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This study explores alienation and trauma among African migrants in Chika Unigwe’s Better Never Than Late. Literary writers at home and in the diaspora have been reacting to the rate at which Africans are leaving the continent for a living in Europe, America and Asian countries.

Chika Unigwe are literary writers who have responded to migration of Africans from their continent with the publication of Better Never Than Late. This research, therefore discusses the trials and ordeals of African migrants as portrayed in Chika Unigwe’s Better Never Than Late. As the migrants try to make out a meaning from their broken lives and psyches, they become traumatized and disoriented. Thus, as a result of the environment they find themselves.


Using Caruthian trauma theory as its theoretical bases for analysis. The selected novel which revealed that the dehumanization of migrants has left them confused and in a state of dementia. Revealing that migration has brought them more trauma than the better life they envisaged.

Each of the characters tells their narratives of vicissitudes they have been through. Through technique, Unigwe present a detailed view of the trials and ordeals of the migrants. The findings also revealed that the despondency, forlornness, despair and trauma are the fulcrum of Unigwe’s novelistic experience in this novel. The researcher however concludes that, to curb this exodus, African countries must counter poverty with economic development, as none of the characters in Unigwe’s Better Never Than Late has neither economic nor mental reprieve; all of them live a desultory life.





1.1 Background to the Study

Obviously, the various world’s historical events and incidents such as wars (World War I &II). Colonialism, natural disasters like flood, drought, and the postcolonial realities of the African states. Have had series of socio-cultural, economic and political consequences on man, especially the African man.

Therefore, the African man has been in perpetual search of better condition of living. And the possible means of self actualisation. Which is the highest need of man as stipulated in Abraham Marlow’s hierarchy of needs. Ugwanyi Maxwell avers that “the human nature is dynamic and receptive to change…” (250).


Hence, the contemporary African man, possessing this dynamic nature, has always changed his location in a bid to attain his basic goals.


The socio-political and economic realities of the post-colonial and post-independence African states, and the emerging trends in human movement around the globe, have equally influenced the literary production in the continents. Thereby bringing about different critical areas which have attracted much attention in the field of Arts and humanities. One of the growing areas of interest to writers, researchers, and critics has been migration and its attendant effects on the migrants in terms of their cultural identity, psychological makeup, cultural and religious affinities, among others.


A dictionary of literary terms defined as: “Alienation is the state of being alienated or estranged from something or somebody; it is a condition of the mind”. Encyclopaedia Britannica defines alienation as. “the state of feeling estranged or separated from ones milieu, work, products of work or self”.

The English word ‘Alienation’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Alienato’. Alianato is a noun which receives meaning from the verb ‘alienare’ which means to make a thing for others, to snatch, to avoid, to remove, etc. These words are Greek in origin The meaning of ‘Anomia’ isself-alienation and ‘Anomie’ is alienation from society. ‘Anomia’ is an indicator of Personal disintegration of man from the society.

According to G.H.Nettler: “…… anomia is personal disorganization, alienation is apsychological state of an individual and ….. alienated in the person who has been estranged from, made unfriendly toward his society and the culture it carries”(2). Generally, Anomie, Anomia or Alienation are interchangeable.


In English there are other words other than Alienation. They are Estrangement Isolation and Separation. Different interpreters of alienation have given different definitions.



Issues such as gender and cultural exploitations need to be in the fore. Since cultures around the world are under pressure of extinction as a result of migration processes. These literary representations should also serve as a caveat to chiefly the young African population whose social responsibility has changed regarding their African nationality recently. Should we all relocate as sojourners and empty our own continent? Answers to this query should also provide responses to the fact that, if we are not Africans, what are we?


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Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email:

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