Reflect and Locate Chinua Achebe’s Post Colonial Novel, Things Fall Apart

Let’s enjoy this informative interview with Nigerian author Chinua Achebe that was recorded fifty years after the publication of his novel, Things Fall Apart. View this interview and take notes on a few items. First note what was Achebe’s first motive to write this novel. “What needed to be done,” according to Achebe? Also reflect on the universal themes that Achebe discusses.

We’ll then discuss during another day in class Chinua Achebe’s influence on Novelist Chimamanda Adichie. What motives do they share? Do you realize that they are writing in different eras? While we only have a short period of time to discuss the summer reading, we will focus on how Achebe uses elements of modernism (remember your spring term in English III?) to create a post colonial story. We’ll also be mindful that he influences other African authors today. Do you know of other authors besides Chimamanda Adichie who pay tribute to Achebe’s influence? 

To start a conversation for class on the blog, comment below and reflect on the value of Chimamanda Adichie’s lesson of moving beyond one story. What is the most important part of her TED talk that informs your opinion. Compose this comment in 4-6 sentences in Standard English in a word document so that when you paste your comment below, you have proofed your prose and performed a spell check.

Here’s a great way to locate what we mean in an English classroom when we discuss issues of post colonialism:

Again, what other African novelists besides Chimamanda Adichie have taken up Achebe’s role and have tried  to tell  the story of their generation? Please research and post a thoughtful comment in Standard English below this post.

About Bill Sullivan

I am an English teacher working with great students at Suffield Academy. I also teach seniors in various project-based learning environments. Some of the #PBL topics included global issues, such as Pandemics, Climate Change, and Water; more recently I have asked students to research and identify topics important to our school community and their generation. We curate these topics with a #StudentCenteredPBL. For the past eleven years, I also created a driving question for a class to research a local history mystery and present their findings in a community program partnering with our local historical society. These topics encompass researching the lives of enslaved individuals who were contributors to the foundation of our community.
This entry was posted in Summer Reading, TED Talks/TEDx Talks, YouTube and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Reflect and Locate Chinua Achebe’s Post Colonial Novel, Things Fall Apart

  1. lilyoon says:

    Chimamanda Adichie strongly puts forth that it is extremely important to espouse not only one specific story but also many other stories that have potentials to add essential values and ideas on the topic being discussed in the story. Adichie carefully criticizes John Locke, who is a renowned philosopher and writer who had a significant impact on the American Constitution, and states that he initiated the Europeans’ negative discussion on stories of the African people. Adichie highlights the importance of going beyond just one story and exploring many different perspectives and opinions in order to form a rational stance. For example, Adichie states that a person who read about post-colonial stories may think very differently about Africa compared to that who read about pre-colonial stories of African people. Unique opinions and notions are aspects that often create harmony and clash around the globe. Despite this contradicting nature, (I) people can safely believe that Adichie’s argument on support for more diverse opportunities in literature will not only broaden people’s mind but also help them to be more thoughtful and ethical. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart affected numerous African writers to write more about African customs and traditions prior to their colonization. Chimamanda Adichie clearly followed the path led by Achebe as well as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o who is the author of The River Between. All African authors are eagerly urging the readers to understand a concept that people must explore numerous distinct sources before they form a belief in their opinions toward African culture. Therefore, people must not presume what is right and wrong just based on one story, but they rather need to explore many other stories to gradually develop their knowledge.

  2. madim says:

    Chimamanda Adichie states a strong argument which emphasizes the importance of many points of view. Adichie focus’ on explaining how one singular story can sound stereotypical and people assume a whole world view based on one story, one point of view. Adichie makes a superior argument about the power that comes from a story. Sharing her experience where she got asked a question about the father in her book and her response was a lash about “American Psycho”, adjusts one’s mindset revolving around a stereotypical opinion. Her most effective lines were towards the end of her talk where she stated, “stories matter”, but then continued to say, “many stories matter”, fully placing an emphasis on many, and not one viewpoint, never one opinion. I believe that Adichie’s effective arguments relate to Achebe’s thoughts and beliefs as he wrote Things Fall Apart. Both of their goals were to accentuate the importance of multiple stories, to tell a story about their people. While their writing differed because of the difference in the era they were writing in, it was clear that both of their stories seem to have the same focus. After reading Achebe’s work and listening to Chimamanda Adichie speak, it can be concluded that both of these writers strive to share their own story. They want to share the importance of reading multiple stories, and show that not everything is right from wrong, but most things need an abundance of perspectives, a variety of stories.

    • becca and cailey says:

      “They want to share the importance of reading multiple stories, and show that not everything is right from wrong, but most things need an abundance of perspectives, a variety of stories” (Madi McCreesh). Madi emphasizes how vital it is to have more than one perspective because not everything is “right” or “wrong.” She highlights the fact that with multiple views and recollections of an event there is more wiggle room for interpretation. She talks about the importance of multiple stories and how this allows cultures and groups of people to have fair representation. She then goes on to state that both Authors have one goal: to share their own story.

  3. beccaaaaab says:

    Fair and correct representation is a right that every human must have ownership of. Being portrayed in a false way leaves humans feeling defeated and lost, so we must as a world look closer on how we write about other cultures, how they are shown in the media, and what we see of them on the television. In her Ted talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses the importance of storytelling and how a story shapes the way we view the main character and their heritage. When someone has the ability to share the story of another person, it is their duty to be trustworthy and genuine. She speaks, “Show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again and that is what they become.” Everyone deserves more than one story, so we must, as a community, open our eyes to the issues of under-representation.

  4. syd says:

    Chimamanda Adichie emphasizes the importance of not assuming a particular view on someone based on one particular story. During her TED talk about the matter, she mentions that many people view the world through one story. Most people grow up hearing the same story about someone or something. Then eventually that story becomes a reality to them and they just assume it’s true. Adichie talks about her first time in the states at the university she attends. When she walks in the room and begins to talk, her roommate is in shock for many reasons. Her roommate, just like many others, assume just because Adichie is from Africa she cannot speak English. Adichie states that her roommate “felt sorry for me before she met me” because Adichie is African and her roommate only knows one story on Africans. This hits Adichie a little but as she is in the states a little longer she realizes why people think this and that is because it is the only identity they know and hear. People need to understand there are multiple stories to everyone’s identity. Adichie and others all over the world want everyone to hear multiple stories and not just assume something because of one story they hear.

  5. syd says:

    Research African novelist:
    Another writer, who tells their own story of their generation just like Adichie and Achebe, is Octavia Butler. In her novel Kindred, Octavia talks about a young black female writer who lives in Los Angeles during the 1970s but later moves to the south. Octavia talks about this generation’s story of black women living in the South and how others treat them. Also how others look at and not fully accept different color marriage, which puts the main character in a difficult situation since her husband is white. Octavia tells her own story about the life of an African in America living in the South during this time through her own lens.

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