What are the features of africanness in this text (Things Fall Apart)?as regards language in African literature.

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

Achebe also uses a third-person omniscient narrator in this novel. There is also very little dialogue, which gives the impression of oral story-telling. The importance of oral story-telling is evident throughout the book, as the Ibo people honor and uphold the tradition. Although there is no dominant point of view, the narration shifts between characters throughout. This shifting viewpoint allows the reader to consider all sides of the conflicts, & reach his/her own conclusions about their outcomes.

Even though the third-person narrator maintains an objective point of view, the interjection of vivd imagery/figurative language and Ibo vocabulary suggests an underlying purpose. Achebe has stated publicly that one of his goals in writing this novel was to combat the stereotype of Africa as the "dark continent." Thus, he presents his novel in the form of a tradition oral story, highlighting the richness of Ibo culture, and the dangers of immutability.

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Things Fall Apart

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