Chinualumogu Albert Achebe is an eminent Nigerian writer. He is normally viewed as the father of Afro-English writing. He was born in 1930 in Ogidi, Nigeria, and raised by Christian guardians. , Chinua Achebe is a Christian who has removed himself from the nearby customs and culture of his kin. Regardless of his Western training and vocation as a writing educator in the United States, Chinua Achebe regarded the Igbo culture. 

Throughout the years, Chinua Achebe has functioned as a writer, artist, editorial manager and producer, Professor, political lobbyist, and writer of numerous scholarly works. His works are generally well known over the globe and have been utilized in showing writing in foundations of higher learning and secondary schools.

The artistic works of Chinua Achebe essentially rotate around issues contacting straightforwardly or in a roundabout way on social customs, impacts of colonization, and inside clashes existing among contemporary Africans. The mix of these and other related components makes it for all intents and purposes inconceivable for readers to have a comprehension of such components.  Achebe joins components from the Igbo society in his compositions in order to empower his crowds to get away from the subject substance.

A Short Biography of Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian professor, novelist, critic, and poet. He was born on November 16, 1930. He was born in the Igbo town of Ogidi. This town is located in the southern part of Nigeria. His father was Isaiah Okafa Achebe while his mother was Janet Anaenechi Iloegbunam. His parents stopped following their ancestral religion and converted to Christianity. The Achebe family had many children but six of them survived. Alongside Chinua Achebe, they were Frank Okwuofu, John Chukweumeka Ifeanyichukwu, Zinobia Uzoma, Augistine Ndubisi and Grace Nwanneka.

His parents had converted from their religion to Christianity so this had a great impact on the naming traditions and lives of their children as well. Chinua Achebe was born as Albert Chinualumogu Achebe. So this name became Chinua Achebe.  They lived in Ogidi. Storytelling was an important tradition in Igbo families. Chinua Achebe got all the traditional stories in his childhood from his mother and sisters.

 Chinua Achebe joined St Phillips` Central School in 1936 when he was six years old. He was an extraordinary student. He was forced to stay in the class of religion for young children but was moved quickly to the higher class. The teachers appreciated him a lot and he was called to be the student with best writing skills and handwriting.

Chinua Achebe joined the University College in 1948. It is now the University of Ibadan. At that time, it was an affiliated college of the University of London. He was given a financial scholarship to study medicine at the University. During his studies at the university, he became corrosively critical towards the European literature about Africa. 

The character of a Nigerian man depicted wrongly in Mister Johnson by Joyce Cary in 1939, disturbed him to a great extent. This book described Nigerians as savage people. Thus he decided to become a writer and tried to eradicate the narrative developed against his own people.

After making his decision, he quit medicine study and took History, English, and theology as his major subjects. This resulted in his losing the scholarship. The Art Department of the University was a very strong and devoted teacher who were famous writers as well. This resulted in the development of Achebe as a writer.

He started his writing career in 1950 when he wrote ‘Polar Undergraduate’ for the University Herald. Afterwards, he wrote a few more essays and they got published in the campus magazine, The Bug. He also served as the editor of Herald in 1951-1952 sessions.

While at the college, Achebe composed his first short story, “In a Village Church”, which consolidates subtleties of life in Nigeria with Christian organizations and symbols. He also featured this style of writing in a considerable lot of his later works. 

Other short stories he composed during his time at Ibadan like “The Old Order in Conflict with the New” and “Dead Men’s Path” analyze clashes among convention and advancement. When a teacher named Geoffrey Parrinder showed up at the college to teach comparative religion, Achebe started to investigate the fields of Christian history and African customary religions.

He took his final university exam of Ibadan in 1953. After the results, he got a second-class degree. This baffled him because he was uncertain about his future. Thus, he came back to his town Ogidi to ponder about his future.

