What is the significance of Chapter 9 of "Anthills of the Savannah"? What is the author trying to convey?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much of the conflict of this novel centers around the cultural gap between the colonizing force, the people the colonizers have influenced, and original culture of the native land.  In this novel, Achebe particularly focuses on how language contributes to this conflict.  Ikem, having been educated in Western culture and language, is speaking out against the tyranny of the new government by writing editorials in the paper.  The true natives, holding true to the language and culture of pre-colonization, are proud of their "native son", but are also confused by the language he uses:

  • "I had never read what they say he writes because I do not know ABC. But I have heard of all the fight he has fought or poor people in this land."

The language and the culture are closely intertwined.  The natives are uncertain of the large gatherings of citizens as these groups do not provide opportunity for individual introduction:

  • How do we salute our fellows wen we come in and see them massed in assembly so huge we cannot hope to greet them one by one, to call each man by his title? Do we not say: To everyone his due? Have you thought what a wise practice our fathers fashioned out of those simple words?

Ikem must realize here that his pursuits only take him so far if his use of language is not connecting with citizens.

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Anthills of the Savannah

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