Achebe’s Defense of The Ibo People in Things Fall Apart
The late Chinua Achebe is considered to be one of the most important voices in African literature. Born in colonial Nigeria in the 1930’s, Achebe joined the first wave of African writers who were determined to represent their country in a way that would truthfully depict the past and present. Before the arrival of the first wave writers, the history of pre-colonial Africa was portrayed as a place of barbarous activity. European novelists such as Joseph Conrad only added to this impression in his dehumanizing book, The Heart of Darkness. Conrad depicted Africa as the antithesis of civilization. In 1958, Achebe published Things Fall Apart as a response to the negative …show more content…
Each type of orature not only preserved the past for the Ibo people it was also their way of educating the young. The belief that African’s were uneducated before the entrance of the Colonial era was another myth that needed to be resolved. Their way of education through the use of orature was a practice that wholly fulfilled the needs of those who lived in the village. It was the arrival of Colonial power that changed the definition of what “true” education really was. Of course, Achebe saw the arrival of Western education as a positive thing. It would enable his people to eventually take control of their country again. He echoed this thinking when the missionary, Mr. Brown who came to live with the Ibo people, “begged and argued and prophesized. He said that the leaders of the land in the future would be men and women who had learned to read and write. If Umuofia failed to send her children to school, strangers would come from other places to rule them”(Things Fall Apart 181). Achebe was one of those “future men” which he wrote about. It was because of his Western education that he was able to write Things Fall Apart, which was written to “to help my society regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of the years of degradation and self-abasement”(Morning Yet On Creation Day 71).
The second topic that Achebe highlighted in Things Fall Apart was the Ibo’s style of
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The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe discusses the rise of an Igbo chieftain who came from great poverty to power and the eventual loss of Igbo traditions, rites, and the influence of his clan through his eyes due to western imperialism and colonialism. The intended audience for this novel is very broad, but if we tried to define it would primarily be people who have not experienced the Igbo culture and westerners or people who speak English. In this essay I will be focusing on the last six chapters: chapters 20 to 25. These chapters highlight the loss of power and customs of the Igbo people who have succumb to colonial rule. I fell Achebe is rhetorically effective and
In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, it is shown that the African people had their own complex culture before the Europeans decided to "pacify" them. The idea that the dignity of these people has been greatly compromised is acknowledged in the essay "The Role of the Writer," which is explanatory of Achebe's novels. A writer trying to capture the truth of a situation that his readers may know little or nothing about needs a sense of history in order to appropriately address the topic. It is not enough "to beat" another writer to the issue. Writers should make the attempt to express a deeper understanding. Without proper mental investment in a written work, the
Even though the Ibo are described as ‘primitive and savage’ by Mr. Smith, one of the missionary church leaders, the tribesmen evidently show their etiquette through their mannerisms. Proverbs, a form of Ibo mannerisms, are used quite frequently throughout this novel as ‘the art of conversation is regarded very highly [by the Ibo], and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.’ (Achebe. P.5:1986) The Ibo people are also not as violent and savage as many of the missionaries believed. This is shown when a villager from the Mbaino village kills a woman from the Ibo village, the Ibo village elders and those with titles, instead of initiating war against the neighbouring Mbaino, reach a peaceful agreement on the reparations from the Mbaino tribe.‘… [A]t the end it was decided to follow the normal course of action. An ultimatum was immediately dispatched to Mbaino asking them to choose between wars on the one hand, and on the other the offer of a young man and a virgin as compensation.” (P.8)
Chinua Achebe was educated in the West, though he hails from an African tribe. His exposure to both African and Western thinking gives him a unique perspective on the colonization of Africa, which is argued to be barbaric by some, but beneficial and necessary by others. In “Things Fall Apart,” Achebe perspective comes through as he masterfully describes a pre-colonization African tribe, and how colonization percolated through it. His authentic accounts of the positives and negatives of both tribal society and colonization leave the reader to answer the question of whether imperialism was morally justifiable or not.
The nurture of a child is what governs what the child will be like when he/she gets older. In the Ibo community, the men were not responsible for the upbringing of children and if anyone was to blame if a child acted up in public it was the women’s fault for not properly teaching the child the customs
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people” (“Mahatma Gandhi Quotes” 1). The culture of a certain tribe, clan or group of people is not found written anywhere but it is found in the knowledge of its people because that is what they’ve grown up to learn. To them that is the only way they know. In Chinua Achebe’s book, Things Fall Apart, the people of Umuofia keep their culture close to what it was when it was discovered by their ancestors. The only changes that they made were made to fit the community as time had changed since their ancestors had been alive. However, their beliefs and morals remained relatively the same because that is what they have been taught for as long as the Ibo tribe has been around. These beliefs are all they know and they all live by them. Throughout Achebe’s piece, it is evident that he wants to emphasize the distinct Ibo culture in this book. In Things Fall Apart, Achebe stresses the importance of culture to a community by using cultural aspects such as, the Ibo language, their religion, and the traditions of the Ibo people.
