Helon Habila and the Trauma of Disposable People in Oil on Water


  • Uchenna Ohagwam
  • Ndubuisi Ogbuagu


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Trauma, war, psyche, environment, new slaves


Trauma studies is no doubt a burgeoning area of discourse that has captured the literary imagination of academic scholars for a few decades running.  This study examined the complex relationship between socio-cultural influences and intimate personal relations portrayed in a trauma fiction as Helon Habila’s Oil on Water.  Specifically, how does these depictions in Habila’s fiction direct the awareness of the catastrophic effects of war, poverty, hostage taking, domestic abuse on the individual psyche? How do traumatised people respond? To what extent can one theorize trauma studies and ecocritical studies? How traumatized is the physical landscape portrayed in Habila’s fiction? The study concludes by insisting that government of nations and relevant international organisations, owe the people the responsibility of intentionally committing to rearticulating and rehabilitating the social conditions, voices; indeed, the lives of marginalized people.


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Author Biographies

Uchenna Ohagwam

Department of English and Literary Studies, Rivers State University.

Ndubuisi Ogbuagu

Department of English and Literary Studies, Rivers State University.


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How to Cite

Ohagwam, U., & Ogbuagu, N. (2023). Helon Habila and the Trauma of Disposable People in Oil on Water. American Journal of Literature Studies, 2(1), 13 -22. https://doi.org/10.47672/ajls.1418