Duzia's Funeral Oration for Adda

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

Compare this Saro-Wiwa's example of oratory to the discussions of story-telling and oral culture in Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah:

And the company made way for him. He sat beside the grave, looking into it. Adda lay there, his face downwards. Duzia spoke in measured tones.

"Lie there, brave hunter. Lie there, poor man, far from the tax gatherers, the big liars. You have paid the final tax to Oyeoku and your god. Lie there and watch us slowly live this death in life, our life a burden and a terror. But see us smile like sunshine, sing like the cricket through it all. And join us at the feast of new yam; celebrate with us, brave ancestor, the feast of the maidens fresh from the fatting rooms. Then watch us succumb at the touch of nature, watch us die a happy death, the final death. Farewell . . . what else is there to say?"

"It's well done. It's well said," answered the company. They covered the grave with sand, had more drinks and departed. The women filed past slowly, sobbing heavily, professionally.["A Death in Town," A Forest of Flowers, 62]

What effect does the last word quoted have upon the tone of the passage. and what does it suggest, if anything, about the author's attitudes toward the events he describes. How does this treatment of death differ from that in his "Night Ride"?

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