Summary and Analysis of A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe

by Kev


 A man of the people is a novel of the post-colonial era. It is a realistic novel that exposed the attitude of the leaders after the colonial era. The story is about chief Nanga a politician and Odili Samuel his student when he was a teacher, Odili who was a teacher when Chief Nanga invited him to his house ,the day he visited Anata Grammar school where Odili was teaching, that was how he went to his house and stay with his wife and children he was welcomed and was provided with everything he needed .Later he had problem with chief Nanga who slept with his girl friend Elsie which made him to leave the house and went to his friends house, Max who was his school friend. that was how he started planning and organising a new political party C.P.C, they started planning on how to win the party of chief Nanga P.O.P, but they later failed, Max was later killed by chief Koka ‘s boys and Odili later married Edna the young girl that chief Nanga wanted to marry to revenge his girl friend that chief Nanga slept with .Military later took over government and chief Nanga and all the members of his party who had been eating and wasting  the public fund started running


The story started in a stage where the people of Anata Grammar school where waiting for the honourable M.A. Nanga M.P. who was the most approachable politician in the country. He visited the people of Anata after giving his speech he invited Odili the school teacher to his house, to help him secure a good job.

Odili went to Nanga’s house he welcomed him and gave him a place to stay .He introduced him to his wife and children who also welcomed him to the house and he told them a lot of things about Odili how he was a good boy back in school and how he was his teacher when he was in primary school and how intelligent he was then .They became friends ,loved each other and Odili also respect him as a teacher .In his house  Odili told him about his girl friend Elsie who he meet in the university during his school days .Later his wife and children travelled to the village to visit home for Xmas chief Nanga told odili to arrange a girl for him and Odili told him that he wants to bring Elsie to the house that was how chief Nanga slept with Elsie Odili’s girl friend ,because of that Odili left the house in anger and decided that he most take away Edna the small nd young girl that chief Nanga wanted to marry as a second wife , that he most try ever thing possible within his power to revenge his lost.

He left chief Nanga’s house to his friends house Max who was his school friend and also a lawyer, and a politician .He told Odili about the new political party they formed and told Odili their plans and aim about the new party which made Odili to be happy and he started planning on how to revenge over what chief Nanga did to him by sleeping with his girl friend . That was how they started planning on how to win the next election that is coming up how the C.P.C will win the party of chief Nanga P.O.P, Odili put all his effort and power in the party,his father who was a member of the P.O.P supported him to the extent of allowing the campaign to be hold in his compound . During the campaign he never give up he was written to Edna telling her a lot of things why she should not marry chief Nanga how old he is for her.

During the campaign chief Nanga visited him with in his father’s house and offered him money, for him to withdraw from the election but he refused to collect anything from him not even a penny .during chief Nanga’s campaign Odili decided to go and witness what he will say to know if he will say anything against him for him to know what to say or do on the day of his own ,unfortunately he was cut and was beaten up by Chief Nanga and his men after the beaten he became unconscious and was taken to the hospital after some weeks he recovered and had of the death of his friend Max and he was informed that the election is over. They told him how chief Koka’s jeep swept up from behind and knocked Max over and killed him on the spot. Eunice, Max fiancée killed chief Koka at once. And when he woke up also he saw Edna beside him which also made him to be happy .Later he was discharged he went to Edna’s house and seek for her hand in marriage that was how he married her ,and he also paid chief Nanga back all the money he spent on Edna .After that the military took over the affairs of the country ,the great chief Nanga was arrested while trying to escape by canoe dressed like a fisher man .


The novel was set in Anata and some events took place in Urua and Bori. The time of the setting of the novel is during post-colonial era.


The use of language in the novel varies according to the level of the user. The educated people used the standard form of English while the uneducated ones used their native accent such character like Odili ,Max etc uses standard language while the man with one eye during Nanga’s visit to Anata used pidgin.

Point of view

The narrator speaks in the first person point of view he told us his story ,how Nanga treated him and how his political ambition ends.