Chinua Achebe was unable to come to a conclusion for the selection of his future path. A friend visited him and persuaded him that there is a vacancy of an English teacher at the Merchants of Light School at Oba and that Achebe must apply for it. He applied and got the job. The school was not a good school in regard to its infrastructure and resources. It was built on the bad bush. 

He worked hard with the student and made available the newspaper for his students to read it. He wanted them to read extensively. He taught in the school for almost four months. In 1954, he applied for a post at the Nigerian Broadcasting Service. When he got the job he got shifted to Lagos.

The National Broadcasting service was started by the colonial government in 1933. When Achebe got the job he was assigned the role in the Talks Department. His duty was to write the scripts for voice delivery. This enabled him to excel in writing skills which proved very beneficial for him later in his writing career.

It is while staying in Lagos; he started working on his first novel. Before him, very little was written for African Literature in English yet Achebe decided to write in English and developed a style of his own. In 1956, Queen Elizabeth II visited Nigeria. This visit brought about the perspectives of colonialism and disguised politics and this moved Achebe to a greater extent.

In 1956, Achebe got selected by the British Broadcasting Corporation for its Staff School. He was then sent abroad for technical production skills to London. In London, he got a chance to meet the novelist Gilbert Phelps. Achebe presented his manuscript and he wanted to show it to his editor. Achebe excused and said he wanted to improve the script.

He returned to Nigeria and restructured his novel. After completion, he sent the copy to the London Company. The company did not respond to the copy. Achebe`s broadcasting service boss was visiting England and Achebe requested her to see the prospect of the manuscript. She intervened and the company sent Achebe a typed copy of the novel.

Afterwards, the novel was sent to many of the publishers but most of them rejected it on the grounds that the Nigerian writers are not read by the readers. The publisher Heinemann decided to publish it on the advice of Donald McRae who had recently visited West Africa.

On 17th June 1958 Heinemann published two thousand copies of the novel with the title of Things Fall Apart. The book was received very warmly by the readers, critics, and press. Back in Nigeria, the reception was a sort of mix because people did not think that a Nigerian Native writer could produce a reading worthy book in English. Soon the book became an important part of African Literature and sold over 20 million copies around the world. this novel got translated into 57 languages.

In 1958, Achebe was promoted to take over the post of in-charge for the eastern region coverage of the broadcasting network. He shifted to Enugu. Achebe met a lady Christiana Chinwe working in NBS. She was an underrated employee and was not given a good salary. She was in the hospital for an appendectomy. Achebe visited her with gifts.

This marked the starting point of a connection between the two. They got married in 1961. In 1962, their first daughter Chinelo got born. Afterwards, they had two sons Ikechukwu in 1964 and Chidi in 1967. In 1970, another daughter of Achebe was born and she was named Nwando.

In 1960, Achebe came up with his second novel, No Longer at Ease. He dedicated his second novel to his wife Christiana. The novel reflected the various hardships and challenges about the independence of Nigeria.

 In 1960, he was honored with a Rockefeller Fellowship for six months traveling trip. He visited Kenya, and Tanzania where he was shocked because the immigration form did not mention his own nationality and ethnicity.

His third novel, Arrow of God was published in 1964. In 1966, he published his fourth novel A Man of the People.

In 1967, the eastern part of Nigeria separated itself from Nigeria and announced itself as the Republic of Biafra. This made the country go into the state of war. Achebe was forced to move into Biafra. His house was destroyed by bombing. During this period, Achebe wrote short and intense poetry. In 1970, the state of Biafra surrendered to Nigeria, and Achebe returned to his hometown. He got a job at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka. Because he supported the state of Biafra so his passport was revoked by the government.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst offered Achebe the role of a professor in 1972 and he moved along with his family to the United States.

In 1975, he was awarded by the University of Stirling with an honorary degree of doctorate. He was also awarded the Lotus Prize for Afro-Asian Writer. He returned to Nigeria in 1976 and started working at the University of Nigeria. He retired in 1982. He published his fifth novel Anthills of the Savannah in 1987. In 1990, he met with an accident and his lower part paralyzed completely. In 2013, he died in Boston.

