Examples Of Ignorance In Things Fall Apart

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Language is a powerful tool. It is the key to understanding an alien culture, and is thus, ultimately, the downfall of mutual ignorance. Mark Twain’s famous words, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” are therefore only half-true. Travel without an effort to understand local customs and beliefs, or to acquire a basic grasp of the local language, is in vain. Stubborn and willful ignorance is indeed hauntingly representive of many aspects of 19th century British colonialism, in particular the conquest of the lower Nigerian tribal territory. Widely superficial and ignorant accounts of travels throughout Africa led to its misperception as a “dark and primitive” continent. In an effort to combat this negative image, many…show more content…
The third person and omniscient narrator follows Okonkwo over the period of roughly fifteen years. Achebe occasionally darts back in time or switches the narrative’s attention to a certain character, in order to get a backstory across. On the whole, the book has a distinctive flow and is easily read. Things Fall Apart is set in the tribal villages of lower Nigeria, during the 1890s. This period is the height of British colonial power. Time passes quite irregularly in the novel. At certain points within the narrative the focus can be on a several day period for a few chapters. At other times, a year or two may be summarized in a single sentence. “When nearly two years later Obierika paid another visit to his friend in exile the circumstances were less happy.” (p. 143). An interesting aspect of how Achebe measures time is his use of utilizing the changing of seasons- linking the reader’s perception with the agricultural society of the Nigerian…show more content…
The advents of the locusts, for example, clearly represent the descent of the colonizers upon Nigeria. Mr. Brown’s very name is symbolic, representing the cooperation and mixture of the races. The starkly contrasting irony in the initial description of his successor, Rv. Smith, is masterful. “He saw things in black and white.” (p. 184). Rv. Smith and the District Commissioner are more typically portrayed as arrogantly cruel and ignorant colonizers. The novel’s tragic end is blatantly critical and laced with irony. The District Commissioner muses that Okonkwo’s life could make for a paragraph in his book on the African conquest: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger. This illustrates his incredible superficiality and ignorance, seeing as Achebe has just written an entire novel on Okonkwo’s life, and that the root of the entire Nigerian conflict was in fact the so called Christian
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