OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society

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OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 11, No. 1

[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.1-19
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Jan 2021
Received 26 Oct 2020 Revised 14 Dec 2020 Accepted 29 Dec 2020

Leaving to Live but Not Without Scar: Trauma of Departure in Helon Habila’s Travelers
Solomon Olusayo Olaniyan
Osun State University, Nigeria


Having been pushed out to search for greener pastures outside their homelands in view of hardship, socio-political, and economic problems that have become the major postcolonial indices in most African countries, African migrants are faced with some challenges, which often threaten their lives and identities in the strange land. Predicated on the postcolonial theory, this study, therefore, examines the representations of migrants’ ordeal following their “escape” from home in Helon Habila’s Travelers. These traumatic encounters are occasioned by their host community’s austere ambience. Anderson (2015, p. 354) rightly maintains that “Fear among and of migrants is often perpetuated via rhetorical measures that bespeak the overlay of racism and economic intransigency.” For some of the restless migrant characters, they only end up moving out of the frying pan into the fire. The narrative reveals migrants’ loss in terms of relationships, emotion, economy, identity, spatiality, and justice. Thus, their hellish realities-induced exodus does not leave them without scars, which smear their identity and search for better opportunities as they are physically, emotionally, and psychologically altered.

Keywords: trauma of departure, Travelers, Helon Habila, migration, postcolonial theory

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Biographical Note

Solomon Olusayo Olaniyan, PhD teaches African and English Literature in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria. His research areas include Postcolonial African Literature, English Literature, Comparative Literature, and Migrant Studies. E-mail: