Chinua Achebe's Things fall apart by David Whittaker; Mpalive-Hangson Msiska

By David Whittaker; Mpalive-Hangson Msiska

Advent 1. Texts and Contexts 2. serious historical past three. serious Readings four. additional interpreting and net assets Notes on participants Bibliography Index

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Igbo expressions are also often used as descriptive devices in the novel, as when Okonkwo’s fame is said to have ‘grown like a bush-fire in the Harmattan’ (Ch. 1, p. 3), while proverbs introduce aspects of Igbo epistemology and occasionally function as a form of explanatory metanarrative, as when he states that ‘proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten’ (Ch. 1, p. 5). Achebe also freely incorporates the indigenous language of the Igbo throughout the novel, as in this description of Unoka: ‘He could hear in his mind’s ear the blood-stirring and intricate rhythms of the ekwe and the udu and the ogene’ (Ch.

With the loss of a number of Britain’s Far Eastern colonies and the consequent loss of sources of supply for raw materials, Nigeria became increasingly important to the war effort as a producer of tin, coal, rubber, foodstuffs and vegetable oils. With the Mediterranean cut off, Nigeria also came to occupy a strategically important position for wartime shipping and became a vital base for aircraft involved in the North Africa campaign. G. O. Olusanya describes the war years as a period of unprecedented development for the country, particularly in terms of its economic infrastructure and demographics: As a result of this new strategic importance a great deal of activity began.

Age was particularly revered in traditional Igbo society, and everyone belonged to a horizontal system of kinship groups based on their age. One of the most important decision-making groups in Igbo society was the ndichie, a group of the eldest titled men. When important decisions were to be made, as in Things Fall Apart when war is being contemplated, the ndichie would convene a meeting of all the men in the clan to decide what should be the community’s response. As Achebe also shows, the Igbo system of exogamous marriage meant that everyone had a further web of interlinking relationships based on their home village and the birthplace of their mothers and wives, along with the villages that their sisters and brothers had married into.

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