What is Nigeria? What is a novel? What is a Nigerian novel? These questions have been asked in class, and been bumping around in my head all week. All I knew about Nigeria at the start of the semester was that it is a country in Africa. What I learned recently is that Nigeria is somewhat of a rising star in the literature world. So the question I am questing to answer is, why?
When one strives to write a good story, certain elements come into play. Credibility is important. One must make the story believable even if there is mysticism and magic involved. All good stories have a parameter of rules it must follow regardless of how fantastic the world seems. Also, there must be simple and complex plot lines. A simple story is the best story. It’s the general framework of the work. We all know the story of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back. It’s in every great story we read. However, the more complex story lines are what keeps the reader reading. The greatest element in what makes a good story is conflict. That’s why Nigerian Literature is climbing the popularity ladder.
Nigeria is such a melting pot of different people, beliefs, and customs that Nigerians and Nigeria itself have a hard time defining their identity. Then Nigeria may be defined by their conflicts. With such a conflicted country so concentrated with differences, how could the literature NOT be good?
The great thing about these literary conflicts is that they are universal regardless of their country of origin. In class we discussed conflicts involving marriage versus career, rural versus urban, tradition versus progress, and many others. These conflicts are very real to the people of Nigeria because of their backgrounds, their families, their location, and because they happen every day.
The Nigerian Novel, I believe, is a novel that deals with the ever-evolving conflicts within Nigeria. The literature is a snapshot of this country in constant flux and the way that the people deal with those conflicts and each other. The conflict makes the story and it seems to me through discussions so far in class, that Nigeria has the potential for many amazing stories.