Chinua Achebe’s Writing Style

Oral tradition

The style of Achebe’s fiction draws vigorously on the oral custom of the Igbo people. He meshes society stories into the texture of his accounts. The story about the Earth and Sky in Things Fall Apart, for instance, accentuates the interdependence of masculinity and femininity. Despite the fact that Nwoye appreciates hearing his mother tell the story, Okonkwo’s abhorrence for it is proof of his imbalance. Later, Nwoye maintains a strategic distance from beatings from his father by claiming to aversion such ladies’ stories.

Achebe’s short stories are not as generally concentrated as his books, and Achebe himself didn’t think of them as a significant piece of his work. In the introduction for Girls at War and Other Stories, he states that twelve pieces in twenty years must be an entirely lean reap by any reckoning. Like his books, the short stories are intensely affected by the oral convention. Also, similar to the folktales they follow, the accounts frequently have ethics stressing the significance of social traditions.

Use of Proverbs

Another sign of Achebe’s style is the utilization of proverbs, which regularly represent the estimations of the rustic Igbo convention. He sprinkles them all through the stories. Critic Anjali Gera noticed that the utilization of proverbs in ‘’Arrow of God’’ serves to make an echo impact on the judgment of a network upon an individual violation. The utilization of such reiteration in Achebe’s urban books, No Longer at Ease and A Man of the People, is less pronounced.

For Achebe proverbs and society, stories are not the whole of the oral Igbo convention. In consolidating philosophical ideas and open execution into the utilization of rhetoric, his characters display what he called a matter of individual greatness of some portion of Igbo culture. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s companion Obierika voices the most energetic speech, taking the shape of the occasions and their noteworthiness for the town. Nwaka in Arrow of God likewise displays dominance of rhetoric, but for pernicious ends.

Folk Songs

Achebe often incorporates folk songs and depictions of dancing in his work. Obi, the hero of No Longer at Ease, is at one point met by ladies singing a “Melody of the Heart”, which Achebe gives in both Igbo and English, “Is everybody here?”. In Things Fall Apart, dancing and the singing of people tunes mirror the real factors of Igbo custom. 

The old Uchendu, endeavoring to shake Okonkwo out of his self-centeredness, alludes to a song sung after the demise of a lady: For whom is it well, for whom is it well? There is nobody for whom it is well. This song appears differently in relation to the gay and romping tunes of evangelism sung later by the white missionaries.

Use of English

As the decolonization unfurled during the 1950s, a discussion about the decision of language emitted and sought after around the globe. Achebe was no special case. In reality, he discovered his books and choices questioned with outrageous examination especially as to his utilization of English. One way of thinking, advocated by Kenyan essayist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, encouraged the utilization of indigenous African dialects. He said English and other European dialects were a piece of the neo-colonial structures that quell dynamic ideas.

Achebe decided to write in English. In his paper “The African Writer and the English Language”, he examines how the procedure of imperialism gave colonized individuals from shifting phonetic foundations a language with which to converse with each other. As his motivation is to speak with readers across Nigeria, he utilizes the one focal language to communicate across the country. Using English permitted his books to be perused in the states of colonizer masters as well.

In any case, Achebe perceives the inadequacies of what Audre Lorde called the tools of masters. In another paper he notes that for African writing in English isn’t without its genuine mishaps. He frequently winds up depicting circumstances or methods of thought which have no immediate identity in the English lifestyle. Trapped in that circumstance he can do one of two things. 

He can attempt to contain what he needs to state inside the restrictions of customary English or he can attempt to push back those cutoff points to oblige his thoughts. He says that he can present the individuals who can accomplish crafted by expanding the boondocks of English in order to oblige African ideas. It is done through their authority of English and not out of innocence.

