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Chinua Achebe’s Short Stories as A Periscope to Igbo Worldview

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Chinua Achebe’s Short Stories as A Periscope to Igbo Worldview.

ABSTRACT

Human beings cannot function in chaos, and out of the chaos of life they create an ordered existence.

The basic ideas of the world, physical and metaphysical, held by a people have vital influences on their perceptions and approaches to life.

Their conceptions of the universe and nature of existence determine the basic belief which reflect in their cultural, religious and social values that sometimes mold and guide their behaviour and actions. Africans generally and the Igbo in particular are known for their well articulated and distinctive worldviews.

Admittedly, western civilization has made considerable impact on some of their worldviews; while some have lost essence, some are over-looked or trampled upon and others forgotten outright.

This work discusses Chinua Achebe’s Girls at War and Other Stories using them as searchlight into Igbo worldview. It offers an exploration of the dynamics of the socio-cultural and religious values that encompass the Igbo worldview revealing the individual, social, cultural, and religious factors that give it shape and meaning.

It is therefore the exploration of the philosophy, social, cultural and religious values that make a people and the education of the masses that Achebe demonstrates in his stories, that this dissertation dwells on.

By the diverse portrayals of Igbo worldview in his short stories, Chinua Achebe has served as a teacher of culture, events, trends, values and concepts that prevail among the people.

Following the trends of this literary icon, Africans should be custodians of their culture so that the dignity of African Culture which has been trampled upon be restored.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page. . . . . . . . . . . i
Approval/Certification. . . . . . . . . ii
Dedication. . . . . . . . . . . iii
Acknowledgements. . . . . . . . . . iv
Abstract. . . . . . . . . . . vi
Table of Contents. . . . . . . . . vii

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction 

1.1 Background of the Study. . . . . . . . . 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem. . . . . . . . 4
1.3 Objectives of the Study. . . . . . . . 4
1.4 Significance of the Study. . . . . . . . 5
1.5 Scope of the Study. . . . . . . . . 5
1.6 Limitation of the Study. . . . . . . . 6

CHAPTER TWO: Review of Relevant Literature 

2.1 Worldview. . . . . . . . . . 7
2.2 Igbo Worldview. . . . . . . . . . 15
2.3 Criticism on Chinua Achebe . . . . . . . 31

CHAPTER THREE: Research Methods

3.1 Theoretical Framework. . . . . . . . . 33
3.2 Research Methodology. . . . . . . . . 36

CHAPTER FOUR: Biography of the Author, Synopses and Analysis of the Selected Stories

4.1 Biography of the Author. . . . . . . . 39
4.2 Synopses of the Selected Stories. . . . . . . 42
4.3 Chinua Achebe’s short stories as a Periscope to Igbo Worldview . . 46

CHAPTER FIVE: Summary and Conclusion

REFERENCES. . . . . . . . . . 71

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The Short Story is one of the most spontaneous and one of the most entertaining of literary forms. For ages in each and every country of the world, short stories have been in existence in different forms like anecdotes, jokes and brief narratives. According to M H Abrams, the Short Story

is a brief work of fiction…and like the novel, it organizes the action, thought, and dialogue of its characters into the artful pattern of a plot… presented to us from one of many points of view; and it may be written in the mode of fantasy, realism, or naturalism (286).

Edgar Allan Poe, the originator and first known theorist of the Short Story as an established literary genre, defines the Short Story as

a narrative which can be read at one sitting from half an hour to two hours, and is limited to a certain unique single effect to which every detail is subordinate (286).

These definitions, however, account for reasons why Eileen refers to the Short Story as “the art of writing less but meaning more” (146).

As an art form, the Short Story properly developed during the 19th Century with such writers as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne in the United States; Guy Maupassant and Pazan Balzac in France; Pushkin, Gogol and Anton Chekhov in Russia and Sir Walter Scott in England.

In Africa, we have such short story writers like Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Barbara Kimenye, Abioseh Nicol, Gabriel Okara, Sambene Ousmane, Richard Rive, Cyprain Ekwensi, Flora Nwapa, among others.

REFERENCES

Abanuka, Bartholomew. Philosophy and the Igbo World. Nigeria: Spiritan Publication, 2010. Abrams, M H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 9th ed. Canada: Michael Rosenberg, 2009. Print.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: Heinemann, 1958. Print.
Adedimeji, Mahfouz A. Culture and Language in African Literature: A Study of Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God. Nigeria: university of Ilorin, 2008. Web.
Afigbo, A. The Warrant Chiefs: Indirect Rule in South-Eastern Nigeria. N. P, 1962. Web. Animalu, A. A way of Life in the Modern Scientific Age. Ahiajioku Lecture, Owerri: Culture Division, Ministry of information, 1990. Web.
Anyadike, N. “Bridal Wealth as Symbol for Permission for Conjugal Rights in Igbo Marriage Culture” Anu: a Journal of Igbo Art and Culture, No. 6, Owerri: Desktop Publishing and printing, 2002. Print.
Anyanwu, Rev. Fr Chikwendu. “Achebe and the Invention of African Literature” The Leader News Online, May 25, 2013. Web.

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