Oral Tradition of African Literature. African Literature.
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According to Achebe, “Both novel and short story in Africa have undoubtedly drawn from a common oral heritage. But each has also achieved distinctiveness in the hands of its best practitioners.”
Folktales, proverbs and riddles also constitute African Literature. Achebe’s work is full of all these details.
Achebe represents a modern Africa whose ethnic and cultural diversity is complicated by the impact of European colonialism. Things Fall Apart challenges European stereotype of Africa as primitive savage identity and brings forth the complexities of African societies with heir alternative sets of traditions, ideals, values, and behaviours.
Therefore, Achebe has a dual mission to educate both African and European readers to reinstall a sense of pride in African cultures and “to help my society to regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of years of denigration and self-abasement.” “Achebe … has articulated the responsibility of the writer as an essentially pedagogical one in which the writer in addition to writing about the issues of his day also has to assume the role of “teacher” and guardian of his society.”
Professor Paul Brians of Washington State University says, the “most striking feature (of Things Fall Apart) is to create a complex and sympathetic portrait of a traditional village culture in Africa. Achebe is trying not only to inform the outside world about Ibo cultural traditions, but to remind his own people of their past and to assert that it had contained much of value. All too many Africans in his time were ready to accept the European judgment that Africa had no history or culture worth considering.”