Analysing the effect of having many details about Ibo culture in Part 1 of TFA

3 May

Throughout part 1 of the novel Things Fall Apart, we notice that Achebe has described several different details about Ibo culture and society, through the plot and the actions of the characters. He tells us about the Ibo traditions, their lifestyles, their laws, etc. But why has he done this? The key reason is to teach his audience that the Ibo have a strong, rich, beautiful culture. When the colonists arrived in the Ibo-occupied regions of Nigeria in the late 1800s, they viewed the Ibo community in a completely different way to how Achebe describes them. This is because they were unfamiliar with them and their ways of life. The colonists had never seen people like the Ibo before, and because they were so accustomed to their western lifestyles, they tagged them as uncivilized and savage, based their own experiences. Achebe did not want only these views going around about his people/ancestors, because in his eyes they were untrue. So through TFA, he teaches us foreigners about the beauty of his people’s lives, and attempts to eradicate the biased views we initially had about them. This was due to us initially listening only to the views of the white European men.

By including so many different details about Ibo culture and society in the text, Things Fall Apart has several effects on the reader. The main effect is that the reader is now able to observe what the Ibo were like through the eyes of one of their own (Achebe), as well as from the views of foreigners (the colonists). They are able to see the beauty of the Ibo culture and society, not just the initial biased views about it from the colonists. Because of this, it gives the reader a more worldly view of them, as they are able to consider the views from both sides. As the plot goes on, this effect on the reader will be emphasized further, as well as many other effects emerging which were not initially noticed.


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