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"No Longer At Ease" By Chinua Achebe, Nigerian Writer

1866 words - 7 pages

Chinua AchebeChineua Achebe, Nigerian writer claims he wrote with specific purposes, having goals he wished to accomplish through his novels. In this paper I will use two of his works to demonstrate the ways in which Achebe held true to his intentions. I will use themes and scenes present in his novels to demonstrate that he does present an accurate view of daily Ibo village life in Things Fall Apart and also an accurate portrayal of the "Culture Shock" that young Obi Okonkwo must have experienced in the novel "No Longer at Ease". In each novel there is conflict both with peers and with Europeans. Inside these scenes of "life as usual" in Nigeria there are also moral questions embedded in the text. Chineua Achebe himself claims he wants us to answer for ourselves.At the time of Achebe's birth in 1930 Nigeria was experiencing tremendous unrest. The people of Nigeria were beginning to uprise against British rule. The Nigerians themselves were uncertain which direction their country should head. The British were reluctant to reduce their grip on the country. Nigeria eventually won independence in 1960.(World Book) The point being, that from his birth to the time of the writing of these novels Chineua was a first hand observer of the ways the Nigerians stood up or submitted to the British Whims. In the newspapers he read each day about how the British had one idea after another about how Nigeria should be run. He experienced the ways in which his native culture rebelled against the imposed British rule. (DLB 117)His goals in writing were simple, He claims in an interview with Kay Bonnet that he wished to stimulate the "Education and Reconstruction" his society needed. He wanted to focus on interaction between Africa and Europe. (DLB 117) All too often, Africa was presented as "dehumanized" (Selected essays) He felt that his people were misrepresented by the great works such as Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Joyce Cary's Mr. Johnson. He felt that the "Record needed to be set straight". (CLC 75). After reading Heart of Darkness he was disgusted to see that he was not on the boat with the cunning adventuresome English. He was one of the twisted faces clapping and jumping around on the shore! After reading Mr. Johnson he was appalled at how this great African poet was actually a buffoon. It was then that he realized that the truth should be told.(CLC 11)Furthermore, Achebe claimed that this disgust in Conrad and Joyce Cary's misinterpretation of the African culture made him consciously avoid "pulling the punches" in description of Ibo culture. He tells it like it is, like it or not. Another of his goals is to present the reader with questions. In the same interview with Kay Bonett Chineua admits that in his writing he wishes to present questions rather than answers. He feels that if the questions are posed in a meaningful way, the reader will easily find the answers within himself. In his own words: "If you ask the right questions, the answers will be...

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