Analysis Of Savages In Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

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Many a missionary has come to colonize Africa, thinking that they are "civilizing" a more "primitive" race. However, these missionaries often do not realize that who they think are "savages" may be better off without what they have to offer. These Europeans have in their minds what is called a single story of Africa, a shuddering misconception of another’s life, only a small fragment of their entire story. This "single story" is only a part of Africa 's more diverse and sophisticated culture, as many know only of the savage tales told of Africa and not of its refined societies. Such is the story of Umuofia in the book by Chinua Achebe. In his book Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe successfully eradicates the single story of Africa through …show more content…
Okonkwo is at his friend Obierika 's obi, and the family of Obierika 's daughter 's suitor have come to arrange a bride-price. "As the men drank, they talked about everything except the thing for which they had gathered" (Achebe 52). Achebe specifically uses the word "everything" to symbolize the broad subjects the men talked about, yet none of them had brought up what they had originally met to discuss. It shows the men 's purposeful avoidance of that topic, choosing to speak of anything but the one subject they met up to talk about. The Ibo have the custom of making small talk before speaking about the heavier matters of a conversation, just as anyone else would do. With the word "thing" Achebe further demonstrates that none of the men have to even name what they had come to speak about. It suggests a high intellect and premonition that many deluded Europeans would not expect of Africans. The word "gathered" relates to the theme of African people having high intellect and sophisticated customs through the fact that they had specifically planned and met up for this specific event. They have their own social orders and have certain formalities that must be followed, just as Europeans do. The men both have respect for each other, and maintain formality as they attend to business. As seen through the exacting art of their polite …show more content…
The egwugwu are the the judges of the land, and listen to both sides of the argument when a case is brought before them. " 'Your words are good, ' said the leader of the egwugwu. 'Let us hear Oduke. His words may also be good '" (Achebe 91). When Achebe uses the word "good," he illustrates that the egwugwu uses that word to show that he is impartial to both sides of the argument. It stresses his polite formality when dealing with such matters, not having bias towards either opinion. It also helps maintain the image that these men are not simply the masked elders they really are, but wise ancestral “spirits,” just as one is different at the workplace than they are with friends are family. Achebe specifically uses "hear" to relate to the topic of polite distance the egwugwu uphold during the trial. They are politely removed from the situation, suggesting a wise and unprejudiced view. They cannot let their own opinions cloud their judgement during the trial. Although they are their to judge the situation presented to them, they cannot judge someone because of what they did, and this air of formality helps maintain that. When Achebe writes the words "may also," he further uses polite speech to exhibit the egwugwu 's intentional formality. It also shows how the egwugwu listen to both sides of the altercation before coming to a consensus, due to their sophisticated society.

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