The Silence of Compliance: Child Soldier Trauma Narratives in Contemporary African War Novels


  • Vinod Kumar V Bharathidasan University
  • Gayathri S Bharathidasan University



perpetrator trauma, victimhood, child soldiers, victim/victimiser, Nigerian civil war


The victimhood of child soldiers is without any argument, a fact. In many wars, the illegitimate conscription of children under the age of eighteen has resulted in severe repercussions in the mental health of the child soldiers even after the war. Child soldier trauma depicted through many literary artifacts shows the intensity and gravity of the situation. The novels by Uzodinma Iweala, Chris Abani, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie viz Beasts of No Nation, Song for Night and Half of a Yellow Sun address the issue of child soldier conscription, the resultant trauma, and the slim chances of the betterment of the children even after the war is over. The paper moves toward acknowledging the victimhood of these children but at the same raising concerns about the agency of the trauma. The role of the child soldiers as perpetrators beyond their status of being victims and the necessity to provide proper psychosocio care to avert trauma and impending disorder in the society. A new approach concerning the grey area of in-betweenness in the victim/victimiser binary is needed while analysing desperate times like that of the Biafran civil war.

Author Biographies

Vinod Kumar V, Bharathidasan University

Department of English

Gayathri S, Bharathidasan University

Department of English


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