The paradox of claustrophobia and agoraphobia and the searc | 17696
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The paradox of claustrophobia and agoraphobia and the search for social space in African poetry: a study of Emmanuel Fru Doh and Niyi Osundare


Andrew T. Ngeh, Ogork B. Taku Catherine Nformi Dominic Nganyu

The main thrust of the argument of this paper is built around the hypothetical premise that the social isolation, political marginalization and economic exploitation of the masses in the Cameroonian and Nigerian societies have created an atmosphere of both claustrophobia and agoraphobia resulting in alienation and the social exclusion of the masses from the socio- political space. Thus, given that the political sclerosis and economic imbroglio have excluded the ruled from the socio-political affairs, the masses are seen trapped and caged in a limited socio-political space. In this vein, because of the numerous socio-political crimes committed by African leaders, they are not comfortable moving freely. Consequently, this paradox of claustrophobic and agoraphobic existence applies to both the ruled and the rulers. The rulers have social space, yet are afraid of this space; the masses need social space, yet are deprived of this space. Analyzing Doh’s Not Yet Damascus (2007) and Osundare’s Songs of the Marketplace (1983) using the Marxist critical theory, this study reveals that the paradox of claustrophobia and agoraphobia has created the superstructure/base dialectic in the poetic imagination of Doh and Osundare which espouses the human predicament in the Cameroonian and Nigerian societies. This paper concludes that, for these two societies to move forward, an equal social space is needed for all in these societies.

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