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Analysis and Critique: “Things Fall Apart”

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Analysis and Critique: “Things Fall Apart”

Introduction

Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart has often been called the first truly African novel, as well as the best. This paper uses literary criticism to help analyze the novel from a feminist perspective.


Discussion

Things Fall Apart is an extraordinarily rich novel that can be approached from many different perspectives. It can be seen as the portrait of a man driven by ambition; as postcolonial literature; as a cautionary tale of the problems inherent when two disparate cultures come in contact; or as a condemnation of superstition. It’s also worth noting that trying to analyze the novel is like navigating a minefield, because readers tend to see it through Western eyes. And they have become prejudiced.


Over the years, the media coverage of Africa has been almost entirely one-sided, concentrating on unstable governments, famine, violence and social unrest, with the result that there is a “fatigue” now associated with these images (Bacon). That is, the rest of the world is tired of hearing about these problems; in addition, it expects that any news from Africa will be bad or disturbing as it has always been in the past (Bacon). This has led to a perception throughout the rest of the world that Africa is simple, a savage continent whose population is somehow different from the rest of the human race (Bacon). Achebe insists that this view of Africa is completely wrong, and is the result of the selective way in which African affairs have been reported in the West over a long period (Bacon).


Since Africa’s various societies are extremely complex, Things Fall Apart should not be considered a “quaint” or “homespun” tale of a primitive civilization, but an examination of a high-functioning culture, albeit a culture far different from those Westerners are used to. Failing to ...

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