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Chinua Achebe, literature critique, African literature, English literature


African History | Comparative Literature | Literature in English, Anglophone outside British Isles and North America | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


"The story of this man who had killed a messenger and hanged himself would make interesting reading. One could almost write a whole chapter on him. Perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph at any rate...He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger."

Chinua Achebe's classic novel Things Fall Apart concludes with the above lines. The protagonist of the book, Okonkwo, has committed suicide, and upon finding the body, the English District Commissioner of the Lower Niger thinks that "this man," who has had a whole book written about him, does not merit an entire chapter written about him. In thinking this, the District Commissioner enters into one of the great conflicts between the West and Africa: the assumption that Africans have no sense of self, and, consequently, are not viable subjects.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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