Sozaboy A Novel in Rotten English E–pub Download


Only 15 at the time but I remember signing petitions to try to get our governments to put pressure on the Nigerian military unta for a fair trial Although there was international pressure in the end Saro Wiwa was still executed Sozaboy was written than a decade before these events unfolded and the story of novel is based on the Biafran war which was in the late 1960s The story shows very clearly the author s political conscience in his discussion on the tragedy and futility of war from the eyes of a local youth Sozaboy the name the character calls himself in the story is drawn into the war by the glamour of soldiering though really having no sense of what soldiering means besides wearing a uniform marching with a gun and singing songs with your mates while you march and pressures from his rural community about the honour of being a soldier What the war is about and who is meant to fight whom and for how long is unclear to all members of the communityor if there are those in the know they are not sharing Out of love for his new wife who wants a strong man to protect her he oins the army much to his mother s distress Once he oins up though and having gone through some training Sozaboy uickly learns what the deal is war is war and there is nothing or no one the army is not willing to sacrifice for its causewhich Sozaboy never asks about or learnsWhat makes this book so wonderful is the voice of Sozaboy A young man with ambitions but little opportunities who is taken advantage of at almost every turn but has an unfailingly gentle nature he is what makes the horror of the story endurable for the reader Saro Wiwa made the contentious decision to write the novel in what he calls rotten english a mixture of Nigerian pidgin english broken english and occasional flashes of good even idiomatic English This constricted language which uses a smaller vocabulary in creative ways is born of lack of a proper english education something which Sozaboy often laments and always hopes to redress and opportunity As Saro Wiwa points out is it disordered and disorderly adding a depth and vibrancy to Sozaboy s experience There will be some readers I expect who will find it too disruptive that it will impede their enjoyment of the novel I was not one of those people though I will admit that it took me awhile longer than usual to read through this relatively short novel I m fond of reading Nigerian Literature Chinua Achebe Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Ben Okri Helon Habila are amongst my favorite authors and now I include Ken Saro Wiwa Perhaps it s the nostalgia of having grown up in Lagos as an infant to the end of my teens that echoes the setting in the back of my mind while I read these authors literary works Whether it s the traditions of the ethnic peoples the woes and struggles of daily life under oppression by brutal military dictatorships corruption black magic the civil war Biafra or even colonialism Nigeria can offer a story on any of these fronts And authors don t shy away "from revealing these truths through the medium the written wordKen Saro wiwa s novel Sozaboy "revealing these truths through the medium of the written wordKen Saro wiwa s novel Sozaboy encompasses all these facets of Nigeria into one compact story In about 180 pages Saro wiwa s protagonist Sozaboy Nigerian Pidgin English meaning soldier boy experiences first hand the confusion and chaos that took place when the eastern states of Nigeria declared secession in 1967 under the banner of BiafraSozaboy is dreaming of manhood which in his village is associated with marriage and starting a family having a Black Heart, Red Ruby job and having status He begins to plan his future to pursue both his dreams and the woman he meets and falls in love with at a brothel all the while hearing stories from an ex soldier in his village about how he had fought Hitler in Burma The solider s stories parallel the hard choices Sozaboy will have to make when the war arrives to his villageSozaboy is a follower of the big events happening around him being thrown from one unexpected situation to another Yet in no way is this fate driven character detracting since this is the reality of war to a person who s world exists of one village and a nearby trading town Sozaboy looses his mother and wife afteroining the army and later begins a futile search for them When he eventually runs into the displaced villagers he s seen as a ghost because everyone thinks him dead And since the Nigerian culture is rich in its roots with spiritual beliefs and the dread of black magic this situation makes for an enlightening exchange between charactersA novel in rotten English Saro wiwa s own words He devised a consistent and logical non standard variety of English and termed it rotten English which is an amalgamation of standard variety of English and termed it rotten English which is an amalgamation of Nigerian English Nigerian Pidgin English broken English and idiomatic English A brilliantly conceived concept that puts this story on a whole different plain of literatureMost of the rotten English was accessible to me and I reuired the use of the 3 page glossary for only about 20% of the novel It would be likely however that other readers unfamiliar with Pidgin English andor broken English might struggle with the book But the effort is well worth it and once the reader reads a few pages heshe will develop a feel for the language and its unusual grammatical structure It s a rewarding experience to hear at times verbatim the Nigerian Pidgin dialect as wellA Silenced TalentSadly enough like many great talents Ken Saro wiwa was taken from this Earth before his time In 1995 he was executed by the Nigerian military by hanging for his outspoken criticism of the military authority and the military dictator General Sani Abacha who was a ruthless leader and one of the most corrupt men in the worldI believe this novel serves as a reminder of the oppression and fear that militaries can instill into generations of a people And the horrors they can inflict to their civilian population. Mixture of Nigerian pidgin English broken English and idiomatic English makes this a uniue and powerful nove.

