n English in Africa - "In the name of the son" : fatherhood's critical legitimacy, sonhood and masculinities in Chris Abani's

Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



Using the father-son metaphor, the epigraph evokes the "mad logic" of Christianity, as Nwoye refers to it in Chinua Achebe's first novel (1996, 104). It implies the death of tradition and traditional authority and the crisis of legitimacy and, consequently, of the symbolic order of communal identity in the village of Umuaro. In Achebe's fictional villages of Umuofia and Umuaro, custom, tradition and law are validated by a constant oral invocation of what "our fathers said." However, Christianity now shifts symbolic authority and moral/spiritual capital to the son, who arrives in Umuaro with an alternative view, which challenges the traditionally symbolic power base of the father and the established institution of fatherhood.

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