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Trauma as Archetype, Terror as Arsenal

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The Changing Cosmos in Ken Saro-Wiwa’s A Month and a Day

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The essay traces the changing manifestations of trauma in Nigerian prose, focusing on Ken Saro-Wiwa’s autobiography A Month and a Day: A Detention Diary. The autobiography lies at a crucial nexus in the drift of trauma in narrative, an era during which trauma ceases to adopt pre-historical forms and is officially assembled into terrorist weaponry. Trauma in A Month and a Day results from state terrorism—it is transparently political, and is thereby a link between the archetypes of trauma that precede it and the sub-state terrorism that comes in its wake. The essay concludes that Saro-Wiwa’s diary is a milestone on the route from personal trauma to the trauma of state terrorism in Nigerian testimony.

Affiliations: 1: University of Benin


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