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As the decolonisation process unfolded in the s, a debate about choice of language erupted and pursued authors around the world; Achebe was no exception. English and other European languages, he said in , were "part of the neo-colonial structures that repress progressive ideas". Achebe chose to write in English. As his purpose is to communicate with readers across Nigeria, he uses "the one central language enjoying nationwide currency". Still, Achebe recognises the shortcomings of what Audre Lorde called "the master's tools". In another essay he notes:.

For an African writing in English is not without its serious setbacks.

He often finds himself describing situations or modes of thought which have no direct equivalent in the English way of life. Caught in that situation he can do one of two things. He can try and contain what he wants to say within the limits of conventional English or he can try to push back those limits to accommodate his ideas I submit that those who can do the work of extending the frontiers of English so as to accommodate African thought-patterns must do it through their mastery of English and not out of innocence.

In another essay, he refers to James Baldwin's struggle to use the English language to accurately represent his experience, and his realisation that he needed to take control of the language and expand it. Achebe's novels laid a formidable groundwork for this process. By altering syntax, usage, and idiom, he transforms the language into a distinctly African style.

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Achebe's novels approach a variety of themes. In his early writing, a depiction of the Igbo culture itself is paramount. Critic Nahem Yousaf highlights the importance of these depictions: "Around the tragic stories of Okonkwo and Ezeulu, Achebe sets about textualising Igbo cultural identity". Responding to charges that Equiano was not actually born in Africa, Achebe wrote in "Equiano was an Igbo, I believe, from the village of Iseke in the Orlu division of Nigeria".

A prevalent theme in Achebe's novels is the intersection of African tradition particularly Igbo varieties and modernity , especially as embodied by European colonialism. The village of Umuofia in Things Fall Apart , for example, is violently shaken with internal divisions when the white Christian missionaries arrive. Nigerian English professor Ernest N. Emenyonu describes the colonial experience in the novel as "the systematic emasculation of the entire culture".

Distanced from the myths and tales of the community by his Westernised education, he does not have the capacity for reconnection shown by the character Beatrice. The colonial impact on the Igbo in Achebe's novels is often effected by individuals from Europe, but institutions and urban offices frequently serve a similar purpose. The character of Obi in No Longer at Ease succumbs to colonial-era corruption in the city; the temptations of his position overwhelm his identity and fortitude. The standard Achebean ending results in the destruction of an individual and, by synecdoche , the downfall of the community.

Odili's descent into the luxury of corruption and hedonism in A Man of the People , for example, is symbolic of the post-colonial crisis in Nigeria and elsewhere. Still, Achebe seeks to portray neither moral absolutes nor a fatalistic inevitability. In , he said: "I never will take the stand that the Old must win or that the New must win.

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The point is that no single truth satisfied me—and this is well founded in the Igbo world view. No single man can be correct all the time, no single idea can be totally correct. Evil is never all evil; goodness on the other hand is often tainted with selfishness. The gender roles of men and women, as well as societies' conceptions of the associated concepts, are frequent themes in Achebe's writing. He has been criticised as a sexist author, in response to what many call the uncritical depiction of traditionally patriarchal Igbo society, where the most masculine men take numerous wives, and women are beaten regularly.

Others suggest that Achebe is merely representing the limited gendered vision of the characters, and they note that in his later works, he tries to demonstrate the inherent dangers of excluding women from society. In any case, a careful reading of Achebe paradoxically recognizes the hyperbolic representation of gender politics in Igbo society, while acknowledging the necessary nuance that gives Achebe's women some agency and prominence.

In Things Fall Apart , Okonkwo's furious manhood overpowers everything "feminine" in his life, including his own conscience. For example, when he feels bad after being forced to kill his adopted son, he asks himself: "When did you become a shivering old woman? He views all things feminine as distasteful, in part because they remind him of his father's laziness and cowardice. Thus, Okonkwo not only regrets his father's lack of success, but attributes it to a lack of masculinity.

