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Saving Mr Ugwu

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Saving Mr Ugwu is a short story written by Lin Anderson. The story takes place in Nigeria which is a country in Africa. The capital of Nigeria is Lagos and the Ugwu family lived there, but they moved to a more uncivilized part of Nigeria the bush because Mr Ugwu got a job there.
Mr Ugwu is native though he identifies himself with Western men. He comes from the civilized part of Nigeria. He is well educated. He went to the British school in Lagos and travelled to London after his graduation and stayed there for a year and he is an accountant and it pays well. He accepts the new job even though his wife does not want him to take is “You are not a bushman, she said” but Mr. Ugwu feels he need to accept the job because he feels he has a responsibility towards the company because it is good to him and his family “When the company tells him to go somewhere, he is not in a position to argue”. He likes mentioning he has expensive things like his spacious Lagos bungalow and his crisped white European cotton shirt which emphasizes he is a civilized man. He also has a condescending attitude towards other natives” He is resented, oh not by the Baturi!... He gets on well with Europeans…. No, he sighs, it is the Hausa who resent him” even though he is native himself. The lack of thought and focus on materialism and him being a civilized man make him appear superficial.
Mrs Ugwu represents the urbanized native bourgeoisie. She did not want to leave Lagos and she does not like the new place. She thinks people who live in that area is Bushmen and therefore she does not want to live a place like that because she thinks people will think less of her and she is also concerned for her children “how will we educate them in the bush”. When bush is in italics it emphasizes her opinion regarding the bush. Like Mr Ugwu appearance means a lot her. Even though they lived in the bush she always insisted that Mr Ugwu wore his western clothes. Another reason she does not like the bush is the fact that she cannot have a beautiful garden like she had I Lagos. In the bush her exotic flowers cannot grow because of the “dry barren landscape” and “its uncivilised way of life”.
The workers at the factory confront Mr Ugwu at his house and they want to do something in the way of violence. They are unsatisfied with their wage because they were expecting more because it was not their fault they could not do their work.
The Ugwu family got a kitchen boy and Mr Ugwu think he is lazy and dirty and he does not think highly of him. Mr Ugwu thinks he is better than him. He is does not like Mr Ugwu and when the workers show up at Mr Ugwus house the he joins the workers as soon as they arrive. Even though he is hires by the Ugwu family and serve them he cannot be trusted.
The Ugwu family got a neighbour called Jake Jarvis. Mr Ugwu does not like him “He believes him to be an ungodly man who drinks alcohol and goes with prostitutes”. Jake got a decadence lifestyle and he represents the part of western culture that Mr Ugwu does not relate to. Jake Jarvis got a monkey and he talks about to anyone who will listen when he is drunk.
The monkey in the story is Mr Ugwus alter ego. It reflects some of the things Mr Ugwu dislikes about himself. Mr Ugwu considers himself a civilized man and the monkey is a very uncivilized animal.
The flowers Mrs Ugwus brought with her from Lagos represent civilization and that is the reason they will not grow because you cannot make something civilized grow in the most uncivilized place like the bush. The flowers also represent Mrs Ugwu. She is miserable in the bush like the flowers so then she is sad the flowers are sad. None of them can grow and be happy in the bush. The flowers also represent the bosses to the workers because when they arrive at the house they start to stamp and destroy Mrs Ugwus garden. When they kill the flowers they feel they remove the civilized the Ugwu family brought to the place and it does not belong there.
Another symbol is the rain and it symbolises the good life. The Ugwu family need rain to feel more at home and Mrs Ugwu needs rain so she can have the perfect garden. The rain also saved Mr Ugwu from the workers.
The theme is belong or not belonging. The Ugwu family belonged in the city and not the bush. They could not find their place in the bush because they expected they could take everything from the city and place it in the bush. They did not make an effort to adapt to their new situation and they did not accept the people who lived there because they thought they were better and more civilized than the people already living there.

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