The Four Novels of Chinua Achebe: A Critical Study

The Four Novels of Chinua Achebe: A Critical Study

The Four Novels of Chinua Achebe: A Critical Study

The Four Novels of Chinua Achebe: A Critical Study


"The Four Novels of Chinua Achebe" is a critical study of Africa's foremost novelist by one of Africa's foremost critics. Offering a fresh, useful and unified collection of essays, the book contains exquisite prose analysis, distinctive in its sub- ject-matter and rhetoric. Analytically and philosophically, Dr. Njoku probes Achebe's fictional world with its realistic and naturalistic trends. Dr. Njoku follows Achebe as he examines the traditional life and cultures of the Igbo people in the nineteenth century, examines the village life of the people in their early years of contact with the Europeans, and carries us to the life and traditions of the people in the 1920s. To him "No Longer At Ease" is a novel of realism heightened by serious, social and psychological analysis, and it outlines the conflict between the idealism of a European-educated African and his attempt to re-integrate himself into the life of his people. The tragic consequences of Africa's encounter with Europe are evaluated. In "A Man of The People, " Dr. Njoku shows that intellectual sophistication is not everything as he contrasts Odili's intellectual brilliance with the pragmatic, naive, political wisdom of his foil, Chief Nanga.


As a piece of art, the novel evokes a strange but familiar world. It creates its own fictional world. This world may be similar but in no way identical with the historical world of everyday existence. This world is more strange in its evocateurs, its ability to evoke realities of another world without losing its own identity. This world is autotelic; it has its own raison d'etre; its purpose is in itself -- the world of imagination that is esemplastic, coordinated and integrant.

The world of a novel is apparently the world in which people live, move and have their existence. The closer to reality, the more this world assumes the garb of fictionality. It is the world of the artist, a world that is fabricated from the artist's imagination. It may be "real" or "ideal" or naturalistic. But in all instances, it is a world created by the artist for his own purpose. It is the artist's effort to imitate divine creation.

The novelist creates an imperfect and fictionalized world in which people live, move, interact and have their existence. This world can be sociological without being sociology; it can be anthropological without being anthropology; and, it can be historical without being history. Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Jane Austen and a host of others sought, as Chinua Achebe is trying to do today, to reveal some aspects of nineteenth century European society. James Joyce seeks through classicism and modernism to expose Irish culture. Yet the revelations are fictional; they are fabricated and concocted; embellished by verisimilitude.

In the work of the novelist we are immersed into cultural worlds of people's past and present--worlds adulterated and alloyed by the subtleties of the artist's world. Achebe's fictional world is a world that bristles with the complexities of Igbo culture with its emphasis on individuality, freedom, republicanism, differences, qualities, spirituality and other worldliness. It shuns single-mindedness, monolithicism and outside intrusion much more, domination.

In the world of reality from which Achebe abstracts, the Igbo culture stresses the worth of every man and every woman.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.