Okonkwo's feminization of all things lacking success or power is a common theme throughout the novel. His obsession with maleness is fueled by an intense fear of femaleness, which he expresses through physical and verbal abuse of his wives, his violence towards his community, his constant worry that his son Nwoye is not manly enough, and his wish that his daughter Ezinma had been born a boy.

And that Okonkwo is paying the penalty for his treatment of women; that all his problems, all the things he did wrong, can be seen as offenses against the feminine. Achebe's first central female character in a novel is Beatrice Nwanyibuife in Anthills of the Savannah. As an independent woman in the city, Beatrice strives for the balance that Okonkwo lacked so severely. She refutes the notion that she needs a man, and slowly learns about Idemili, a goddess balancing the aggression of male power.

Achebe has been called "the father of modern African writing" [] and Africa's greatest storyteller, [] and many books and essays have been written about his work over the past fifty years. In he became the first living writer to be represented in the Everyman's Library collection published by Alfred A. One observer noted: "Nothing like it had ever happened before in African literature anywhere on the continent. Achebe provided a "blueprint" for African writers of succeeding generations.

At the ceremony, professor Robert Gibson said that the Nigerian writer "is now revered as Master by the younger generation of African writers and it is to him they regularly turn for counsel and inspiration. Poet Maya Angelou lauded Things Fall Apart as a book wherein "all readers meet their brothers, sisters, parents and friends and themselves along Nigerian roads".

He twice refused the Nigerian honour Commander of the Federal Republic , in and , saying: []. I have watched particularly the chaos in my own state of Anambra where a small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom. I am appalled by the brazenness of this clique and the silence, if not connivance, of the Presidency. Despite his scholarly achievements and the global importance of his work, Achebe never received a Nobel Prize, which some observers viewed as unjust.


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He lauded Soyinka's "stupendous display of energy and vitality", and said he was "most eminently deserving of any prize". But it is a European prize. It's not an African prize Literature is not a heavyweight championship. Nigerians may think, you know, this man has been knocked out.

It's nothing to do with that. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the fictional character, see Achebe comics. It is not to be confused with Chin-hua. Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic.

Main article: Things Fall Apart. Novels Things Fall Apart New York: Anchor Books, Penguin Books, Reissued by Fourth Dimension Publishing Co. The New Yorker , 26 May Retrieved 7 December Archived from the original on 27 October Retrieved 26 October Retrieved 18 January The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Autumn The "evil forest" is a place where twins considered an abomination by the community are thrown away to die.

Poverty : Poverty And The Measures Associated With Child Poverty

When the Christian missionaries persevere despite their location, they are able to convince some in the community that the superstition is unwarranted. Online at Radio Nigeria Online. Retrieved 15 October Quoted in Petersen, reprinted in Ezenwa-Ohaeto, p. Archived from the original on 3 May Retrieved 24 July The Female King of Colonial Nigeria. Indiana University Press. Farmers, Traders, Warriors, and King. When asked about his family Achebe stated: "There are few things more important than my family. The New Georgia Encyclopedia. The Yearbook of English Studies Vol. Twentieth Century Literature Vol.

Retrieved 19 July Louis Literary Award". Archived from the original on 31 July Retrieved 25 July Retrieved 7 November BBC News. Retrieved 23 September Retrieved 11 October Gish Prize. Retrieved 22 March His latest book, There Was a Country , was an autobiography on his experiences and views of the civil war. The book was probably the most criticised of his writings especially by Nigerians, with many arguing that the professor did not write a balanced account and wrote more as an Igbo than as a Nigerian. High Street Mail. Archived from the original on 25 March Premium Times.

Retrieved 5 February The Guardian.


  1. Advice for parents: how to say goodbye when your child leaves home!
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  3. Chinua Achebe;
  4. The New York Times. Bella Naija. Ehling and Claus-Peter Holste-von Mutius, eds. Amsterdam and New York: Editions Rodopi, p. International Fiction Review Vol. ISSN Hafkin and Edna G. Bay eds , Women in Africa. The Washington Post.


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    Retrieved March Online at Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 19 September American Academy of Arts and Letters.