POLITICAL AND CLASS STRUGGLE IN PAUL TIYAMBE’S SMOULDERING CHARCOAL AND ISIDORE OKPEWHO’S THE LAST DUTY

POLITICAL AND CLASS STRUGGLE IN PAUL TIYAMBE’S SMOULDERING CHARCOAL AND ISIDORE OKPEWHO’S THE LAST DUTY

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title                                                                                                                      Pages

Title Page        -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           i

Declaration     -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           ii

Certification                -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           iii

Dedication      -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           iv

Acknowledgements    -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           vi

Table of Contents       -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           vii

Abstract          -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           ix

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study        -           -           -           -           -           -           1

1.2       Aims and Objectives of the Study      -           -           -           -           -           4

1.3       Statement of the Problem        -           -           -           -           -           -           5

1.4       Methodology   -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           5

1.5       Theoretical Framework           -           -           -           -           -           -           6

1.6       Significance of the Study       -           -           -           -           -           -           9

1.7       Structure of the Work -           -           -           -           -           -           -           9

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1       Review on Paul Tiyambe’s Smouldering Charcoal   -           -           -           10

2.2       Review on Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty            -           -           -           15

CHAPTER THREE: POLITICAL AND CLASS STRUGGLE IN PAUL TIYAMBE’S SMOULDERING CHARCOAL

 

3.1       Political and Class Struggle in Smouldering Charcoal -        -           -           20

3.2       Technique in Smouldering Charcoal  -           -           -           -           -           32

CHAPTER FOUR: POLITICAL AND CLASS STRUGGLE

                                    IN ISIDORE OKPEWHO’S THE LAST DUTY

 

4.1       Political and Class Struggle in The Last Duty            -           -           -           35

4.2       Technique in The Last Duty   -           -           -           -           -           -           45

4.3       A Comparative Analysis of Smouldering Charcoal and The Last Duty     47

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION

            Conclusion      -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           53

WORKS CITED       -           -           -           -           -           -           -56


 

ABSTRACT

Political and class struggle as a social reality in Paul Tiyambe’s Smouldering Charcoal and Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty is here discussed from the Marxist perspective. Thus, using the Marxist theory, this study discusses the concept of class and political struggle in Paul Tiyambe’s Smouldering Charcoal and Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty. This study also examines Marxism as a literary discourse in Paul Tiyambe’s Smouldering Charcoal and Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty to explain the class consciousness evident in our society. This study, therefore, demonstrates the applicability of the theory of Marxism to the two literary works. It x-rays the peculiar Nigerian political experiences and lives in depth in the novels. This work therefore, is an eye-opener to its readers and also opens up new vistas of learning for future researchers.


 


CHAPTER ONE

 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Class struggle, class warfare or class conflict is the tension or antagonism in the society. It is said to exist because different groups of people have different interests. Looking at the society this way is a feature of Marxism and Socialism. Social science group people with similar social features into classes. Most of these features are economic. According to Marxism, there are two main classes of people: The Bourgeoisie who control the capital and means of production; and the Proletariat provide the labour. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels say that for most of history, there has been a struggle between these two classes. This struggle is known as class struggle. After the communist manifesto and Das Kapital, this concept became well known.

Class struggle appeared in some forms, first, there is an economic form. The proletariat struggle with the bourgeoisie through their laborer's organization in this form. Second, there is a political form. In this form, the proletariat has their party and through democracy, they try to change the system. And the last, there is an ideological struggle. In this form, the proletariat try to adapt to the old governing system to new social situations. There are other forms of struggle too. These forms are not exclusive, but exist at the same time. Class struggle appeared all throughout history. At first, people lied in small communist societies. Then they took property from the earth for themselves and started to use slaves. They then had feudalism, which meant one person owned an entire area of land and used soldiers and workers to help them make money, and only gave their workers land, but they had some freedom that slaves didn't. Finally, in Karl Marx's time, people in some countries were becoming workers and bosses during the industrial revolution. The bosses owned the machines that the workers used to make things, but they didn't help in using the machines. Instead, they made money by buying the time and energy of the workers to make things. Marx believed that the workers weren't making the money they deserved because the bars would make money from the work they did without helping.

Marx believed that countries could overthrow capitalism and that workplaces would move towards socialism. This roughly means that the workers would control the workplaces. When this has happened everywhere, Marx thought they would have achieved communism. Social democrats and liberal conservatives do not see society as described by Marx. They see society as changing gradually, through the system of democratic voting. Very few countries have undergone the kind of revolution forecast by Marx. Economic clashes with the aid of trade unions, political attacks under the ideological leadership of social-democracy, that is the form the class struggle of the proletariat has assumed today. There can be no doubt that the class struggle will flare up with increasing vigor. The task of the proletariat is to introduce the system and the spirit of organization into its struggle. To accomplish this, it is necessary to strengthen the unions and to unite them.

The struggle against the dominant class has many stages and does not become a political struggle until the working class understands itself as a class and its interest separate from the dominant class. This class-consciousness does not come automatically and spontaneously through the struggle itself but comes from the activity of revolutionaries. The process at this time in this country is in its earliest stage. To develop a strategy, is to bring the class to the stage where it can wage a successful struggle for political power. The fight for what the proletariat need to survive will more and more force them to confront the question of who holds political power. They cannot recognize, act on or develop strategy and tactics without the consciousness of their own class interests, and the need for a political solution to the problems they face.

