The Chinua Achebe Encyclopedia

By M. Keith Booker | Go to book overview

Y

YABA

, a mainland section of Lagos in which Clara Okeke, prior to her appointment as an Assistant Nursing Sister, lives with a cousin, as indicated in chapters 7 and 11 of No Longer at Ease.

Thomas J. Lynn


YAM

, “King of Crops” as Achebe calls it in Things Fall Apart, is a tuberous plant with a vinelike stem covered with thorns like those of a rosebush. It is not to be confused with sweet potato, which Americans call yam. African yam comes in various sizes, shapes, and colors. There are yams that can measure up to ten or more inches in diameter and upward of two feet in length. The outer skin is brown and is covered with coarse or fine stringy “hairs.” When peeled, the true color could be pure white, pale pink, or pale or deep yellow. The yam mentioned in Achebe's novels is a staple food in most parts of Igboland. Before the era of money currency and bank accounts, one's wealth was measured by the extent of one's yam barn. Anyone who could feed his or her family on yam from one harvest to another was considered wealthy. The primary purpose for yam farming is to provide food for the family. There are multiple ways of preparing yam as a meal: it can be boiled and pounded into foofoo and eaten with a rich sauce; it can be boiled and eaten with all kinds of sauces or dips; it can be roasted on an open fire or under wood ash; it can be fried; it can be dried and turned into flour. The secondary purpose for the yam farmer is to raise money for the family by selling yams. In parts of Igboland like Owerri, yam forms part of the dowry that a bride takes with her to start her own yam barn at her new home.


FURTHER READING
G.E. Igwe, Igbo-English Dictionary (entry under “Ji”—the Igbo word for yam).

Phanuel Akubueze Egejuru


YEATS, W(ILLIAM) B(UTLER)

(1865-1939). Important Anglo-Irish poet and dramatist, the son of prominent portrait painter John Butler Yeats. Born in Dublin, Yeats studied at the School of Art there before deciding to devote himself to poetry rather than following his father into painting. One of the most important Anglophone poets of the twentieth century, Yeats had a long and productive career that stretched from the late 1880s to the late 1930s and saw him go through various stages as a poet, including an early stage heavily influenced by Romanticism and later stages that reflect the emergence of modernism. Yeats's poetry also shows his interest in

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The Chinua Achebe Encyclopedia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword: Chinua Achebe and the Institution of African Literature vii
  • Preface xvii
  • Chronology xix
  • A 1
  • B 39
  • C 51
  • D 73
  • E 76
  • F 83
  • G 91
  • H 96
  • I 109
  • J 122
  • K 126
  • L 130
  • M 136
  • N 161
  • O 191
  • P 218
  • R 229
  • S 233
  • T 246
  • U 270
  • V 280
  • W 281
  • Y 286
  • Z 288
  • Bibliography 289
  • Index 303
  • About the Contributors 315
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