Download the full-sized PDF of From Utopia to Nightmare: National Disillusionment in the Contemporary Nigerian NovelDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

From Utopia to Nightmare: National Disillusionment in the Contemporary Nigerian Novel Open Access


Other title
national literature
third generation Nigerian novels
postcolonial literature
postcolonial condition
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ogundipe, Olumide P
Supervisor and department
Professor Albert Braz
Examining committee member and department
Daphne Read, English and Film Studies
Stephen Slemon, English and Film Studies
Garry Watson, English and Film Studies
Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika, Women’s and Gender Studies English and Film Studies
Pius Adesanmi, Institute of African Studies, Carleton University
Department of English and Film Studies
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This dissertation examines representations of post-independence disillusionment in five contemporary Nigerian novels: Waiting for an Angel (2003) by Helon Habila, Graceland (2004) by Chris Abani, Everything Good Will Come (2005) by Sefi Atta, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and City of Memories (2012) by Richard Ali. Collectively, these novels detail a massive atrophy whose main characteristics are leadership failures, political resistance, ethnic rivalries, and the misery of the common people during the years of military rule in Nigeria from 1966 to 1999. Waiting for an Angel and Graceland describe the protests of citizens and their oppression by their leaders as the daily productions of the postcolony. Everything Good Will Come articulates the place of gender in contemporary Nigeria, and shows a character whose experience is caught between tradition and modernity while her identity is subsumed within the patriarchal powers dominating her home and country. Half of a Yellow Sun analyzes the symbolism and implications of the Civil War of 1967-1970, and describes this conflagration as the manifestation of ethnic tensions in the country. City of Memories examines the zealous struggle to protect the Nigerian confederacy in spite of the cultural hostilities and blame game among the country’s diverse ethnocultural groups. My analyses of the primary texts address questions such as (i) how does the non-manifestation of the utopian agenda offered by the political and cultural elites prior to independence now symbolize a postcolonial condition? (ii) to what extent does the contemporary novel hold the indigenous leadership accountable for the daily experiences of Nigerians? and (iii) how do Nigerians in the novels interact with each other in relation to their country’s contested history and ethnocultural diversity? Each of these texts is a fictionalization of a series of traumatic events that has overtaken the country since independence and has repeatedly left it dancing on the brink of collapse. The conversations these five novels have with each other over the country’s dysfunctional sociopolitical space have not, in my estimation, been adequately investigated. This study thus opens up these dialogues, and draws attention to the exceptionally tragic realities explored in these texts. My project is urgent at a time when readers and critics are being introduced to a proliferation of conflicting assumptions and ideas that simultaneously invent and misrepresent the crystallization of a Nigerian national consciousness. Besides contributing to existing scholarship on Nigerian literature, this work offers a fresh perspective on the reading of the interaction between the country’s postcolonial condition and its literary productions.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (PDF/A)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 1485859
Last modified: 2015:10:22 06:07:41-06:00
Filename: Ogundipe_Olumide_P_201412_PhD.pdf
Original checksum: 90e0decbaa886bfdd1befb13d2adefa1
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date