A psychoanalysis of Therese C. Odigwe’s The survivor and Ngozi O.Orji’s Teenager at war

Published: January 2020

Author(s): Okwum Victor Chimaobi

About Author(s): Department of English and Literary Studies, Spiritan University Nneochi Abia State

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Both novels chronicle the negative effects of the civil war on children, teenagers and youths generally. The chief character in Ngozi Orji’s Teenager at War Louis was in love with his fellow teenager Chioma, Louis was later conscripted into the military to fight on the side of Biafra, while Chioma was helped her mother Mrs Agah with her restaurant business. The place setting of the novel started from Enugu, to Okigwe and Umuahia as the towns fell to the Nigerian soldiers respectively. It was a disastrous end for the tragic-hero Louis, who was tried and executed by the Brifran government for negligence of duty. Also Therese C Odigwe’s The Survivor mirrors the hindrance the civil war posed on the love bond between the chief character Stanley and his fianće Valentina. Though both characters were actively involved in the civil war, Stanley was a pilot while Valentina was a professional nurse who worked with the Biafran Medical Rescue Team, but they survived the survived at last. In this paper, a psychoanalysis of Therese C. Odigwe’sThe Survivor and Ngozi O.Orji’s Teenager at War was carried out with a view to establishing the psycho-response of the characters and to an extent that of the authors to the prevalent situation in both novels which was war. The subject matter of both novels was the Nigeria-Biafra war which took place between 1967 to 1970.The writer x-rayed the relationship between psychology and literature which gave rise to the theory of Psychoanalysis as tool in literary analysis. A foray into the psychology of the characters revealed that pandemic situation orchestrated by the war, stimulated a maladaptive response by virtually all the characters which manifested in the form of fear, insecurity, disillusionment and predatory lifestyles etc.

Keywords:  character, Nigeria, novels, psychoanalysis.