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In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, what is the narrative perspective?

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lozzy0208 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:16 PM via web

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In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, what is the narrative perspective?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:35 PM (Answer #1)

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The narrative method that Achebe has selected for relating this tale to us in this book is third-person narrative. The narrator therefore speaks for the characters rather than having them tell the tale in their own words and from their perspective. Another aspect that is interesting about the narration is that much of it is conveyed in the past tense, which, combined with the narrative choice, gives it the feel of an oral legend or story that we would associate with Okonkwo's culture.

Another aspect of the point of view which is worthy of notice is the way that the focus of the point of view gradually shifts as the story develops. We start off with the tale being told from Okonkwo's point of view, which enables the narrator to inform us about various aspects of his past and of his tribal culture. However, as the tale develops, it becomes more the story of his entire tribe as tragedy looms then strikes. Finally, the point of view shifts to the District Commissioner's perspective, and it is his perspective that closes the novel, perhaps mirroring the way that traditional cultural values and power were displaced by European colonialism.


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