Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Post-Colonialism: Ashcroft and Achebe

Ashcroft sets out to underline and determine all of the ideas surrounding post-colonialism. In many ways, Achebe attempts to do the same in his novel Things Fall Apart. By analyzing the effects of colonialism, before and after, one can determine the direct effects that have taken place. In the essay Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies, post-colonialism is described as: “...the colonial experience of a great range of cultures...is to elide the differences between them” (190). Achebe brilliantly highlights these differences in the separation into parts of his novel.
One such difference, as written by Ashcroft, was orality. He writes: “Post-Colonial cultures have all, in various ways, been influenced by the interrelationship between orality and literacy” (165). This holds true in Achebe’s novel due to the oral nature of the Igbo nation. Achebe writes Things Fall Apart as if it is being orally spoken to the reader. The orality of the Igbo connects directly with the traditions and importance that they hold dear. For the Igbo, the oral tradition is what connects the tribe and makes the tribe function. This orality of the Igbo contrasts heavily with the literacy and reading in Christianity. The Bible is the main text and function of Christianity as opposed to oral tales and traditions filled with mysticism. Ashcroft sets out to determine the various aspects and results of post-colonialism. Achebe has taken the basic ideas and created a brilliant novel that demonstrates in content and structure the effects.

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