It was easier for people to look at Africans as creatures with “Iron Collars” and “Grotesque mask” which is why Chinua Achebe wrote “Things Fall Apart” which was set during the late 1800s to early 1900s when British were expanding their influence in Africa in order to display the true idyllic beauty of the African people. In “Things Fall Apart”, Achebe uses irony to reflect the importance of customs and traditions through Obierika. Achebe uses an esprit tone to explain the “Flaws” others misinterpreted about the Igbo community. Achebe disliked how Europeans depicted Africans as “passionate instinctive savages”, so he refutes those depictions to give a viewpoint from the inside, the colonized and not the colonizer.
As well as maintaining good morals and values, the Ibo people further connected with their gods and ancestors through the act of sacrifice. The Ibo people would sacrifice anything from fruit, small animals and in some instances, people. On page 17, Unoka explains that, “before I put any crop in the earth, I sacrifice a cock to Ani, the owner of all land. It is the law of our fathers. I also kill a cock at the shrine of Ifejioku, the god of yams.” Although some of the practices of the Ibo religion may seem harsh, its primary goal is to maintain a peaceful and just society. Just as the Ibo celebrate religion with their gods, they also celebrate with each other. Later on page 97, Tortoise explains that he has, “…learned that a man who makes trouble for others is also making it for himself,” which demonstrates how the Ibo people followed principles similar to that of the “golden rule” found in many other religions of the time.
This is taught through basic cause and effect. First, when the missionaries arrive to Mbanta, and are allowed deeper into society, showing miscommunication and underestimation from the Ibo. Secondly, when leaders lament how this has negatively impacted their culture. Lastly, when the full effect is shown after a violent confrontation, and it is understood that by failing to understand each other they have damaged their culture and their relationship irreparably- their initial conflict gives way to
In Things Fall Apart, Umuofia is representative of Africa. Achebe writes the novel in the tumultuous time of postcolonial Africa. Western literature at this time has not been friendly towards the African nations. European arrogance and unfamiliar African mythologies and religions create stereotypical ideas about the Sub-Saharan cultures and lifestyles. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of darkness specifically aids in the Western mindset about Africa. Conrad’s aim, although perhaps not primarily meant to degrade Africa, nevertheless paints a picture of African citizens and cultures in a light that Achebe could not accept . In a conscious effort to counter the influence of novels like Heart of Darkness, Achebe decides to write Things Fall Apart as an attempt
Chinua Achebe, a well-known writer, once gave a lecture at the University of Massachusetts about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, entitled "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Throughout his essay, Achebe notes how Conrad used Africa as a background only, and how he "set Africa up as a foil to Europe,"(Achebe, p.251) while he also "projects the image of Africa as 'the other world,' the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization."(Achebe, p.252) By his own interpretations of the text, Achebe shows that Conrad eliminates "the African as a human factor," thereby "reducing Africa to the role of props."(Achebe, p.257)
Knowledge of Africa and the inhabitants of the massive continent were often portrayed as barbaric beasts by the first missionaries to enter the land. Because of skewed writings by European missionary workers, a picture was painted for their readership of a savage Africa saved only by the benevolent, civilized western influence. Achebe successfully attempts to redirect this attitude. Achebe educationally has the means to convey a different perspective, an advantage most other individuals of his culture lack. In his novel Things Fall Apart, rather than glorifying the Ibo culture, or even offering a new view, Achebe acts as a pipeline for information to flow freely without partiality.
Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart” chronicles the life of Okonkwo, a strong man whose existence is dominated by fear and anger, and the Ibo tribe, a people deeply rooted in cultural belief and tradition. As events unfold, Okonkwo’s carefully constructed world and the Ibo way of life collapses. The story of Okonkwo’s fall from a respected and feared leader of the Ibo tribe to an outcast who dies in disgrace dramatizes his inability to evolve beyond his personal beliefs, affecting the entire Ibo tribe beyond measure. The “things” that fall apart in Achebe’s novel are Okonkwo’s life – his ambition, dreams, family unity and material wealth – and the Ibo way of life – their beliefs, culture and values.
Through language, writers can tell vivid stories and convey strong emotions to readers, Chinua Achebe and Joseph Conrad both use language quite effectively. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad uses language in regards to Africans with a very negative tone. Achebe, the author of the novel Things Fall Apart, illustrates the feel of tribal life in Nigeria during the time of African colonialism and the African culture and customs. Both Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart analyze the image of Africa and their perspectives of the African peoples during the time of colonialism.
The novel "Things Fall Apart" examines African culture before the colonial infiltration. Achebe's novel forces us to examine the customs and traditions that make up an informal culture. At times we may find some their practices appalling, but Achebe makes us realize that the traditions and customs are what essentially hold the Ibo together. Achebe wrote 'Things Fall Apart" with the intention of changing the common view of African culture. He wrote the novel from an insider's perspective, revealing that African culture was not solely based on barbaric and mindless rituals. Achebe reveals the affects of the colonial infiltration on African societies. Through his