Arrows of Rain: A critical review of literature

Photo by Abby Chung on


Title page________________________________________________________________i

Approval page____________________________________________________________ii




Table of contents__________________________________________________________1


1.1 Introduction ___________________________________________________________5

1.2 Statement of problem_____________________________________________________5                                              

1.3 Significance of study_____________________________________________________5

1.4 Purpose of study________________________________________________________ 6

1.5 Scope of study__________________________________________________________6


2.1 Corporeality_____________________________________________________________7

2.2 Corporeality: Amma Darko’s Beyond the Horizon and Chris Abani’s Becoming Abigail:______8

2.3 Identity and Narrativity in a Postcolonial Context: Arrows of Rain by Okey Ndibe and

 A Squatter’s Tale by Ike Oguine__________________________________________________9


3.1 Border Theory____________________________________________________________18

3.2 Research Methodology _____________________________________________________22


4.1 Media: An Abused Body___________________________________________________23

4.2 The Subaltern: Iyese_______________________________________________________29

4.3 The significance of Iyese in Maida’s story______________________________________34


5.1 Summary_________________________________________________________________38

5.2 Recommendation  _________________________________________________________ 39

5.3 Conclusion_______________________________________________________________ 39

                                                              CHAPTER ONE


Life is made of beings, physical and abstract. Body is material and tangible; resonating the idea of the corporeal, whether it belongs to human or other beings. Literature is among these bodies. It tells man’s story in all ramifications.  What this means is that the experiences and thoughts of humans cannot be absent in work of literature. So that as humans are faced with experiences ranging from wars, conquest, hunger, love, joy, natural disasters among other things (Pattinson 7), literature will capture them and how life felt in them, in their most undiluted forms.

Bodies are among the things that are not always left out in human experiences, and that of other components of the universal existence. They are not peculiar to humans only and their stories have always been part of every narrative available to humans from the sciences to arts and humanity. Perhaps, every literary work from Homer till the most recent works in circulation has something to represent about bodies. Most times they could be there untendered because a literary work does not want to say one thing to every reader. Understanding body is one of the things that help reveal human culture in general and Stockholm’s faculty of humanity supports this view by making it clear that how individuals understand their body is an important point to how they will view their entire identity (Pattinson 7). Annemaree Lloyd, suggests that the body can demonstrate the knowledge which connects us to the community and to recognize our alignment and commitment (Lloyd 6).  Even in literature and narratology, Punday suggest that the approach of the narrator on body can influence the plot and other elements of the narrative. But body is just a space or territory out of many existing ones.

However, spaces and territories need markers that might demarcate their originality from one another.  This is border. Border is not a singular thing. The simplest way of looking at border as Johan Schimanski tells is considering it as a line dividing two different territories. (Schimanski 2). He goes on to say that:

We can also talk about provincial borders or the borders between different neighborhoods in the cities. Or border on a much smaller scale, for example borders between the inside and outside of a house (walls, doors, thresholds windows), between pavements and the street (the kerb) between the inside and the outside of the body (skin) a frontier, limits, boundaries or a zone of crossing (2).

When Schimanski talks of the border, we know that it must not be a dividing line between nation-states as the initial meaning tells us. That is could be a marker indicating a specific location from the other and then of course between the inside and the outside of the body (skin). It is presumed a form of violence if a body or a particular space/border is controlled by another whereas it is supposed to be self-content and possessing will as Heidegger in Akwanya opines, that mere things, things not created by man does not have their purpose from man (Akwanya 4). He means that the being or individual has another purpose which is not the work of another to decide. And these stand out in the purpose this study has taken for itself.   When one talks of spaces, reading literature can be perceived as an act of crossing borders/spaces. The reader does not only cross the border between reality and fiction but also works between various ways of interpreting the text. But that is not really what this study is about. It wants to inquire into border and its crossing as it concerns the body.

Arrows of Rain is just one out of Okey Ndibe’s works. He is a diasporic African novelist, a Nigerian in particular. His novel Arrows of Rain tells a story of self-discovery, subjection, and maltreatment. We see bodies being transgressed in the despotic rule of general Issa Palat Bello. The country of the work, Madia comes as a reality in the novel which tells the story of violation from the time of the colonialist, down to the civilians and then finally to the Military. With border theory and the concept of corporeality, we will investigate the fictive world of Okey Ndibe’s Arrows of Rain examining the violation done on bodies and their reactions.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

There have been studies carried out on Okey Ndibe’s Arrows of Rain, from reviews to critical studies. Wumi Raji and Edwin Onwuka looked at the military occupation of the Madia and Ogugua in their own way, but none of them has body as their major preoccupation. None of the works looked at the Iyese’s subjections as a significant occurrence in the novel. This study, therefore, tasks itself with filling this gap, by discussing the primary text with a major focus on the narratives the bodies of the Iyese and Ogugua, and their relationship with every other occurrence in the novel.

1.3 Significance of the study

This research work will contribute to the growing body of works on Okey Ndibe’s Arrows of Rain. It will also contribute to the existing work corpus on the concept of corporealism and border theory in the field of literary studies. In the end, it will successfully reveal the connection between the transgression of the bodies of the characters in the novel and the general story of Media as a nation.

1.4 Purpose of the Study

This study sets out to do a critical inquiry on Okey Ndibe’s Arrows of Rain with its major focus on the body, using the Border theory as its base. It will endeavor to point out the sufferings of the characters with a special focus on its effect on their body and their reactions. It will expose the nexus between Madia, the country as an entity and these characters in the study.

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study will limit itself to the analysis of Okey Ndibe’s Arrows of Rain with the narratology concept on body (corporeality) and border theory as its bases. It will also draw inspiration from Postcolonialism to look at the significance of the bodies that will be discussed from the novel. The primary text, Arrows of Rain, critical works on corporeality, border theory, Postcolonialism and other related subjects will be helpful to the study in general and then, the analysis will be employed. The primary text could be linked up with other similar texts during the analysis.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: