Using your knowledge of post-colonialist theory, comment on how Achebe presents the colonised and colonisers in ‘Things Fall Apart’
Post-colonialism deals with the cultural identity in colonised societies and the dilemmas of developing a national identity after colonial rule. Achebe achieves this through questioning post-colonialist theories of identity, binary oppositions, hybridisation, the balance of power and the theory of the ‘Otherness’. Through emphasising the typical stereotypes, Achebe reveals the stark contrast between the colonisers and the colonised.
Achebe presents the theme of identity through the tribe’s cultural heritage and how it develops after being colonised throughout the narrative. Achebe presents the tribe as inferior to the missionaries, revealing a semantic field of loss of identity and the need to prove their presence. Beginning with the ‘undesirable’ tribesmen leaving the village “none of his convents was a man whose word was heeded in the assembly of people. None of them was of title…called efulefu, worthless, empty men” illustrating that the people of Mbanta saw these people as outsiders with no purpose or outstanding qualities – reflecting the theory of Otherness and seen as no loss to the tribe. However, as the Umofia community grew it attracted people such as Nwoye, Okonwo’s son, “It was not the mad logic of the Trinity that captivated him…It was the poetry of the new religion, something felt in the marrow” revealing a lexical field of religion, Achebe uses the literary technique of characterisation to develop and challenge Nwoye’s original ideas of religion. His migration to Umofia is symbolic of the first loss of cultural identity from the Mbanta tribe “But he left hold of Nwoye, who walked away and never returned”, this is significant because Nwoye’s represents the stereotypical tribesmen and becomes the downfall of Mbanta. Achebe uses binary opposition to reveal the contrasts of the Mbanta’s traditional religion against...
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