Western And African Culture In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Africa has a colorful and multifaceted literary history. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart has developed into a stepping-stone in the correlation between Western and African writing. African journalism ranges from oral passages to stories and wise sayings. These aspects make up an important part of world literature, adding different perspectives to the melting pot of beliefs and views. Achebe accomplishes this with the seamless integration of the traditionally used cultural elements typically seen in African writing into his contemporary novel. Many misconceptions about this traditional part of culture still remain in many minds as the truth, yet many fail to see what countless communities throughout this beautiful continent have created: elegant…show more content…
In Things Fall Apart, proverbs articulate the characteristic attribute of African literature; elaborate and quite often harsh themes that add a sense of mystery and exotic anticipation. “Wisdom, like knowledge, is conceived in traditional African societies as having a practical as well as theoretical dimension, but theoretical wisdom must have direct relevance to practical problems of life, to dealing with concrete human problems,” (Amate 72). This quotation deciphers the complex hierarchy of wisdom throughout the Igbo culture, stating that knowledge must not only apply to the philosophical section of life, but must also teach others about the true importance of their lifestyle and what makes them so unique. “The use of proverbs in Things Fall Apart provides an elaborate example of diverse cultural elements that aid in the upbringing of the youth, a way to incorporate common morals, beliefs and expectations into the minds of those who will carry on the important structure of the…show more content…
Things Fall Apart, utilizes stories as a, “means of achieving the poetics of verisimilitude and a life-like portrayal of the experience” (Obiechina 6). Many stories in African literature, both oral and written, attempt to explain happenings that cannot be proved by a certain deity or act as a way to teach morals to the young members of society. Using the stories Things Fall Apart as metaphors and comparisons between pre- and post-colonization Africa, Achebe constantly, through Okonkwo’s speculations, portrays westerners as the downfall of African societies. “At first, a fairly small swarm came. They were harbingers sent to survey the land. And then appeared on the horizon a slow-moving mass like a boundless sheet of black cloud drifting towards Umuofia. Soon it covered half the sky, and the solid mass was now broken by tiny eyes of light like shining star-dust. It was a tremendous sight, full of power and beauty,”(Achebe 39). In this quotation, Achebe foreshadows the colonization of Umuofia with a story, casting the westerners as the locusts: foreign, curious, and intrusive. Achebe uses these traditional pieces of culture to aid in his writing; to act inconspicuously as literary devices, deftly implanted without the reader’s knowledge. In this way, an author has the ability to manipulate the plot and add
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