Marginality, Dichotomy, and Hegemony in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

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Traditional canonical discourse contains conventional concepts of marginality, hegemony, and dichotomy, but these concepts are always displayed in the same manner. The concept of dichotomy is typically depicted as white people always having power, while everyone else is supposedly powerless. Marginalization usually consists of white people being the focus of canonical texts, while other cultures are usually focused on less. As far as hegemony is, concerned, canonical works mostly contain British or American ideals, and portray other cultures as being savage. There have been a “rewritingâ€� of canonical texts that alters the concepts of traditional marginality, dichotomy, and hegemony. These alterations are very evident in Chinua Achebe ’s “Things Fall Apart.” Achebe creates nontraditional portrayals of these concepts, which creates a completely new genre of literature. By re-defining these concepts, Achebe gives voice to people who are usually not given one, and forces people to realize that the people who are usually considered savages in canonical works have their own side of the story. “Things Fall Apart” is an excellent example of a rewriting of the standard concepts of hegemony, marginalization, and dichotomy. The type of work that Achebe writes has a very significant impact on traditional concepts because of the way these concepts are used in “Things Fall Apart.” In “Things Fall Apart,” Chinua Achebe incorporates the theme of marginalization. Instead of the typical scenario in canonical works, the focus is on the tribe Umuofia in Africa: The arrival of the white man in the latter part of the novel turns the traditional setting in Umuofia into an archetypal colonial situation that reveals a classic co... ... middle of paper ... ...pean culture, even if that is what the Europeans think is best for them. Works Cited Ezewa-Ohaeto. Chinua Achebe: A Biography. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997. Iyasere, Solomon O. “Narrative Techniques in Things Fall Apart. â€� Understanding Things Fall Apart: Selected Essays and Criticism. Ed. Solomon O. Iyasere. New York: The Whitson Publishing Company, 1998. Peters, Jonathan A. A Dance of Mask: Senghor, Achebe, Soyinka. Washington D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1978. Taiwo, Oladele. Culture and the Nigerian Novel. New York: St. Martin ’s Press, 1976. Wasserman, Julian N. “The Sphinx and the Rough Beast: A Linguistic Struggle in Chinua Achebe ’s Things Fall Apart. â€� Understanding Things Fall Apart: Selected Essays and Criticism. Ed. Solomon O. Iyasere. New York: The Whitson Publishing Company, 1998.

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