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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe
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How does Achebe incorporate Igbo words, phrases and thinking into his English?

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One of Achebe's main purposes in writing the novel was to bring an awareness of Ibo culture to the Western world. Thus, although he writes in English, he “Africanizes” the language of the novel. Specific Igbo words and complicated names are used freely. Profound philosophical concepts such as chi and ...

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One of Achebe's main purposes in writing the novel was to bring an awareness of Ibo culture to the Western world. Thus, although he writes in English, he “Africanizes” the language of the novel. Specific Igbo words and complicated names are used freely. Profound philosophical concepts such as chi and ogbanje are explained in the text or glossary and are fundamental to the story. The use of idioms and proverbs also clarifies the conflict, expresses different points of view, and instructs the characters as well as the reader. Thus, although the point of view is third person, the cultural context is quite personal and revealing. The use of native proverbs offers a look at the situation through the psychology of the tribe, in contrast to the attitudes of the British.

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