Essay On Dignity Of The African People In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

784 words - 3 pages

Dignity of the African People Conveyed in Things Fall Apart 

 

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 product will be a shallow representation of what it is meant to convey.

 

Achebe chose to write his novel realistically. He includes the beauty of the Ibo's culture, as well as the gruesome. He recorded that a man might help kill his own adopted son for fear that he would be "thought weak." He also revealed that newborn twins were thrown away. Along with the "great depth" comes tragedy, but all of the details were required to make an accurate presentation of the subject. The writer must understand that the truth is not selective to the pleasant facts. The District Commissioner believed that it was important that he "be firm in cutting out the details" and decreed that a paragraph would suffice for the explanation of Okonkwo. However, Achebe, in essence, wrote an entire novel about this character. It is arrogant to believe that the complete understanding of a human being can be accomplished so easily.

 

The character of the District Commissioner is a prime example of a biased writer. He cannot see the truth in his subject because he believes himself to be superior. He called the Ibo "primitive" in the title of the book that he planned to write, but his basis for that conclusion is subjective at best. In his mind, his religion is completely true, and the beliefs of the Africans are asinine and savage. The Commissioner considers any real contact with the natives "undignified." He cannot respect his subject, which is in this case the Ibo, because he has elevated himself in his mind as more...

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