One Of The Most Highly Known African Authors Today Is

2006 words - 8 pages

One of the most highly known African authors today is the Nigerian born Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe?s main focus in his writings was to tell about the African experience, but in a completely different way previous authors wrote. The works of Achebe painted a picture of how life changed for Africans due to the impact of European culture on African society, and described the struggles of his people to free themselves from European influences. Many critics saw Chinua Achebe as a visionary, while others saw him as a voice for the Nigerian culture, giving him the reputation as the ?father of the African novel in English.? When England sent colonizers and missionaries to Africa, it had great affect on African tribal life, and on Chinua Achebe. Achebe became slightly interested in British culture, and began reading English writings; only to be disgusted with the message British authors were trying to get across. Achebe learned that English authors saw Africans as ?inhumane savages? that needed to be saved (Carroll 68.) Angry with the English writings, Achebe decided to answer back by writing his first novel, Things Fall Apart, in 1958, to counteract the distortions of English literature about Africa. In Things Fall Apart, Achebe tells the story of an Ibo village of the late 1800?s and one of its great men, a warrior named Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a champion wrestler, a wealthy farmer, a husband to three wives, a title holder among his people, and a member of the select egwugwu, whose members impersonate ancestral spirits at tribal rituals. However life changes dramatically for the Ibo society and Okonkwo with the arrival of British colonizers and missionaries, also known as the ?white? man. The order of the Ibo society is disrupted with the appearance of the ?white? man in Africa and with the introduction of ?white? religion (Carroll 77-78.) Okonkwo, who is looked upon highly by his people, is unable to adapt to the changes that accompany colonialism. He tries to live the traditional Ibo life; however the arrival of the ?white? man into his society causes him to ?fall apart.? In the end of the story, Okonkwo, in frustration, kills an African employed by the British, then commits suicide which is a sin against the tradition to which he had clung to. The conflict in the novel, vested in Okonkwo, derives from the series of crushing blows which are leveled at traditional values by an alien and more powerful culture causing, in the end, the traditional society to fall apart (Carroll 82.) In Things Fall Apart, Achebe recreated the tragic consequences that took place due to the clash between the Ibo society and the ?white? man. By using a character such as Okonkwo, he showed how even the strong willed people of the Ibo society, were unable to overcome the British influences.Traditional way of living for the Ibo society was rapidly changing in the early 1900?s due to European colonialism. Many Nigerians were being absorbed by the British and straying from their...

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