Metaphors of State Disability in Cameroon Anglophone Literature: Assessing the Body in Bate Besong’s Beasts of No Nation and Nkemngong Nkengasong’s Black Caps and Red Feathers

Charles Ngiewih Teke

Abstract


This essay, which showcases the inextricable link between literature and social and political science, probes into questions of metaphors of state disability with regard to the textualisation of the body as representation and site of exaction of power in Bate Besong’s Beasts of No Nation and Nkemngong Nkengasong’s Black Caps and Red Feathers. The body of the postcolonial subject as site of gruesome ideological inscription, the state as (dis)membered body, and the body of the autocrat/absolute ruler as embodiment of state are the different semantic contexts in which the phenomenology and hermeneutics of body is theorized. The grotesque nature and obscenity of the plays are metaphors of the disability of structures designed in autocratic regimes. The different character portraits are not the undesirable branches of society which must be trimmed; they are metaphors of the state as a sickening and unhealthily fractured body. Critically, the body is not only object, but subject in the context of agency, a site of resistance to codifications inscribed on it. The body is not only acted upon, it acts as well. The narcissistic body of the autocrat represents state pathology and dysfunction which is entrapped in the excess of power.

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