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Int the novel Sozaboy the main character life is told The reader is told what he does for a living and how he came to get it about how he spends his past time and about his life in his village The story develops further with Sozaboy meeting a girl in his favorite bar He finds her attractive and wants to marry her She says she will only marry a soldier After a few days the army enlists all the young men Sozaboy has a great time there till his friend steals alcohol from a superior officer His friend gets beaten up after which Sozaboys friend gets the officer killed During the fight in which the officer dies Sozaboy survives and finds himself in enemy territory He escapes and goes looking for his mother and wive for the rest of the book till when he finds out whats happened to themSozaboy is discribed as a young man but that s mostly what you know about him He seems to be naive and determined which make him a fairly believable character because this goes along with the theme of people not being educated in AfricaOne of the themes in this book is the false glories of war In the beginning of the novel being a soldier is described as a great achievement but towards the end of the novel the character realizes that war which you don t know the purpose to and where only misery and death is made isn t waoth fighting forThe book teaches what it was like to be in Nigeria during the civil war It shows the meaningless slaughter that the armies of both sides were engaged in The soldiers didn t even know who was the enemy or what they were fighting forThis is shown in numerous parts of the novel as Sozaboy is in the army and the book is very successful in relaying that messageI liked the book as it shows what happens when peoples greed causes untold turmoil I d recommend it to anyone wishing to see the result of conflict anywhere so that these petty wars are not repeated in the future Mene is a boy from the village of Dukana Nigeria Apprentice drive he lives with his mom The civil war approaches He met in the nearby town a pretty girl Agnes Agnes with JJC you ll have to read the book to understand Born in Dukana and having lived in Lagos Of course he wants to marry her To please Agnes with JJC he will wear a uniform singing military songs and like Zaza the soza soldier who went to Burma Myanmar a long time ago to hunt Hitla and since is admired throughout the village he will become a soza too But war is war he will be enrolled by the enemy the rebels Then he wants to find his mother and his beautiful wife Agnes with JJCIn a nutshell the story of Mene Sozaboy told by himself ie with a limited vocabulary a local English and which gives the full power to the story without specifying time or place like most uneducated children of African villages would In a word the style is naive in the extremeOf course one easily guesses it takes place during the Biafra civil war but in the end it doesn t matter This "Could Be Any Conflict "be any conflict the continentFor those who went to villages in West Africa the story is even touching I could recognize the simplistic logic of the poor farmers and some social aspects of the villages the belief in the magic the importance given to rumors the weight of tradition etc And then I also recognized a kind of insensitivity that I would not be able so much to describe Of course when Mene suffers he wants to so much to describe Of course when Mene suffers he wants to but there is no emotional description of deaths or horrors of the civil war as if he didn t realize the importance of suffering Sozaboy is tossed from one place to another depending on the circumstances without realizing what happens to him or understanding the global context This behavior is fairly typical again among the least educated villagers in the sense who have not gone to school And of course as the story masterfully shows they are also the most vulnerable toward all kinds of excesses they are either placed on the side of the oppressors or oppressed by the circumstances the good will of the authorities or a powerful men all corrupted But there is no Manichaeism at ll Mene would be incapable of such thoughts Besides the Dukana people can be terribly cruelTo summary the story is wonderful incredibly powerful This book is written in what the author called Rotten English In addition to a moving storyFictional about the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s following the life of Soza boy soldier boy the main character who fought for Biafra and was captured prisoner The story is based on the real events in Saro Wiwa s homeland of Nigeria Soza Boy is a member of a small tribe and signs up to fight for his own country There is a contrast between his naive belief and the reality of the war his small village and the city What really turned him into being a soldier was that he met a girl he really liked however she responded with an answer that she would only marry soldiers Soon enough he recruited to the army during the Nigerian civil war 1967 1970His days were going perfectly fine and carefree until he found himself trapped in where the enemies were located That occurred after his friend whom didn t intentionally mean to kill the officer after a fight because of his friend who stole alcohol As luck would have it he escaped from the enemies territory and continued to find his family membersRegardless of the story I think that Sozaboy is a believable character because his character suits the African individuals whom were naive and uneducated back then What I really liked about this story is that it shows how people still began a war and fought without a reason they could possible come up with There were such meaningless warsI found this book interesting because it was written in such language that you won t be seeing in books today Personally It was a complex book to me especially with the rotten english that kicked in Nonetheless it s still a good book to read because you can see how people foolishly be. Sozaboy describes the fortunes of a young naive recruit in the Nigerian Civil War from the first proud