As the most widely read work of African fiction, Things Fall Apart has played an instrumental role in introducing African literature to readers throughout the world. In particular, Achebe's fiction has contributed to world literature by retelling African history, as well as the history of European colonization, from an Afro-centric perspective rather than a Euro-centric one. By shifting the narrative focus from the perspective of the colonizer to the perspective of the colonized, Achebe's novels reveal and correct many of the biased assumptions found in previous historical and literary descriptions of Africa. Specifically, they reaffirm the value of African cultures by representing their rich and complex cultural traditions instead of stereotyping them as irrational and primitive. As Achebe explains in his frequently quoted essay, "The Novelist as Teacher," his novels seek to teach Africans that "their past—with all its imperfections—was not one night of savagery from which the first Europeans acting on God's behalf delivered them." To say that Achebe affirms African culture and history, however, is not to imply that he simply inverts European ethnocentrism by romanticizing African culture as perfect or vilifying European cultures as entirely corrupt. Instead, Achebe presents a remarkably balanced view of how all cultures encompass both good and bad dimensions.
In addition to re-interpreting African culture and history from an African perspective, Things Fall Apart is also
The novel Things Fall Apart was written in 1958 by a late Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart alludes to the effects of European Imperialism on Igbo culture. This novel begins in a fictional town called “Umuofia”, on the boundary of modern day Nigeria. European missionaries arrive in Umuofia, uninvited and especially unwelcomed. Upon the missionaries arrival, Umuofia’s cultural tradition is shaken to its core and tampered with by the Europeans. The effects of the Europeans on the Igbo culture in Umuofia alter the village’s religion, political structure, and the Igbo peoples way of life.
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
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.
Preconceived ideas about one’s culture often arises from stereotypes passed down from generation to generation. It is those stereotypes which shape one’s way of thinking, without being educated properly. In the novel Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, misunderstood culture is what drives the story of a small African clan called the Umuofia and the life story of Okonkwo, a fearless warrior and farmer. An in-depth look into pre-colonial African culture helps the reader discover and understand an unbiased point of view of a world one may not understand. In doing so, Achebe uses imagery as well as strong narration to describe the cultural norms and activities that the Nigerian tribe undergoes in everyday life. Through this he offers a nonbiased point of view, and communicates and accurate picture of pre-colonial African culture to a western reader.
Nwoye’s betrayal in the novel is the same level of betrayal that Achebe is condemned with in his lifetime. African literary theorists who vie for the purity of African literature for African languages defy Achebe as a European traitor, writing his stories with his back turned to his native homeland. Yet this thesis argues for a reevaluation of that criticism. Achebe does not in fact deny his beliefs, his country, or his heritage. He rather aligns himself in a tragically ironic way with the hero of Things Fall Apart. Achebe writes his own struggle with colonialism into the life and death of Okonkwo. It is interesting to note that Achebe’s father was in many ways very similar to Nwoye. His father, Isaiah Achebe, was orphaned early in life and spent most of his childhood with his uncle, Udoh. Udoh was a man of the land; he prided himself on tradition and leadership. Chinua writes in his essay, “My Dad and Me,” that the differences between Isaiah and Udoh were seen early through the eyes of Chinua, a questioning child who was placed in the middle
By utilizing an unbiased stance in his novel, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe promotes cultural relativity without forcibly steering his audience to a particular mindset. He presents the flaws of the Ibo tribe the same way he presents the assets—without either condescension or pride; he presents the cruelties of the colonizers the same way he presents their open mindedness—without either resentment or sympathy. Because of this balance, readers are able to view the characters as multifaceted human beings instead of simply heroes and victims. Achebe writes with such subtle impartiality that American audiences do not feel guilty for the cruel actions of the colonizers or disgusted by the shocking traditions of the tribesmen. The readers stop
The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a response to the European depiction of Africans and African culture. Today, prejudice of cultures, or groups of people, is displayed in the media on a daily basis. There has been efforts in the past several years to integrate culture and diversity in many classrooms across the nation to generate awareness and acceptance. By acknowledging the history of people and cultures from the past in literature readers are able to submerge themselves to several engaging perspectives that trigger reconsideration of stereotypes. Achebe’s novel corrects European formed essentialism and offers readers an Afrocentric perspective.
Throughout the book Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe challenges the typical stereotypes of colonial Africa. The story follows the lives of the Ibo people, and explains the culture and traditions of African tribes in Nigeria before and after being colonized by the Europeans.
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.
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
This paper reflects the novel “Things Fall Apart” written by Chinua Achebe in 1958. Achebe gives an overview of pre-colonialism and post-colonialism on Igbo, detailing how local traditions and cultural practices can “fall apart” in some scenarios through some introduced, externally created hassles elevated because of colonization. The protagonist named Okonkwo mentioned in the story is a proof showing the lifestyle of the tribe. My main objective and focus is to lay emphasis on Africa specifically the Igbo society, before and after the arrival of the Europeans in Umuofia community; the results of their arrival concerning Igbo culture, thus leading to the clash of cultures between the two categories. I will also draw on post-colonialism with respect to globalization.
The novel, things fall apart was set in the late nineteenth century which was a period of conflict and drastic change in Africa, where indigenous societies clashed with imperialistic European powers. The author, Chinua Achebe adds this tension of the historic British colonial expansion to present another dimension to Okonkwo's tragedy. Achebe challenges ethnocentric views of Africa through his use of language throughout the novel. The author also includes themes of Cultural relativism by introducing the Ibo’s traditions and language.
More than those of any other African writer, Chinua Achebe’s writings have helped to develop what is known as African literature today. And the single book which has helped him to launch his "revolution" is the classic, Things Fall Apart. The focus of this essay includes: 1) Achebe's portraiture of women in his fictional universe, the existing sociocultural situation of the period he is depicting, and the factors in it that condition male attitudes towards women; 2) the consequences of the absence of a moderating female principle in his fictions; 3) Achebe's progressively changing attitude towards women s roles; and 4) feminist prospects for African women. In the context of this study, the Igbo people whom Achebe describes will
In my reading of Things Fall Apart, it has better informed me of a culture that I did not know of before, and by reading it helped correct some broad misconceptions that I previously held of the people and their cultures of Africa. Reading the novel also gave me another perspective on the effects of imperialism/colonialism by the Europeans on the Africans. I believe Achebe has succeeded in enabling the West an opportunity to have them "listen to the weak" (Achebe interview), but whether or not Western society decides to listen will come down to the individual within the society--if they do choose to listen to the call of the "weak." In this essay I will share
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a modern example of postcolonial literature and is one of the most influential pieces of its genre. Postcolonial writing presents important themes and lessons of justice, equality, and freedom that can be applied to present times. It reminds us of how important our freedoms are and why we need to protect them. The colonized write about their exploitation and show how there is persecution in their colonized society. Postcolonial authors use specific methods to undermine their colonizers and reveal their backward logic. Things Fall Apart has various examples of meta-narrative, decolonization struggles, and colonial discourse worked in throughout the novel. Chinua Achebe’s writing styles showcase these techniques to subvert his European colonizers.