Destitution and Dissoluteness: A Deconstructive Reading of Ubesie’s Mmiri Ọkụ E Ji Egbu Mbe

Published: SEPTEMBER 2021

Author(s):

Ogechukwu F. U. Chukwuneke, Chinedu C. Ezebube & Chioma M. Akaeze

**Chinedu C. Ezebube – corresponding author

About Author(s):

Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages,

University of Nigeria, Nsukka

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Abstract

This paper aims to demonstrate through a deconstructive reading that although Mmiri Ọkụ E Ji Egbu Mbe upholds destitution as the factor behind Enyi’s crime, it failed to sustain its narrative logic as it also showed dissoluteness as behind his crimes. Pointedly, the objectives of this paper are to show how Mmiri Ọkụ E Ji Egbu Mbe failed to uphold its narrative logic and demonstrate that criminality is a matter of choice.  The study hinges on the theoretical tenets of deconstruction literary theory. Mmiri Ọkụ E Ji Egbu Mbe is one of the canonical Igbo literary texts. It explores robbery and factors that may lead one into it. It presents Enyi, an orphan who turned to crime as a result of the cruel treatments meted out on him by the duo of fate and society. It argues that it was destitution that led Enyi into crime. Nevertheless, a deconstructive reading proves that in showing how it was destitution and the struggle for survival that led Enyi into crime, the text also demonstrated how it was dissoluteness that is behind Enyi’s delinquency therefore, forcing the text to an impasse. Enyi’s deviance can then be tied to a joint factor of dissoluteness and destitution and by extension, self-will. It is concluded that even though there are austere conditions that may tempt one into crime, the choice to or not to engage in it lies on one. Thus, criminality whatever the circumstances is deliberate.

Keywords – deviance, destitution, dissoluteness, deconstruction, crime