By Chinua Achebe
Within the fictional West African kingdom Kangan, newly self sufficient of British rule, the hopes and desires of democracy were quashed through a fierce army dictatorship. Chris Oriko is a member of the cupboard of the president for all times, considered one of his oldest pals. while the president is charged with censoring the oppositionist editor of the state-run newspaper--another early life friend--Chris's loyalty and beliefs are positioned to the attempt. The destiny of Kangan hangs within the stability as tensions upward push and a devious plot is determined in movement to silence the firebrand critic.
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Even Philip Roth’s recent The Plot Against America rewrites past history to allow for the election of the anti-semitically inclined Charles Lindbergh as president. The improbabilities and impossibilities of satire call to mind the unbroken, empirically improbable sequence of catastrophes in Candide; the unbroken sameness of the cycle of disappointment in Rasselas; the stripping away of any certainties in the Howard Campbell of Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night. Satire’s humor, however disturbing it might be, derives from fantasy: from the weird, the improbable, the grotesque, or the impossible.
Daniel, like Mordecai, will not compromise his faith. Nor is Mordecai’s steadfastness without its grimly humorous component, as the treacherous Haman is hanged on the very gibbet he had prepared for his Israelite enemy. The humor is reminiscent of David’s foreskin triumph in 1 Samuel. The corresponding and first phase of irony, irony of the avoidable, pursues the insight that much of the trouble we suffer as human beings is not determined at all but the product of our own folly. In the climax of Pride and Prejudice – Darcy’s second proposal – Elizabeth Bennett realizes that she, who has always prided herself on good judgment, has been suckered by George Wickham’s account of his controversy with Darcy and not even considered the possibility of another point of view.
A favorite, for example, at the internment of a deceased person, the psalm evokes most pleasant pastoral images, the security of being in the hands of a loving, providing shepherd. The psalm envisions satisfaction and plenty. What could be more innocent, innocent in a root sense: devoid of harm? Yet, as the psalm anticipates the various pleasures of pastoral protection given by the Lord, it revealingly celebrates as one of the divine bounties a table that will be spread before the psalmist in the presence of his enemies.
Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe