Research Article

Black-skinned Intellectuals Wearing White Masks: A Neocolonial Study of Identity Crisis in Wole Soyinka's The Interpreters


  • Bahman Moradi M.A. in English Language Literature, English language department, Kharazmi University, Iran


Wole Soyinka, the first African writer Nobel Prize winner in literature in 1986, is famous universally, mostly for his plays. But one of his novels, The Interpreters (1965), has been acclaimed as well as criticized by many critics for some stylistic and ideological problems. The interpreters of Soyinka's novel are five intellectuals who have come back from abroad, mainly England, to their country, post-independence Nigeria. The critical perspectives of these interpreters towards predominant corruption and other social problems in most parts and institutions of Nigeria are clearly noticeable. The identity crisis, which is rampant throughout this novel, can be recognized as cultural and, in some cases, biological hybridity. Two social psychological identity problems, that is, identity and hybridity crisis, as well as 'neocolonialism' term, are the main concerns of this thesis. Neocolonialism, as a less debated term in comparison to two other dominant terms, postmodernism and postcolonialism, has been analyzed coherently. Having delineated the neocolonialism term and its connections with literature, this thesis has gone through the characters of this novel and has argued the manifestation of hybridity and identity in all aspects of their lives. Post-independence Nigerian as the context of this work reveals clearly these identity and hybridity crises through its characters. Destructive outcomes of identity and hybridity crisis, which left Nigeria a paralyzed country, and warning to avoid further crises is among Soyinka's concerns, as well as the main points which this thesis is searching to highlight. Not to be mesmerized by western culture and amalgamate it ineptly with one's own, as well as the highly valuable political intervention of literature to reflect psychological problems of supressed societies would be regarded as a significant finding of such research.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

5 (6)





How to Cite

Moradi, B. (2022). Black-skinned Intellectuals Wearing White Masks: A Neocolonial Study of Identity Crisis in Wole Soyinka’s The Interpreters. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 5(6), 13–22.



Neo-colonialism; identity; hybridity; colonizer; colonized