Rape of a Nation: An Eco-critical Reading of Helon Habila’s Oil on Water


  • Solomon Adedokun Edebor Lecturer, Department of English and Literary Studies Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, (ABUAD), Ekiti State, Nigeria




Degradation, Earth resources, Environment, Exploitation, Society.


A number of literary and linguistic researches have been carried out on post-independent Nigerian quagmire. The concerns of some of these studies range from investigating many of the topical issues that have come to define the country, particularly with regard to the issues of bad governance and socio-economic oppression, to the roles played by the masses in aggravating the nation’s predicaments. However, not many critics and scholars have paid the deserved attention to the ecological concerns of Nigerian novelists. This paper, therefore, examines Helon Habila’s Oil on Water as a testament to the environmental mindfulness of Nigerian novelists. The choice of Oil on Water is informed by the fact that there is a dearth of serious scholarly research on the novel. Using the sociological approach and adopting a content analysis method, this study finds out that Habila is not oblivious of the ecological implications of man’s exploitative tendencies on earth’s resources as he makes bare the grim effects of Man’s reckless actions on the environment, the society and other living things, thereby rousing the consciousness of his readers as a way of forcing them to contribute their quota towards making the earth a safe place to live in, free from further gratuitous exploitations by a few to the disadvantage of many. It is, nevertheless, found out that the author fails to suggest pragmatic solutions to the staggering challenges confronting the oil-polluted and violence-ridden nation of Niger Delta.


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