Colonialims and the Use of Narrative in Stories Helped Fight Colonialism
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Chinua Achebe was an influential Nigerian author during the 1900’s who was credited with his three essays which have been fused together into the book “Home and Exile”. In his stories he discusses things such as his own Igbo people, the problems with colonialization, the strength that stories can have and many more topics. A big part of his essays are on his thoughts of colonialism, the impact it has had on his home of Nigeria, and how stories written by others either helped justify colonialism or rejected it. Chinua argues that stories have their own power to fight, and while stories themselves do not have the ability to directly fight colonialism; they do, however with their power of words, stories can motivate and encourage people to stand up against colonialism. In proving this thesis to be a true statement, I will be providing evidence of the how, why and the extent to which stories can fight colonialism.
To show how stories can affect colonialism, we will be looking at British authors during the time of colonialism. During this period of British colonialism, writers like Joyce Cary, author of “Mister Johnson” wrote novels about Africa and more specifically, a Nigerian named Johnson. Johnson in this novel is represented as “[an] infuriating principal character”. In Mr. Cary’s novel he demeans the people of Africa with hatred and mockery, even describing them as “unhuman, like twisted bags of lard, or burst bladders”. Even though Cary’s novel displayed large amounts of racism and bigotry, it received even larger amounts of praise, even from Time Magazine in October 20, 1952. The ability to write a hateful novel and still receive praise for it is what Chinua Achebe likes to describe as “absolute power over narrative [and...
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... Mr. Cary, whom wrote offensive novels about Nigeria and other parts of Africa. As previously explained, the extent to which stories can fight colonialism is based on humanity, whether the people support the story or downright despise of it, they draw attention to it by expressing their feelings and opinions.
In these examples, we can see the reasons that stories truly do have the power to change things and fight colonialism, the multiple authors mentioned throughout “Home and Exile” were very influential, even if they used their power of narrative in corrupt ways to justify their action. Throughout history, there will always be an author whose words will be strong enough to fight the problems of society, truly Chinua Achebe was the author of the 1900’s whose words were powerful enough to fight for what he believed in and help end the problem known as colonialism.