Chinua Achebe

Topics: Igbo people, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart Pages: 3 (748 words) Published: October 5, 2008
Chinua Achebe

The three essays written by Chinua Achebe, The Novelist as a Teacher 1965, Where Angels Fear to Tread 1962, The Role of a Writer in a New Nation 1964, were written to discuss and illuminate how African writers and their works are perceived and related to in Europe, America and Africa itself.

If read chronologically you begin with Where Angels Fear to Tread , presumably referring to the critics like the, “Europeans who think they have special knowledge of Africa”. When in fact they know very little about its past or present. Achebe says, “he would not dream of constructing theories to explain ‘the European mind’ with the same ‘bold face’ that some Europeans assume in explaining [his]”.

He goes on to describe the different types of critics he and other African writers encounter frequently. “The peevishly hostile…Angry with…colonial freedom and…gross ingratitude for colonial benefits”. Then there are those who are influenced by the common stereotype that African peoples are uneducated and can hardly believe they can write, let alone know English. Still implying that Africa is a relatively primitive place. Achebe does point out the flaws of African writers themselves that very well may indulge such critics. “…couldn’t do worse than the author…who invented an Ibo hero with a Yoruba name”. While Achebe does have a serious message he manages to keep an overall light tone, addressing the inadequacies of foreign critics and the inadequacies of African writers themselves.

Achebe then turns his attention to Africa itself in ,The Role of a Writer in a New Nation . Where it seems in a newly freed nation there is much disconnect from historical culture and the influences it has on modern Africa. “We can not pretend that our past was long Technicolor idyll. We have to admit that…ours had its good as well as its bad...
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