Thematic Preoccupation of Nigerian Literature: A Critical Approach

Adetuyi, Chris Ajibade


Nigerian literature takes "matter" from the realities of Nigerian living conditions and value systems in the past and present. In the Nigerian society the writer, be it a novelist, dramatist or poet is a sensitive "questioner" and reformer; as all literature in a way is criticism of the human condition obtainable in the society it mirrors. The writer often cannot help exposing the bad and the ugly in man and society. Thus much of Nigerian literature is a deploration of the harsh and inhuman condition in which the majority of Nigerians live in i.e. poverty, misery, political oppression, economic exploitation, excesses of the affluent, liquidation of humane Nigerian traditional values, and all forms of injustices which seem to be the lot of a large majority in most Nigerian societies.

In drama, novel, poetry or short - story, the writer's dialogue with his physical and human environment comes out as a mirror in which his people and society can see what they look like. Every image painted by a skillful artist is expressed or put into writing / print, becomes public property and leaves itself open for evaluation by those who read and understand the language and expression. There is therefore a need to identify the thematic preoccupation of Nigeria literature which is the focus of this paper with a view to identifying their peculiarities with textual references.

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