Karl Marx's and Friedrich Engel's Marxism will be instruments in the analysis of the two texts. Every other aspects of political and social criticism are no concern to this study, owing to lack of time and space, this work does not incorporate other forms of corruption's which are prevalent in the African society. Paul Tiyambe and Isidore Okpewho use their works to tell the world about the political and class struggle, which is eating up the fabrics of our society and the mal-administrative tendency of the political elites and how these affect the development of our society. This work uses Paul Tiyambe's Smouldering Charcoal and Isidore Okpewho The Last Duty to explain political and class struggle that is exhibited in the society.

1.2 Aims and Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are to:

  1. discuss the concept of class and political struggle in each writer's view;
  2. examine calls for agitation as contained in the primary sources of information and to reveal the use of strategic characters to overcome oppression by both writers;
  3. illustrate how the masses react to exploitation and political oppression;
  4. discuss the narrative techniques adopted by both Paul Tiyambe and Isidore Okpewho in the selected novels; and
  5.  open up new research areas for future researchers.


1.3 Statement of the Problem

The problem which this research project intends to investigate is political and class struggle in Paul Tiyambe's Smouldering Charcoal and Isidore Okpewho The Last Duty. The level at which political and class struggle or class consciousness, exploitation and oppression of the people and the working class (proletariat) that have entrenched in our society has become a case for serious concern. Though, there have been scholarly works on Marxism, little or no attention have been paid to the issue of political and class struggle in Paul Tiyambe's Smouldering Charcoal and Isidore Okpewho The Last Duty. This is why this research focuses on the two literary works. This is the gap which this research project intends to fill.

1.4 Methodology

This work is mainly library-based. It relies on the primary text, journals, critical works, articles and encyclopedias as well as the internet. It is based on Paul Tiyambe's Smouldering Charcoal and Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty


 

1.5 Theoretical Framework

Marxism is selected as the theoretical framework for this study. Marxism is a method of socio-economic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th century German philosophers, Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels. Marxism uses a methodology, now known as historical materialism, to analyze and criticize the development of capitalism and the role of class struggles in systemic economic change. According to Marxian theory, class conflict arises in capitalist societies due to contradictions between the material interests of the oppressed proletariat; a class of wage laborers employed by the bourgeoisie to produce goods and services, and the bourgeoisie; the ruling class that owes the means of production and extract their wealth through appropriation of the surplus product (profit) produced by the proletariat.

This class struggle is commonly expressed as the revolt of a society's productive forces against its relations of production, results in a period of short terms crises as the bourgeoisie struggle to manage the intensifying alienation of labor experienced by the proletariat, albeit with varying degrees of class consciousness. This crisis culminates in a proletarian revolution and eventually leads to the establishment of socialism, a socio-economic system based on social ownership of the means of production, distribution based on one's contribution and production organized directly for use. As the productive forces continued in advance, Marx hypothesized that, socialism would ultimately transform into a communist society; a classless, stateless, humane society based on common ownership of wealth and the underlying principle: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

Marxism has developed into many different branches and schools of thought, though, now there is no single definitive Marxist theory. Different Marxian schools place a greater emphasis on certain aspects of classical Marxism while rejecting or modifying other aspects. Many schools of thought have sought to combine Marxian concepts and non-Marxian concepts, which has been led to contradictory conclusions. However, lately, there is a movement towards the recognition that historical materialism and dialectical materialism remains the fundamental aspects of all Marxist schools of thought, which should result in more agreement between different schools. Marxism has led a profound and influential impact on global academia and has expanded into many fields such as history, philosophy, criminology, economics etc.

Criticisms of Marxism have come from various political ideologies and academic disciplines. These include general criticism about lack of internal consistency, criticisms related to historical materialism, that, it is a type of historical determinism, the necessity of suppression of individual rights, issues with the implementation of communism and economic issues, such as the distortion or absence of price signals and reduced incentives. In addition, empirical and epistemological problems are frequently identified. Marxism has been adopted by a large number of academics and other scholars working in various disciplines.

Karl Marx (15 May 1818 - 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, political economist and socialist revolutionary, who addressed the matters of alienation and exploitation of the working class, the capitalist mode of production and historical materialism. He is famous for analysing history in terms of class struggle, summarized in the initial line introducing the communist manifesto: "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles"(1848). Fredrick Engels (28 November 1820-5 August 1895) was a German political philosopher, who together with Marx, co-developed communist theory. He also became the editor and translator of Marx's writings after Marx's death in 1883. Engels made intellectually significant contributions to Marxism and its theory. Political economy was one of the things Marx was critiquing and that he was attempting to show political economy to be a product of capitalism rather than seek to establish a Marxist political economy.


1.6 Significance of the Study

A research is expected to play a significant role in the society and academia. It must be of benefit to humanity. According to Uzoagulu:  "if there is no benefit, then there should be no study"(54). This research will contribute and be relevant to scholars, critics, researchers and to knowledge. The goal of this research is to widen and create awareness concerning the political and class struggle in Paul Tiyambe’s and Isidore Okpewho’s view as illustrated in Smouldering Charcoal and The Last Duty respectively. It will be useful not only to the students, but also to teachers, lecturers in academic institutions, and it will also motivate researchers to undertake researches in related areas of study in the future.

1.7 Structure of the Work

This research is divided into five chapters. Chapter one gives introduction to the study. Chapter two reviews related literature while chapter three explores political and class struggle in Paul Tiyambe's Smouldering Charcoal, and chapter four examines political and class struggle in Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty and also places emphasis on the comparative analysis in the selected texts. Chapter five concludes that political and Marxian consciousness is an evil which all citizens must reject through revolution just as Tiyambe and Okpewho have suggested in their works.


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