days Gin wars when it could ve been solved without any killing Besides from that if you like challenging books with another way of speaking English this book is the one you should read Sozaboy Sozaboy is a story about a young African boy that tells his story in horrible broken English This is a well written story that has a mix of adventure and a large amount of emotion spread through the story This story starts out with Sozaboy telling his life story in his village As the story unfolds there is a very important scene in the book when Sozaboy goes into one of his favorite bars and sees a very beautiful girl This girl he decides will be his wife He walks up to her fairly timid and starts talking to her bit she reveals that if she will marry it will be to no one but a soldier For a while after the army starts drafting and Sozaboy takes this as a perfect opportunity to oin and then marry the beautiful girl in the bar But soon things change from a wonderful experience to a scary and mixed up chain of events These events consist of when Sozaboy and his friends were hanging out one of the decided to go to a highly ranked officer and steals his alcohol This leads to his friend being killed and then a retaliation of the officer being killed as well There are many different themes in this book One of the most important ones though is the choice of right and wrong This is because through these large amount of conflicts and situations Sozaboy had to reach deep with in him self and decide how to react and whether it was in fact right or wrong Also I would say that love is a definitely a theme due to Sozaboy s wife and leaving the army for them I personally liked this story It was a very appealing story line but did get confusing sometimes due to the language used and having to constantly flip back to the index to translate I also would recommend this book to someone that is a very avid reader and likes conflicts such as war and conflicts in Africa I was really curious to read this book after have seen Black Gold The movie doesn t talk about Ken Saro Wiwa but it deals with one of the most tragic problems of Nigeria multinational oil companies that exploited the land without worrying about the inhabitants health or the environment Ken Saro Wiwa has been killed in 1995 for his pacific fight against these oil corporations and because of the corruption of his government At the presentation of Black Gold they talked a lot about Saro Wiwa and other intellectuals that have been killed without a trial Sozaboy doesn t deal with the oil corporations but about the Nigerian civil war Oh well also the civil war started because of the oil seen that Biafra wanted independence from Nigeria because all the oil was in their part of land and they didn t want to share this richness with the rest of the country I was however curious to read something by this author and about NigeriaThis is a very Sentence diagrammers beware "In Rotten English A English a invented by Saro Wiwa himself complete with it s own grammatical and syntactical rules dependent clauses can function as complete sentences etc which incorporates Nigerian Pidgin English Broken English and Idiomatic English it may take several pages to get into the flow of the language but I implore you to do so Sozaboy is the uintessential African War story as well as the greatest anti war novel I story as well as the greatest anti war novel I ever read Its also very strangely the closest thing to James Joyce s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man I ve found heady company I know but that s how much I love this novel Our narrator is a young soldier conscripted against his will into an unnamed civil war which he doesn t understand and which has taken everything from him and promises nothing in return We follow him as he descends helplessly into the surreal horrors of this terrifying war charting his psychological development along the way and are like him left far wiser for it a terrible sort of wisdom yes but a necessary one It is a grotesue and tragic odyssey which this novel takes us on but one that we must undertake if we want to understand the first thing about the wars that are raging around us This is must read for anyone interested in contemporary Africa or 3rd world conflicts Influential asideThank Sozaboy for the current spate of African Child Soldier Literature The Beasts of No Nation in particular is a direct descendant of this seminal workHistorical asideKen Saro Wiwa an Ongoni tribesman who himself worked as a civilian administrator during the Biafran Nigerian Civil War was hanged by Sani Abacha s regime in 1995 for anti governmental activism including protests against Shell Oil s involvement in the Niger Delta a conflict which rages on Also includes one of the best first lines ever Although everybody in Dukana was happy at first Sample of rotten English All the nine villages were dancing and were eating plenty maize with pear and knacking tory gossiping there s a glossary under the moon Because the work on the farm have finished and the yams were growing well well And because the old bad government have dead and the new government of soza and police have come honestly i think this book is a masterpiece both for what it says about war and for what it does with language great book about a soldier sozaboy during nigerian civil warthe pidgin English was difficult to follow at times so took me a long time to read the booki Ken Saro Wiwa was executed in 1995 after a show trial by Abacha s military government Saro Wiwa was a well known activist against the environmental degradation of the Niger Delta owing to the oil industry s extraction of oil with no care or consideration for the local ecology As an Oboni tribe member who live in and around the Niger Delta Saro Wiwa felt it necessary to actively protest the company s actions primarily Shell and the government s complicity in this environmental devastation I was. F recruitment to the disillusionment confusion and horror that follows The author's use of 'rotten English'
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Sozaboy A Novel in Rotten English