Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Things Fall Apart

I’ve always found writing styles fascinating. Often an author’s greatest gift is his ability to captivate the minds of his readers, and he does this through the way he writes. Before this semester, I had never even heard of the book Things Fall Apart, yet I found Chinua Achebe’s book drew me into a foreign world. The author was able to subtly make me believe that I was a part of the Igbo people through his use of language.

Things Fall Apart flows beautifully from page to page; Part One has a distinct rhythm that is unlike the writings of most American authors. Achebe uses the language of the Igbo without needing to define the various terms. Through this colloquial style, he brings us into the African society. The terms and customs of Okonkwo’s people become so familiar, such as the breaking of the kola nut and the drinking of palm-wine. Because there is so much description within the first half of the book, I was able to experience Okonkwo’s life. Beatings eventually seemed less harmful, less frowned upon in my mind. The killing of animals did not seem so gruesome, and I found myself defending the Igbo against the Christians who came to live with them. How is this possible? How can an author’s words draw us so effectively into a completely different world, almost to the point where we feel as though we’re among the people?

I enjoyed how easy it was to immerse myself in this book. The writing wasn't complicated, but it was different than what I'm used to reading. Achebe's casual, informal style was both captivating and entertaining, and it allowed me to better understand the Igbo people.

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