The “Everyday Forms of Resistance” in Ben Okri’s “The Famished Road” Trilogy


The Famished Road Trilogy
everyday resistance

How to Cite

Ben Rhit, Abdelkader. 2020. “The “Everyday Forms of Resistance” in Ben Okri’s ‘The Famished Road’ Trilogy”. Brolly 3 (3):51-72.


This paper aims to study resistance in Ben Okri’s The Famished Road Trilogy. It analyses diverse forms of resistance, especially those inscribed by the ordinary people to challenge the authority of the dominant structures and to transform the given order in historically specific ways. The dialectic of oppression and resistance shapes the world of Okri’s trilogy. What is of particular interest to the purposes of this paper is not the organized resistance movements but what James C. Scott has called the “everyday forms of resistance.” (Weapons of the Weak 1985, 36) Scott theorises resistance as a spontaneous act that is neither organized nor politically charged. The dialectic of oppression and resistance shapes the world of Okri’s trilogy. The paper perceives resistance as a “spontaneous overflow”, to borrow Wordsworth’s phrase, that is governed by self-interest. The “spontaneous overflow” in this context means that resistance is the expression of deep feelings of dissatisfaction and discontent with injustice, inequity, and the various forms of oppression found in a society. Resistance provides the platform to the oppressed people to express their refusal and their standing against colonialist, post-colonialist and neo-colonialist exploitation. It is a resistance to all oppressors whether they are Western colonizers or local rulers. Resistance against injustice is not calculated or planned but it may transform into an organized politically charged act that has the potential to dislodge the oppressive structures, if not eradicate them. What are the various forms of oppression Okri’s protagonists have faced? How do they respond to these forms of oppression? Does their resistance achieve its intended outcome(s)? If resistance falls short of achieving its intended outcomes, what conditions does Okri advocate for its success?