Racism is one of the central theme in the prose. Second-Class Citizen depicts ordinary Africans who are naturally blacks, and explores, how the fact of their race inhibits them from enjoying a glorious stay in a foreign land. The title of the novel “Second Class Citizen refers to a substandard, inferior, and black citizen in the novel, the fact that there are second-class citizens and first-class citizens makes racism and identity crisis evident in the novel. The former is associated with the British people, who stand the chance of becoming a partaker of everything the society offers, while the latter which is black (Africans to be precise) have their choices limited. They are not allowed to live with their white counterparts, which is a white dominant community. The blacks are forced to live in slums, while menial jobs are meant for them.

For example, Adah and her family make the theme of racial discrimination prominent in the novel as an issue that she tries to avoid all to no avail. Adah’s first encounter with race relations occurs when they are still at Ashdown Street, when she is served a notice to quit the house. It reads “No meandering A solicitor representing their landlord, would like them to quit and give up all claims to the tenancy of their one room. This is not because she had a problem with her fellow tenants or the landlady, as she has done everything to avoid any clash or confrontation with them. Some of the things working against her and the family include: They are blacks. Nigerian to be precise.

Adah has refused to send her children to nursery like everyone else in England. Also, they are Ibos, the hated people because they believe in their own ideologies. s Adah’s search for a new accommodation yields no result. Nearly all the vacant spaces they come across bear an inscription. “Sorry, No colored” no them.

Adah’s house hunting is made more difficult because of racism and identity crisis, for she is black, with two children, and pregnant with another. Race relation has taught her a lesson that her color is something she should be ashamed of. She was never aware of this at home in Nigeria, even when in the midst of whites. As racism is beginning to have a serious psychological effect on her, she vows never to measure up with the white folks-but to live a low lifestyle, and also stop looking for accommodation in a clean, desirable neighborhood. She is now learning to suspect anything beautiful and pure because those things are for the white, not the blacks.

Also, the effect of racial discrimination has made Adah a liar and deceiver such that she had to change her Nigerian-born accent so as to sound like a white lady in order to secure accommodation. Both Adah and Francis still have to visit the white landlady to conceal their black colors and identify without result. It is also the effect of racism that makes Francis burns the manuscript of Adah’s first novel. The Bride Price because he feels that Adah is black, and the writing career is meant for the white alone.


On the 25th of the month, all those aliens not yet out of the country are forbidden to leave. A new order by the government directed all such persons to go to the Haji camp, near the airport in Lagos instead of the Seme-Badagry border post. When Nii and his colleagues arrive at the camp, the space available is not much. Even some persons who have been there for three days have no access to food and water. Nii meets Linda a secretary at Expense Bank, she apologizes for her unreasonable attitude towards him in her departures, and the way they parted when he told her to go to Nigeria. “I had hooked a Nigerian, who helped me obtain a Visa for London. I have written to my husband I am coming to London the day after tomorrow, but look where I am she laments bitterly.

Nii also meets the man he called boss, who embezzled Susu union money and ran to Nigeria in camp. He vows never to return to Ghana. His reasons for coming to Nigeria is to work for a while and go back home to settle his debts. He’s been hiding in a village before the immigration officials got him. The man cannot be traced and his wife confirmed. That he had made used of all the Susu money. The kafor Didi market women back home would tear him apart if he enters Ghana again.

While Nii and Linda are still engaging in chit chat an old man walks toward them, he pleads with them to render him help. He confesses that he will die very soon because anyone, who sleeps at the corner-pointing to the corner, dies. All that he needs is just ten kobo to buy water to drink before he finally dies. He slept there last night since there was no space in the camp.

As Nii and others continue to fashion out the route of escape, he recounts on the memory of those who are already dead in the course of the struggle for African unity, including Massa, who was an Africanist it’s also in memory of all those who have fallen victim to hatred and bad laws and those undergoing all forms of degradation and persecution.

Unexpected occurs at the camp, one of the sergeants forces his way through the people, draws out his gun to threaten those standing by his way.The corporal warns against the use of placard after he destroyed it. A young woman who followed the lady is in labour also discloses to people that one of the security personnel at the camp attempts to seduce her, an act the people view as an abomination or cowardly attempt at desecrating our people. The mad crowd react in protest and they swam around the corporal and Nii snatches his gun. Everyone expects Nii to shoot the corporal in revenge for the very dubious and real reason of cruelty to the aliens, He know how to use gun but thinks otherwise.

Nii Aaron, Linda feel that the hour of escape has come as they hurry past the gate, leading for the plane along the airport, leading into a cassava farm. Linda is heading straight to the airport to take a flight to London. Everyone is in high spirit as their hopes rise, but there is bad news for them as a dead body is seen dangling on a tree. Nii recognizes him back in Haji camp, Nii calls the people like the man dangling on the tree martyrs, numberless heroes in the Diaspora. At this point, Nii is beginning to accept the fact that he is a fugitive in search of a soul, and in search of identify. Aaron suggests they should go to Ijase, but the old man seems to have an objection because the village is in trouble. They have money, but the people there are proud. The journey to Ijase is not without difficulty as they disappear into the bush whenever they sight an immigration officers.


This theme revolves round the novel, and this contributes immensely to the conflict in the novel. Firstly, the narrator encounters powerful, selfish and ambitious people. For example, Brother Jack and the entire Brotherhood use people such as the narrator to build a stronger basis for their organization to fully show case their ideology. Brother Jack uses the narrator also to establish fame of the Brotherhood ideology. Brother Jack does not see the narrator as a friend or as a co-worker, but as a tool for the Brotherhood advancement. This is a perfect example of a person who does things according to his self-interests.

Another example of character in the novel who is drunk with power and ambition is Dr. Bledsoe, the two faced traitor. Bledsoe’s motto is to act servile and submissive in front of the white, but is actually a man who belongs to nobody; Bledsoe is ambitious and selfish and has once told the narrator that if he has to kill and hang the black in order to keep his position, he should do. That statement is most evident idea for readers to see that Bledsoe is a traitor to his own race.

Bledsoe is also a man who would take any measure to gain what he wanted. The anti-hero Griffin, who turns himself into an invisible man in order to gain power and glory should not be exempted from people who are ambitious. The fact that several characters in the novel warns reader not to succumb to these vices.



About MR_ABILITY 143 Articles
I remain my humble self, Mr Ability, my major interest is to ensure my candidates gets best results & grades in any exam they want....our jamb is always 285-350 every year MY PRIVATE LINE IS 07067800301 WHATSAPP

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.