The last chapter of Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" concludes with the sentence:
"He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger."
This refers to the District Commissioner's chosen title for a book he has written that would have the African people, the Igbo tribe specifically, as the main subject. From the title itself, one can say that the writer has an unfavorable bias against his subject. But come to think of it, there are many factors why it would be impossible for the District Commissioner to write an accurate description of the culture he's trying to write about. How can he do so when he knows very little about the subject? How can he do so when he is writing from a European colonialist's point of view? Let's focus on his selection of words for the working title of his book. The word "pacification" is very condescending in nature. It creates an impression, especially for those who are unaware of the realities about the Igbo people, that the latter are barbarians and uncivilized. It can create an impression that they are like a child who will likely loiter around an unknown place without any sense of direction if his parents decide to leave him alone. We are not saying here that the Igbo people are living in complete harmony during pre-colonial times. They may have had some internal misunderstandings, which are just normal in a community. But the point here is, the Igbo people don't need to be pacified because they are already living in peace generally prior to the colonialists' arrival. As a matter of fact, the natives may have felt more distress and unease with their arrival, especially the District ...
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...trict Commissioner. He symbolizes an arrogant colonialist, a stranger who thinks that he fully understands a culture which in reality, he knows very little about. He is a colonialist who, like Rev. James Smith, shows intolerance and disrespect towards native customs and traditions. A white man who does not even speak Igbo's native tongue. A person who gives the title "The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger" to his ethnographic study of local African tribes "after much thought". He symbolizes a colonialist who gives an account about colonized cultures in a matter that best suits their interests. Usually, their accounts are characterized by their dehumanizing and belittling attitudes towards their subject.
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