A Psychoanalytic Reading of Tanure Ojaide’s Poetry


  • Solomon Awuzie Edo University, Iyamho, Edo State, Nigeria




Anglophone African poetry, Tanure Ojaide, Psychoanalytic Theory, archetypes


Psychoanalysis as a literary theory has helped to improve understanding about “human behaviour and human mental functioning.†This is achieved through its perception of the human race as neurotic. However, with its application in poetic interpretation, poetry is perceived as an expression of displaced neurotic conflict: a consoling illusion, symptom, socially acceptable phantasy or substitute gratification. With the psychoanalytic reading of the poetry of Tanure Ojaide, an Anglophone African poet, poetry is understood as an expression of symptoms of the poet’s personal and societal neurotic tendencies. Since our emphasis is on Jungian psychoanalysis, analyzing Ojaide’s poetry through the orbits of the archetypes of Jungian psychoanalysis help to foreground the poetry as a consoling illusion or substitute gratification. Whereas the study reveals that Ojaide’s poetry is dominated by the archetype of the “wounded healer†- a symbol of a wounded personality who also doubles as the needed messiah (the healer), it is depicted that the dominant nature of the archetype of the “wounded healer†is a result of the poet’s experience which is at the centre of his poetic expression.

Author Biography

Solomon Awuzie, Edo University, Iyamho, Edo State, Nigeria

Solomon Awuzie did his first degree at the Imo State University Owerri, his master’s degree at the University of Ibadan and his PhD at the University of Port Harcourt. He is the author of the plays The Last Revolution and The Born Again Devil and also the author of many children’s books. In 2005, his short story Your Epistle won the ANA-IMO/Young Writers Club prize for literature and in 2015 his children’s fiction entitled Oluyemi and the School Fee came second at the ANA-IMO state literary competition. He teaches Literature and Creative Writing at the Department of English, Edo University Iyamho.


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How to Cite

Awuzie, S. (2017). A Psychoanalytic Reading of Tanure Ojaide’s Poetry. English Studies at NBU, 3(2), 74–87. https://doi.org/10.33919/esnbu.17.2.2