One of Africa’s most distinguished writers, Chinua Achebe, has There was the madman who reported back to his hinterland village after what must have been. In spite of the success of Chinua Achebe’s short stories, critics have paid some of the stories especially “The Madman” and “Civil Peace” pass. In his short story, “The Madman”, Prof. Chinua Achebe (of blessed memory), easily Africa’s most celebrated novelist of the twentieth century.

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Combining a tight narrative framework with the apparently casual effect of colloquial dialogue, or enhancing a sense of organic unity by highlighting avhebe single sense of detail which seems gratuitous, but which yet has a tightness that makes it indispensable, part of a design and at the same time entirely natural and unforced.

Girls at War, and Other Stories – The Madman, The Voter Summary & Analysis

All and all I leave as I started, confused with lots of questions. They are two distinct genres, as unmistakably different from one another as painting is from sculpture, as poetry is from prose With this, the exchange of identities is complete and the irony which makes possible the acceptance of ghe as reality is triumphant.

The Achebe short story avoids summaries and abridgements. In that moment, at his wits end, he inviolately tears the ballot paper into two halves and casts his invalid votes for each of the candidates to whom he is indebted. From this central irony of mistaken identities also emerges the ironic situation whereby a reputable “medicine man” loses his fame while a mere charlatan overnight acquires the reputation of the best “mad doctor” psychiatrist in town.

Dermot Post Author September 5, 4: A short story should go to its point as a man flies from a pursuing tiger: This story might not be inviting us to abandon our own logic and judgement of sanity, but it has certainly introduced doubts into the authenticity of our perception of reality. madamn

Modern African literature, particularly drama, has also had its share of explorations into this universal theme of madness. Like many others I was very confused and had made the assumption that the two main characters were one in the same. In his stark nakedness, Nwibe pursues the fast-retreating clothed madman who is “spare and wiry, a thing made for speed. Achebe, in his stories is able to achieve his mission in a few pages, with each of his stories being on the average, six pages long.


However it was Nwankwo who had forced his driver to stop and pickup this soldier. It is Nwibe, who had gone to wash off the hot afternoon sweat from the work on his farm, after which he would proceed to the market.

The very fact that Nwibe is apparently content with running stark-naked, even into the market place, arouses our misgiving.

Short Story Analysis: The Madman by Chinua Achebe – The Sitting Bee

University of Michigan Press, Also the young children who shout at Nwibe as he makes his way to the market Nwibe ignores them and remains determined to reach the market. The Sitting Bee, 12 Nov. Is the “madman” really mad? Any plans he had to join the ranks of the local hierarchy have been lost.

It thhe also possible that Achebe is suggesting that regardless of the individual should the majority of people disbelieve a person or go against them.

They tell him they must wait to see now his fortunes progress.

Achebe enjoys the endorsement of short story theorist, X. If we are all insane, what moral right do we have to certify some people as mad? Chinua Achebe’s collection Girls at War and Other Stories is a selection of 13 stories dealing with life in post-colonial Nigeria.

The madman is dhinua magical tale, an “illusionary narrative” I coined the phrase – I found no other way to describe this masterpiece. The insider or the outsider? Log In Sign Up. We cannot, for instance, be sure of who is actually sane, in all sincerity, in the context of this story.

Despite it being a struggle and a two day journey to Eke Nwibe is dedicated when it comes to traveling to the market. Your email address will not be published.

May 07, Last Updated: Meantime, a desperate madman comes along to quench his thirst at the stream; he sees Nwibe’s loin cloth, gathers ,adman and wraps it over his nakedness.


Although the story is rendered in a taut plot, it delivers the message and illustrates its theme quite succinctly. He is able to create and convey vivid imagery and condensed meaning. They also carry the veiled desperation of a man who realises that his precious life is about to take a certain tragic turn if nothing is immediately done to save the situation.

Though Nwibe can go to the local market he prefers to travel to Eke because he knows that it is a bigger market.

The significance of Chinua Achebe’s short stories – Part 1

View the Chimua Plans. And if, indeed, we cannot distinguish truth from untruth, reality from illusion, a sane man from a madman, then we exist because the philosophical evidence of our existence as human beings is, “I think, therefore I am.

Taken from his Girls at War and Other Stories collection the story is narrated mafman the third person by an unnamed narrator acheebe from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Achebe may be exploring the theme of struggle. Facebook Twitter Email Print. He is conspicuously isolated by his nudity. From this climax, the roles are reversed for the tragic. The extreme clarity of the logic of the madman as he walks on the highway seems to suggest that he is perfectly sane.

Even up until now, we must understand the existence of a tiny dividing line between the sane and irresponsible and the responsibly insane.

Nikky September 5, 4: The story also raises the apparent poser of degrees of madness. A conflict between the tube and the fireplace. Symbolically, this involuntary but tragic exchange of identity between a sane person and a madman is registered by the jeering, ironic laughter of a taunting madman.

Can we vouch for the collective sanity of the people of Olu and Igbo as contained in the story? The first story in the collection is The Madman.

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