Beasts of No Nation

Is Agu Believable?   College

In Uzodinma Iweala’s novel Beasts of No Nation, Agu’s diction immediately sticks out. While foreign at first, Agu’s narration quickly becomes easy to understand. The voice Iweala has created for Agu, though critical in order to convey the tragedies felt by African child soldiers, is unrealistically profound for a young boy. Thus, while Iweala has done a fantastic job of showing readers the emotions a child like Agu would feel, while doing so, he has forced Agu to think and make revelations that feel artificial. Iweala therefore included the diction as a necessary method to make Agu’s character seem more authentic; without it, the book would become too disingenuous for readers.

Agu’s storytelling, especially given his age and educational background, is unreasonably advanced and eloquent. From page one, Agu utilizes descriptive prose and similes flawlessly: “I am feeling itch like insect is crawling on my skin… feeling my body crunched up like one small mouse in the corner when the light is coming on. (1)” This sort of account is too advanced for an approximately seven-year-old boy, especially considering the high-stress nature of the situations Agu recounts. While it’s natural to use some metaphors organically, the frequency...

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