Tone and Mood

The tone of the writer is very serious in telling us the evil that is happening in the society how our leaders rule the community how they embezzle the public money .Moon the idle of the story is so sorrowful and disgusted while the end makes the reader to be happy about the new development.

Characters and characterization

Odili Samuel

He is the major character in the novel he was a teacher at Anata grammar school, he was the one that chief Nanga invited to his house and later chief Nanga slept with his girl friend Elsie. Odili in the novel was among the organisers of the new political party C.P.C. Who determined to stop Chife Nanga from marring Edna the beautiful young girl that he also love and decided to revenge his girl friend that chief Nanga slept with. He later achieved his aim and married Edna

Chief Nanga

Chief the honourable M.A. Nanga was the most approachable politician in the country. If you ask in the city or in his home village, Anata , they will tell you that he is a man of the people .He was among the ministers ,he was the minister of culture and was ones a teacher he taught Odili Samuel and that was why he recognised him and invited him to his house ,he was the one that slept with Odili’s girl friend Elsie .In the work the military took over the affairs of the country and was asking the formal leaders to provide all the money they have embezzled.   he was captured while trying to sneak out of the country dressed like a fisher man that was how he was arrested .


In the work she was the beautiful young girl that chief Nanga wanted to marry as a second wife in the work .Chief Nanga take good care of her and her sick mother and also enrolled her in school. Her marriage with chief Nanga didn’t work out because of Odili’s interst in her and the reasons he gave her about chief Nanga .In the work she later became in wife of Odili who paid chief Nanga back all the money he spent on her.


He was Odili’s classmate and he is also a lawyer and a politician .He was the one that Odili went to his house when he left chief Nanga’s house, he was the one that introduced Odili to the new political party C.P.C .He was later killed by chief Koka’s jeep and was revenge by Eunice Max fiancée who killed chief Koka instantly.


She was a beautiful girl ,Max fiancée who was a lawyer she was engaged to Max who she meet at London .She was the one that revenge the death of Max immediately he was killed she killed chief Koka instantly ‘

Use of irony

Odili Samuel knows that Edna is the girl that chief Nanga wants to marry but he pretended as if he didn’t know and ask Mis Nanga again to know what she will say.


Odili Samuel in the work remembered the first time he know Mr Nanga in 1948 he remembered how he used to dress while coming to school and how handsome he was that made his fellow teachers to call him M.A. Nanga .

Themes in the Novel

In the work we have the theme of

  • Failure and disappointment.
  • Corruption and bribery
  • Betrayal

Theme of determination

Odili Samuel in the work determined to revenge his girl friend that chief Nanga slept with by making Edna the girl that chief Nanga wanted to marry as a second wife  to believe that Chief Nanga is too old for her and enduring all the things that Edna’s father was doing and saying to him each time he visit he determined to take Edna away from chief Nanga and he did exactly that he keep on writing to her going to her house he is a man of his word.

Theme of failure and disappointment

Max,Odili Samuel ,Eunice ,Max wife et el who wanted to remove the old government they were all disappointed .They where group of friends in the novel who wanted to remove chief Nanga and his party members from the office by creating a new party called the C.P.C. to oppose the P.O.P party on the day of the election chief Koka’s boys  killed Max and befor the election day chief Nanga beat up Odili who was  unconscious till the election was over .

Theme of corruption and bribery

In the work a man of the people there are corruptions everywhere because of the leaders the government in charge of the country .The government in power are not doing any good thing in the community ,all they do is to leave in a big house and to travel outside the country to embezzle the public fund. In the novel chief Nanga tried to bribe Odili Samuel for him to back up during the election for him not to context again but Odili refused . Chief Koka bribed Max as well asking him not to participate in the election but Max collected the money from him and later participated.

Theme of betrayal

In the work chief Nanga betrayed Odili by sleeping with her girl friend Elsie and also Elsie betrayed Odili by allowing Chief Nanga to touch her

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