In another article, he alludes to James Baldwin’s battle to utilize the English language to precisely speak to his experience. He also stated his acknowledgment that he expected to assume responsibility for the language and extend it. The Nigerian artist and author Gabriel Okara compares the procedure of language-extension to the development of jazz music in the United States.

Achebe’s books laid an imposing basis for this procedure. By modifying linguistic structure, use, and figure of speech, he changes the language into a particularly African style. In certain spots this appears as the reiteration of an Igbo thought in Standard English speech. In some places it shows up as account asides incorporated into engaging sentences.

Simple Diction

In his novel, Achebe utilizes direct language and straightforward sentence structures. His style makes a feeling of convention befitting a verifiable story told from a third-individual omniscient perspective. In keeping his language direct and to the point, Achebe contributes his composition with the sentiment of nonpartisan reportage.

In spite of the fact that non-Igbo readers may feel difficulty over the new names, the sentences don’t present specific trouble regarding punctuation or jargon. The sentences do not contain pointless embellishments. Achebe utilizes basic action words, with little variety. His propensity to depend on types of action words to be unobtrusive underscores the feeling of verifiable authenticity. He also urges the readers to put stock in the Igbo social world portrayed in his works.

Use of Images

Another sign of Achebe’s style is the utilization of images and pictures. Through his utilization of pictures and images, Achebe passes on more profound implications. He needs to cause the readers to comprehend his fundamental importance covered up in the novel. For example, the image of anthills dwelling places in the savannah unwinds the code of the novel. 

It is an image of protection from the hard and insufferable conditions that individuals live in the nation of Kangan under the autocracy of Sam Okoli. The anthills are representative of endurance and prefigure Beatrice, the significant character who survives as an onlooker of the shameful acts and the hard encounters of the past. 

She will be a part of the individuals who will describe the exercise to the people in the future as Ikem places it in this sentence like an enigma. The job that Ikem plays in the novel is critical. Regarding style, he is the person who renders the novel graceful. Achebe utilizes Ikem shrewdly to give his books various styles by separating the sorts of storytellers and characters.

Major Themes

Cultural and Tradition

In the vast majority of his scholarly works, Chinua Achebe makes endeavors to outline the communications of African culture. In this case he inculcates the Nigerian Igbo and innovation as an impact of British colonization of Nigeria. In his first novel, the presentation of Christian culture in Umuofia is met by sharp obstruction and restriction by local people who endeavor to guard their nearby legacy.. 

In this novel the jobs made by the District Commissioner are deciphered by local people as a method of securing them out significant dynamic procedures of issues influencing the network. This in actuality goes about as a springboard for their resistance to European intrusion. The obstruction of neighborhood conventions by European culture is also portrayed in the novel, Anthills of the Savannah. 

The character, Sam Okoli is a commonplace case of a Western instructed person who detests his local customs. This makes it hard for him to viably assume the job relegated to him by the author, for example the leader of Kangan.

Gender Roles

The way wherein Chinua Achebe assigns jobs to characters in his books brings into thought the individual jobs of the two people, as to the standards and desires for the general public. Following his origin to patriarchal Igbo people where significant family choices are made by the paterfamilias. Chinua attempts to fuse these cultural components in his works. 

Igbo men were polygamous in nature and were permitted to thrash their spouses if there were an occurrence of any local misconceptions. This is most likely why he portrays Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart as a man with three spouses, and with a petty demeanor that his manliness. He thrashed anything ladylike around him.

Then again, he depicts ladies in his works as submissive spouses. They are not permitted to participate in either customary or positions of authority. Chinua Achebe at one point attempts to value the pretended by ladies in the general public. This is done to avoid being marked as a chauvinistic author. 

This is found in Chapter fourteen of Things Fall Apart in the portrayal of Ani and ensuing conversations of Nneka. Likewise, contentions might be put over that the issues looked by Okonkwo might be credited to his mentality toward ladies through standard abuse and offenses made against the female sexual orientation.

Works Of Chinua Achebe

Short Stories