War and Absurdity: Reading Manifestations of Trauma in Uwem Akpan’s “Luxurious Hearses”

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Date

2012

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Legon Journal of the Humanities, University of Ghana

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This essay examines the circumstances of Jubril, Chief Ukongo and Colonel Usenetok, three casualties of Sharia war fleeing to safety in Uwem Akpan’s short story, “Luxurious Hearses” in her collection, Say You’re One of Them (2008). The paper particularly identifies the loss of personhood that afflicts these individuals as a result of war; that loss of self that manifests itself in absurdity. Akpan paints poignant and convincing pictures of the horrors of war, of the physical and mental dislocation of individuals in a war situation. This paper finds that for those caught up in the throes of war or conflict, life has one basic meaning – physical survival.

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