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Overlapping Character Variations in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Abstract

In his novel, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe offers an in-depth representation of the Ibo culture before and after the arrival of the colonizers. He depicts the intricate workings of the Umuofian tribe in particular by describing how various individuals in that tribe respond to communal customs, beliefs, and traditions. He shows that there is room for social distinction in this culture but only in accordance with tribal standards of achievement and excellence. However, the reader finds that the characters in the novel react differently to the norms that are prescribed to them by society. This variance in the attitudes of certain characters may be analyzed within the framework of Raymond Williams’ classification of the individual’s interactions with society. In his book, The Long Revolution, Williams outlines an assortment of categories that represent a range of individual relationships to society. These categories include the following types of people: member, servant, subject, rebel, exile and vagrant. This paper follows a twofold approach: a brief account of Williams’ social classification is provided, followed by an analysis of certain characters in Things Fall Apart that is in line with Williams’ categories. Such an analysis reveals the complexity of the novel’s African characters; furthermore, it will be argued that Achebe’s depiction of the Umofians as fully-fledged, diverse individuals with their own distinct culture may be seen as part of his post-colonial counter-discourse.

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... One major motif in Achebe"s writings is to rebut colonizers who have distorted the African image by fabricating stories about Africa"s long-practiced traditions and cultures (Achebe, 1990;Achebe., 1994). A critical opinion is often held that Chinua Achebe wanted to rectify history in his Trilogy, to efface out the misrepresentations and wrong depiction of his country and natives in western narratives (Abd-Rabbo, 2019;Adeyemi, 2018;Akwanya, 2019;Franklin, 2008). Before the publication of Achebe"s novels, most of the novels about Africa had been written by Europeans which portrayed Africans as savage who needed the enlightenment by Europeans. ...
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