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“saving Mr Ugwu” Analytical Esssay

Autor:   •  January 27, 2018  •  Essay  •  1,093 Words (5 Pages)  •  252 Views

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“Saving Mr Ugwu” Analytical esssay

When thinking of the word society, we tend to automatically think of how the people in the society are treated. Is everybody equal? Is one part of the community better than other parts? Is there a retained hierarchy? In most of the world, hierarchy exist. Some places in an almost invisible way, but in some places, in a way that takes over all actions in the society. In the short story “Saving Mr Ugwu”, we learn about how the ethnic disparity in the Nigerian society consequently affect the Ugwu family.

“Saving Mr Ugwu”, written by Lin Anderson in 2012, is a third-person narration focused on Mr Ugwu’s feelings and actions. However, on page 1, line 2-3, the narrator addresses the reader: “He waits for rain as you or I wait for a knock at the door; for the telephone to ring; listening.” This awakens the reader’s attention and makes the reader interested and curious.

The story takes place in two places; a bush in Nigeria and a flashback in Lagos, the hometown of the Ugwu family. The story is the length of a day, but as mentioned, a flashback also appears.

The short story’s structure goes from present tense to a flashback/past tense to present tense.

We firstly hear about Mr Ugwu’s current actions and observations, as he has accepted a new job in “the bush”. We then witness a flashback where the narrator explains how Mrs Ugwu did not want her husband to take the job. She mentions a lot of reasons, for example she brings up their kids and asks her husband: “How will we educate them in the bush? (p. 1, l. 34) Mr Ugwu admits that his decision was “totally unfair” but “completely unavoidable” (p. 1, l. 38), however, he afterwards states that the company has been good to him. Mr Ugwu tries to protect the company even when it seems as if the company is using him as the weak link to deal with the mess the authorities have created; “He is not in a position to argue” (p. 2, l. 43) - there is a definite power relationship between Mr Ugwu and the bosses of the company, in which/as to? Mr Ugwu is/being oppressed.

However, the social hierarchy is not only between white and black. The Ugwu family feel superior compared to the Hausa people, as of the way Mr Ugwu thinks of his houseboy: “Mr Ugwu thinks once again, how lazy and dirty these Hausa people are, and makes a mental note to tell his wife to insist the boy wash the dust from his legs and feet before he enters the house” (p. 2, l. 59-61). We also see this, as Mrs Ugwu tells her husband that he is not a bushman (p. 2, l. 17). The ethnic disparity also shows when Mr Ugwu hands out the low payments of the month, and the employees turn on Mr Ugwu using the word “Ibo-dog”. Part of the anger towards Mr Ugwu from the Hausa people could also be caused by how Mr Ugwu tends to show off that he is different and better than the Hausa people. Since moving to the bush, he has continued to wear his western clothes. He drives to work, even if he only lives five minutes away as we see on page 3, line 100-101: “Mr Ugwu closes the glass door on the wages window and fastens the catch. He will be home in five minutes, he thinks.” Where you come from and where you live has a huge impact on your social status in the bush.


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