CHI SYMBOLISM IN ACHEBE'S THINGS FALL APART: A HERMENEUTIC UNDERSTANDING
Introduction The hermeneutic application in this work is to project the philosophic enterprise in the thought embedded in the fiction of an African contemporary thinker Chinua Achebe. I will extract the chi symbolism as exhibited in his famous work Things Fall Apart. Things Fall Apart by Achebe gives fictionalized account of Igbo life and times which are close to the reality of our era. Philosophy, according to D. D. Raphael in Problems of Political Philosophy, is "the critical evaluation of beliefs which we normally take for granted without thinking of any grounds for justification" (4). Hence, philosophy is the conscious effort of man to understand and give meaning to his world-thought the solution which he offers to the problems of daily living in society. Philosophy is critical because nature itself, which is its subject matter, has no attributes or character, no final or fixed point. J. F. Mora in Philosophy Today Conflicting Tendencies highlights that one of the important features of philosophy which can not be denied is that of its heterogeneity and diversity. As such one can therefore talk of continental or even racial philosophies within the ambit of the universal discipline known as philosophy. Thus we have African philosophy, Western philosophy, Oriental philosophy, American philosophy, Latin- American philosophy etc., each of which has a plethora of philosophical doctrines, schools and traditions. African philosophy is a rational coherent and critical reflection on the African experience. Because of its critical nature, African philosophy constitutes the highest form of African thinking and reflection, it is the motor and catalyst of Africa's entire cultural endeavours and civilization. This enterprise is undertaken out of critical extraction of inherent philosophic contents embedded in this fictional novel, Things Fall Apart which has been described by Emmanuel Ngara in Art and Ideology in the African Novel as:
56 Chi Symbolism in Achebe's Things Fall Apart
the picture of an Igbo society that was highly organised and deeply religious, a society which valued bravery, hard work, material wealth as well as eloquence and dignity-a society that possessed an enviable culture (p.111). The work will extract the chi symbolism from this novel via hermeneutics to assert philosophic content in African thought pattern.
Symbols in African Thought Attempts are now being made to contextualize African thought and give it a new presentation and interpretation especially after the distortion and suppression it suffered from the collapse of the early black African civilizations and particularly during colonial rule in Africa. Ernest Cassier in An Essay on Man tend to understand the African culture when he describes man as a symbolic animal, that is, an animal that can invent and use symbols. Richard C. Onwuanibe in one of his lectures described symbol as a sign which...