This article refutes the common claim that Chinua Achebe does not represent women as active participants in his fictional communities until in his fifth novel, Anthills of the Savannah. Such criticism neglects women’s contestations of male-dominated political and aesthetic representation in A Man of the People. Readings of that novel routinely foreground the political foibles of the unreliable narrator while overlooking how his traumatic encounter with female agency shapes his narrative. By focusing on the protagonist’s repression of women’s agency, I suggest his swerve into a narrative of national politics results from a profound inability to accept women’s demands for multiple forms of recognition. A Man of the People explores obstructions to African feminism and sexual politics. As such, it ought to be read alongside the fiction of Flora Nwapa, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Tsitsi Dangarembga.


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pp. 88-115
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