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The Urbanised Generation Unhinged: Port Harcourt Igbos and Christianity in Ifeanyichukwu Ndubuisi Chikezie Aniebo's the Journey Within

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This is a discussion of Aniebo's differentiated portrayal in The journey within of urbanised characters in the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt who have come under the influence of Christianity but have reacted in varying ways to the promise and challenge of this new religion. A close reading of Aniebo's work warns against simplistic explanations of Igbo religious change and simplistic generalisations about the spiritual state of city-dwelling Igbos in a rapidly urbanising society where to a great extent by the 1940s traditional beliefs and practices had lost their grasp on young adults but by no means completely disappeared from their minds. The novel demonstrates the predicament of Igbos caught in a Westernising world, coping with divided spiritual loyalties, ethical dilemmas made more perplexing by the conflicting demands of modernising society whose values often diverged from those of male-dominated Igbo villages, and participation in an economy which on the surface appears to offer opportunity but keeps them in a state of squalor.

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