on their heads.

He goes down the stream. There he finds a naked man bathing.

It is Nwibe, who had gone to wash off the hot afternoon sweat from the work on his farm, after which he would proceed to the market. From this climax, the roles are reversed for the tragic.

Short Story Analysis: The Madman by Chinua Achebe – The Sitting Bee

He is conspicuously isolated by his nudity. Chiua famous traditional therapist is consulted to recover Nwibe of his tongue-tied madness; he declines. The story has a structure of three prominent parts with gray boundaries. In the first, we see the world through the disoriented mind of the man popularly designated mad because he is unclothed.

The final part is an epilogue, coming after the conflict between Nwibe the epitome of societal norms and the naked madman at the other extreme. In this part, everyone is implicitly invited to make a judgment not merely on Nwibe and the nameless erstwhile madman but on the very definition and modes of materialization of madness.

The story presents a conflict of perspectives expressed in the conflict of archetypal personalities. In it, Achebe raises several profound rhetorical questions: Is it simply the unfeeling public display of nudity, according to popular African and specifically Igbo judgments?


If we should say so, did the madman become sane merely because and when he covered his nakedness, even though his reasoning remained unchanged?

The insider or the outsider? Could we, according clinical psychiatry, define madness merely as mental and behavioural disorder? Or might there also be metaphysical explanations for certain kinds of eccentricities? In the traditional Igbo worldview, yes; which is why cure is sought for madness from as far as the land of spirits.

The position is perhaps more clearly expressed in Judeo-Christian theology in which madness is the consequence of the intervention of demon forces, as would be evident from the account below: I beseech thee, torment me not. For oftentimes it had caught him: And he said, Legion: The story also raises the apparent poser of degrees of madness.

In other words, that given the right provocations, many a sane person would betray their measure of madness. Modified Saturday, September 01, 7: Princeton University Press, The King James Version.

The Madman by Chinua Achebe

Madness in Literature and History. January 04, Last Updated: Tragedy in mwdman Anglophone West African Novel. Modified Saturday, September 01, 8: Monday, July 25, 2: July 21, Last Updated: Our Husband has gone Mad Again. Madness and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare. Three Crowns Books, Insanity in Medicine dhinua Literature. University of Michigan Press, Saturday, September 01, 8: Chinua Achebe and the Politics of Remembering. May 07, Last Updated: Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link.

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