What type of laguage is used by Chinua Achebe in "Things Fall Apart?"Analyze the language in "Things Fall Apart."

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goreadabook eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Things Fall Apart is a narrative style novel written in third-person.  This means that a narrator tells the story from an unbiased perspective rather than a first hand account from a single character.  This style allows us to see the inner framework of several characters rather than just one.  The language is written in past tense and has very little dialogue to maintain a story-like feel.  From the very beginning, Chinua Achebe tells the story of the Ibo people as if it were a legend.  You feel as if you are sitting with an elder as he tells the story of his people and their history.  The very first sentence of the book sets this tone and continues on throughout the novel, "Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond."  What makes this such a unique perspective is that Chinua Achebe based this book on his experiences living in a village in Ogidi, Nigeria during the early years of his life.

Achebe tells the story in English, but also includes several Ibo words and proverbs to maintain the authenticity of this culture.  There is a glossary in the back of the book that translates these words into English.  Including Ibo terminology allows the reader to be exposed to more aspects of the culture and feel a closer connection to the book and the characters.

Achebe also uses intensely strong imagery to convey themes and paint pictures for the reader.  This use of figurative language is what makes reading this novel such a beautiful, unique experience.  Through imagery, Achebe does more showing rather than telling, allowing the reader to identify and understand themes in a deeper, more meaningful way.

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Things Fall Apart

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