"We are the Delta": Nature and Agency in Helon Habila’s Oil on Water
Keywords:Niger Delta, oil, ecocriticism, pollution, Helon Habila, nature, agency
At first sight there appear to be three human participants in the Niger Delta struggle in Helon Habila’s novel Oil on Water. The soldiers sent by the federal government keep the oil business running; the armed rebels fight to protect the environment and for a say in the distribution of petrodollars; and the local villagers find themselves wedged in-between. This article claims that the fourth actor in the ecodrama is the brutalized landscape. Far from assuming a passive role, nature in Oil on Water strikes back through Habila’s prose. The devastated land is given a powerful voice in order to demand an urgent need for action to stop any further destruction caused by mindless oil extraction.
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