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Christina Bednarz 11/8/11 INTL 3111 "Anthills of the Savannah" Chris' Character The novel, "Anthills of the Savannah",

I found to be not as clear cut in development as Achebe's famous work, "Things Fall Apart", but as I finished the novel it definitely offered its own uniqueness in the story and character development. Achebe's work highlighted some of the problems that plague the current African nations. Things such as corruption in the governments, dictator style ruling, and something that is played out through Ikem's character, a totalitarian way of looking at the media. Compared to the overtness of George Orwell's totalitarian regime in "1984" or other dystopian novels like "Farenheit 451" or "Brave New World", Achebe's work seems subtle however, nonetheless still more realistic in a dangerous way. "1984" has hints of reality sprinkled through the novel and most could say something like this could happen. However, the story of "Anthills of the Savannah" plays out every day in several countries and regimes, no doubt. The reader follows this governmental cabinet which is comprised of a dictator, Sam, or His Excellency. Sam's character is defined by his surrounding himself with "yesmen". His entire cabinet has been filled with people who give him the confirmation and adoration almost required by Sam. His character, although not minor in the novel, is static with only a few changes that occur. Everything and every one in this novel revolves around Sam's decisions. The other two major characters, Chris and Ikem, both

die either directly or indirectly because of Sam. My favorite character was Chris. Compared to Ikem and Sam, Chris' character has movement so from the beginning to the end of the novel we see him able to go from being Sam's puppet to someone entirely free to make their own moral decisions. Through his character the reader can see a development both morally and intellectually. The Chris at the start of Achebe's novel is a part of Sam's yes-man cabinet. Even though inwardly the reader can ascertain Chris' discomfort with Sam's regime. The first sentences of the novel Sam and Chris are in an argument where Chris is almost questioning Sam's ruling and authority. At this point Chris is wondering how the government has gotten so off track from the ideals they started with. Towards the middle of the novel we still see Chris defending the regime. He states that maybe totalitarian rulers are what is needed by the people in order to get things done. He is not fully convinced that Sam's way of doing things is entirely wrong and in this way he is complacent and apathetic to trying to change anything. At the end of the novel the reader finally sees the true Chris emerge, even though it comes from the high cost of losing his friend Ikem. When the government murders Ikem, Chris speaks out and is no longer safe. After running from Bassa and from Sam, Chris is murdered himself when in his final act he stands up for the rights of others. In this final moment he sees himself not as the yes-man of Sam or the middle child between Sam and Ikem. But he sees himself as his own, unique persona that has finally found his voice.