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Africa in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart - Book Report/Review Example

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The author states that Chinua Achebe’s presentation of the land and its peoples in his book Things Fall Apart is quite different from these ‘traditional’ Western ideas. In Achebe’s novel, the people spend most of their time engaged in subsistence farming as they survive almost entirely on yams…
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Africa in Chinua Achebes Book Things Fall Apart
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Download file to see previous pages In the story about Unoka’s visit to the priestess Agbala about why his crops always fail, her answer provides the clue that even the native tribe's people had a tendency to view the land as something to be exploited. “When your neighbors go out with their ax to cut down virgin forests, you sow your yams on exhausted farms that take no labor to clear” (Achebe 17). This statement reveals that the common practice of the tribes was to indiscriminately cut down the virgin forests, thus exploiting the resources of the land rather than learning more effective means of soil maintenance. At the same time, this passage reveals the importance of tradition to these people and the importance of women within society.
It is nearly impossible to pass off the black men of Achebe’s story as the mere beasts of labor portrayed in the words of white men through other novels as they work and struggle to eke out a survival in a harsh land. As the quote from Agbala reveals, farming comprises a lot of the men’s lives to the point that their social status is determined by how hard they are seen to work for the benefit of their family. Although Unoka is a well-liked man among his contemporaries and evidently has a unique talent for playing the flute, this is not sufficient to help him overcome the stigma of being a poor or lazy farmer. He is seen as lazy because of the plants on cleared and exhausted fields and, because of the plants on exhausted fields, his crops are often much lower in yield than he needs to repay his debts within the community, which further brings down his status and reduces his ability to provide for his children. His talents as a performer are appreciated, but not compensated in any way. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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