Revisiting a Classic: Things Fall Apart Is Being Brought Back to Center Stage after 50 Years for Its Role in Shaping Modern African Literature
Rogers, Ibram, Diverse Issues in Higher Education
As a 26-year-old English teacher in 1958, Chinua Achebe had no idea that the book he was writing would become a literary classic, not only in Africa but also throughout the world.
"There was no example to go by," says Achebe. "There was no way I could gauge."
He could only try to articulate the feelings he had for his countrymen and women. Achebe had a burning desire to tell the true story of Africa and African humanity. He remembers thinking that this feeling he had "must not be allowed to go to waste. I must use this opportunity to decide what to write and how to write it, and the language in which to write it."
The language in which he decided to write his book would prove to be pivotal, because in stories about African people African people in the 1950s, they rarely spoke like humans.
"They made animal sounds," Achebe says. "They shrieked, shouted, they screamed. So that was one thing that I knew I had to do. I had to insist on the language similar to what I heard in my village; the language of the elders who were eloquent. I had to attempt to do it. But would it succeed? I had no way of knowing."
Achebe fused English and Igbo (pronounced "EBO"), the language spoken by the Ibo people, a cultural group in Nigeria, using English words with …
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Publication information: Article title: Revisiting a Classic: Things Fall Apart Is Being Brought Back to Center Stage after 50 Years for Its Role in Shaping Modern African Literature. Contributors: Rogers, Ibram - Author. Magazine title: Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Volume: 25. Issue: 5 Publication date: April 17, 2008. Page number: 13+. © 2008 Cox, Matthews & Associates. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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