White Englishman

Decent Essays
Anderson (2006) points out that as the printed word and industries began to prevail they had a homogenizing effect on all vernaculars being spoken within a region. He explains “Nothing served to ‘assemble’ the different people and vernaculars more than print capitalism, which, within the limits imposed by grammar and syntax, created mechanically reproduced print languages, capable of dissemination through the market” (Anderson 2006, p. 45). Anderson describes three distinct ways in which print languages laid the basis for a national consciousness. First of all, print language created a unified field of communication and exchange. Because of the standardizing nature of print, people began to write on a more common ground. This printed form of…show more content…
This issue is taken up quite extensively in Half of a Yellow Sun. A white Englishman by the name of Richard has spent years writing a book about Igbo art and culture. He has also spent a great deal of time learning Igbo language and trying to integrate into Igbo society. He even wants to witness a Biafran birth, thinking it will make him more Biafran. However, he cannot quite get his book finished, and when the civil war starts, he decides to write about this war from the Biafran perspective. He also fails at that because it is not his story to tell. Instead, he recognizes that the lowly Ugwu is the one more qualified to tell the story of the Biafran people. Throughout the novel, Ugwu has been developing his literacy skills and has been secretly writing stories. It is through his vision that the true national vision behind the Biafran cause can be located. He holds the promise of providing that common ground that print provides. Although the Biafran dream fails, a native writer like Ugwu has the potential to mobilize the Igbo…show more content…
The story is told alternatively through the point of view of the principle Igbo characters Ugwu, Odenigbo, Olanna, and Kainene as well as that of an outsider, the white Englishman Richard. Each of these characters interprets similar events quite differently and reflects his or her own version of the imagined Biafran community. Even the author Adichie has written Half of a Yellow Sun as a re-imagining of something she did not actually experience but nevertheless still reflects a legacy that she continues to carry. The imagined world of Biafra thus lives on through the characters in this book as do the brutal consequences of colonial rule and civil
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