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VERONICA

Adewale Maya-Pearce
Nigerian village
War in Nigeria
Village Life
Lagos
Narrative outline
 Veronica and Okeke grow up ‘together’
but their lives diverge at the age of 12
 Okeke goes to school ‘in the town’ but
Veronica stays in the village
 Okeke becomes a doctor; Veronica looks
after her family – despite brutal treatment
from her father as a child
 Marriage, motherhood, war and death are
all things that Veronica accepts passively
Okeke
 Less poor than Veronica
 Supportive parents
 Different expectations of boys and girls
 Becomes educated but still emotionally
unfulfilled (‘All the women I meet are
only interested in money and cars.’)
 Frustrated at his own inability to help
 Also frustrated and frightened by V’s
fatalism
Veronica
 Expectations of daughters
 Childhood = loss of self-respect
 Passive,fatalistic, accepts her ‘destiny’,
has no ambitions
 Things happen to her rather than with
her active involvement
 Okeke thinks her death is a ‘terrible
waste’
Narrative technique
 First person
 Quiet, understated style
 Importance of dialogue
 Descriptions are spare but suggestive
(“When I got there and saw all the
destruction I could have wept. I had
never imagined anything like it. I went
straight to Veronica’s hut. It was dark
inside and bare save for a figure huddled
on a mat on the ground.”)
Narrative technique
 Village becomes symbol of the lack of
opportunity for people like Veronica
 The river suggests life flowing past the
village’s inhabitants (“And then I dug her
a grave and buried her and afterwards I
watched the flow of the stream until it
was time for me to go away for the last
time.”)
Cultural issues
 Family relationships
 Sons have a better deal tan daughters
 Inadequacy of the state
 Political unrest/war
 Deep-seated beliefs (fatalism)
 Transforming effects of education for the
lucky few