The Pleasures of Aba

George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University

How does the protagonist define both himself and contemporary urban life in the following description near the beginning of the story that opens the second half of A Forest of Flowers?

I was at Aba and it was New Year's Day. Anybody who has stayed in Eastern Nigeria will know or will hear of Aba. When you hear republic, republic, you don't know what it is like until you go to Aba. Christ Jesus! I have not seen one town in this country where everybody is equal like Aba. Just imagine, the taxi drivers can knack big grammar; the traders whack tough suit like big Minister. Then if you go to the hotel, you will see a young man who will come and buy beer, beer not tombo, for everybody in that hotel. Wonderful. And then when you think of fine babies, you can't beat Aba. If you want high society one, you will get; if you want proper teenager who sells in the chemist shop, you will get. And sometimes, you will get them cheap because everything in Aba is cheap. In fact, in the market, if you take care, you can buy very big thing for small price. This is some of the reason why I used to like Aba. ["High Life," A Forest of Flowers, 65]

What does the speaker suggest about his understanding of the coming of independence or democracy? At what point does the author introduce pidgin, and what is its effect?

Postcolonial Web Africa OV Nigeria OV Saro Wiwa OV