AD's English Literature : September 2014

Critical Overview of Chinua Achebe's Novels Defining Women’s Roles in Nigerian Society


"Real tragedy is never resolved. It goes on hopelessly for ever."
Chinua Achebe (1930 - )
 
While making general estimates of Achebe’s women as seen in his novels in the historical perspectives, it is better to  cover the journey of Nigerian literature particularly novel up to Achebe.  In Achebe here is a glimpse of   present  Nigeria which was once a home to ethnically based kingdoms and tribal communities before it became a European colony. It can also be traced the facts in Achebe’s novels how in spite of European contact these kingdoms and communities maintained their autonomy and how the colonial era began, and how Nigeria became independent of British rule in 1960 and how After independence Nigeria experienced frequent coups and long periods of autocratic military and how finally a democratic civilian government was established. It will also examine how in this long run of Nigerian history, Achebe as a Nigerian writer flourished and how Achebe has drawn women as a cultural agent in these social evolution.

Beatrice, Achebe’s New Nigerian Women Mouthpiece in Anthills of the Savannah



"An angry man is always a stupid man."
Chinua Achebe (1930 - )


One of the significant themes in Anthills of the Savannah is the way people particularly women reacts to with political handicaps of Nigeria. The women in Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah shun and resent political handicaps of Nigeria. Educated mass of Nigeria who become impotent and corrupt of ideas, either through lack of vision or will, and who are ideologically with political imperfections are almost always condemned to misery in the nations through frequent coups and unrest. There seems to be no compassion or sympathy for the nation. The people seem only concerned with their own well-being and survival. As Achebe goes through the narrative, he points to corresponding ideas on the political vision of the fictional Kangan which is none but his beloved country, Nigeria where the story is embroidered. In the book he demonstrates a never-ending pattern of ruin and rebuilding, perpetuating the way and validating the role and the authority of the women.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet: Emotional Complexity of Personality and Intricacy of Plot



 “What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!

how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how

express and admirable! in action how like an angel!

in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the

world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,

what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not

me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling

you seem to say so.”— HAMLET  2.2.317



 The term tragedy or tragic drama is broadly applied specifically to literary and especially to dramatic representations of serious action, which eventuate in a disastrous conclusion for the protagonist (the chief character). More precise and detailed discussion of the tragic form properly begins with – although they should not end with – Aristotle’s classical analysis in the ‘Poetics’. Aristotle based his theory on introduction from the only examples available to him, the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Hamlet opens at Elsinore castle in Denmark with the return of Prince Hamlet from the University of Wittenberg, in Germany. He finds that his father, the former king, has recently died and that his mother, Queen Gertrude, has subsequently married Claudius, his father's brother. Claudius has assumed the title of king of Denmark. Hamlet’s sense that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” is intensified when his friend and fellow student Horatio informs him that a ghost resembling his dead father has been seen on the battlements of the castle. Hamlet confronts the ghost, who tells him that Claudius murdered him and makes Hamlet swear to avenge his death. In order to disguise his feelings, Hamlet declares that from now on he will demonstrate an “antic disposition.” His behavior appears to everyone but Claudius to be a form of madness.

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958): Patriarchal and Feminine Perspectives

The women in Achebe’s novels can be read according to their self-perceptions, as well as societal awareness of them as women, wives, mothers and daughters. For example, Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart, is a presentation of cultural dislocation in a largely male-dominated setting. This novel is a manifestation of women’s multiple marginalities, and the dynamics of otherness, inclusion and exclusion. And it was not just the ownership of the story that was revolutionary - the language was too. Achebe's Things Fall Apart is part standard English, part pidgin, part language of folklore and proverb. His writing crackles with vivid, universal and yet deeply African images. Apart from the hero, Okonkwo readers identify not only with women and their personal hardships but also with the Ibo culture and its disintegration. Achebe wants to explain the truth about the effects of losing one's culture. One observes a gradual paradigm shift as the women emerge from cultural closure, transgress male domains and impose their voice (s) and roles in their societies. The landmark historical roles played by Igbo women in pre-colonial and colonial Nigerian societies have been well documented. Things Fall Apartclearly delineates the roles of men and women as viewed from both gender and cultural lenses.

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