Achebe’s writing style seems very simple. Is it really as simple as it seems?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Chinua Achebe is arguably one of Nigeria's most famous and influential authors. His landmark novel, Things Fall Apart, is a complex story written in the seemingly simple style your question mentions. It is, in fact, not so simple at all.

Achebe drew inspiration from the oral tradition of old African cultures. In the past, stories were not written down, but rather memorized and shared by skilled storytellers. The pace, rhythm, and flow of the story is reflected in the storyteller's art, and this comes through in Things Fall Apart. Although it is a written text, the novel reads as though someone was saying it out loud. Thus its deceptive simplicity, as if you were simply sitting down and listening to somebody tell a tale.

As you know, the story contained therein is rich, detailed, and eventually tragic. Achebe himself grew up in an Igbo village, where he loved the stories told to him by family members and others. Later, his understanding of the power of stories led him to become a writer and create stories featuring people from his own culture. That is the power of simplicity—in making his story accessible and easy to read, Achebe not only channels the talents of traditional storytellers but also makes his view of history and culture one that everyone is invited to understand and confront.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial