Storytelling in achebe essay

Get Full Essay Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues. He presents Storytelling in many different ways: He also uses storytelling to weave traditional religious elements with that of modern society. This shows the reader the struggle in Post-colonial African countries.

Storytelling in achebe essay

Oral Tradition and Modern Storytelling: Revisiting Chinua Achebe's Short Stories Ode Ogede, North Carolina Central University An exclusive preoccupation with Chinua Achebe's novels has somewhat decidedly deflected attention away from his work both as a short-story writer and as a writer of children's fiction.

Numerically, Achebe's showing as a short-story writer may not quite place him on a par with that of other world-class writers.


However, Achebe's efforts here are quite commendable. Despite the scantiness of his production, Achebe should take solace in the very high quality of his output. In this essay, I analyze Achebe's singular book of short stories Girls at War and Other Stories to argue that all of his narrative experimentation in his short fiction can best be appreciated in the context of a debt to the oral tradition.

Oral tradition in this essay refers to the body of tales told both in the home by the fireside and in the wider community in African villages. Achebe heard these tales during his childhood. While he was growing up in the village of Ogidi in Eastern Nigeria in the s, traditional storytelling flourished in the home as well as in the schools.

Among these are repetition, tonal variation, parallelism, piling and association, the direct address, ideophones, digression, imagery, hyperbole, allusion, and symbolism.

Cultural Nativism in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay Example | Graduateway

In addition, traditional tales tend to conclude with an appended moral that often confirms the norms of the society in which they are performed. Of these resources, the direct address which ensures interaction with the audiencedigression, exaggeration, and didacticism are the features most prominently deployed by Achebe in his short stories.

Though traditional storytelling has influenced Achebe's short stories as much as it has his novels, this fact has surprisingly escaped the notice of his critics.

Even more astonishing is the fact that some critics have made an effort to deny Achebe's oral heritage entirely. Among them is his longtime associate Ossie Enekwe, who claims that Achebe "developed as a writer in an environment where the short story form is not taken seriously, where there was no flourishing tradition of short fiction.

Nonetheless, Enekwe's allegation that Achebe "made mistakes," that "these were steadily and systematically eliminated as he perfected his skill," [7] is unwarranted; such special pleading sweeps aside not only the fact that the Igbos generally hold storytelling in high regard, but also the fact that the art of storytelling can legitimately be taken as Achebe's greatest literary influence.

Achebe takes his heritage seriously. Even when the subject of his stories is slight, he is always able to capture the reader's interest with reasonable storytelling skills, as "The Madman"the first story of the collection, clearly illustrates.

In that story, Nwibe, an enterprising and eminent middle-aged man, is about to take the Ozo title, one of the most prestigious awards in his community, when he suddenly experiences a reversal of fortune. His plight resembles Okonkwo's in Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart[8] for, like Okonkwo, whose ambition to become one of the most respected elders of his community is ruined just as he is about to achieve his goal, Nwibe's aspiration is thwarted at the most unexpected moment.

Indeed, the destruction of Nwibe is rendered particularly poignant because he is able and determined to take full control of his life. Nwibe's quest for personal rejuvenation by bathing at a local stream on his way from the farm turns out to be the occasion for his ruin.


A naked madman who has gone to the stream to drink water spots Nwibe's loincloth, gathers it, wraps it around his waist, and speeds away with it. Nwibe's attempt to retrieve his stolen loincloth results in a chase that leads him to a market where onlookers view his nakedness as a sign of insanity.

Odun Balogun argues that the "involuntary but tragic exchange of identities between a sane person and a madman, an exchange symbolized by clothing" provides an appropriate occasion for a didactic lesson about life's "uncertainties.

In fact, we cannot be sure of anything But perhaps what the story has done is to equate extreme anger with insanity. Each time he bent down to carry water in cupped hands from the shallow stream to his head and body the madman smiled at his parted behind. And then I remembered.

This was the same hefty man who brought three others like him and whipped me out of my hut in the Afo market" 7. The stalking, deceitful actions that precede the madman's theft of Nwibe's cloth are reminiscent of the calculating actions of the colonialists who pounced on Africans at their least suspecting and most vulnerable moment to insure the success of the mission of colonial conquest.

In the following two stories, "The Sacrificial Egg" and "Chike's School Days," Achebe employs similar oral literary devices, but to different ends. Both stories continue to develop the theme of the unpredictability of life. Irony is an essential feature of both stories, and the crisp, direct, short sentences contribute immensely to the buildup of the emotions explored in the pieces.

The story depends for its effect on the use of digression, rumor or hearsay, summary recapitulation, and authorial commentary, all of which are devices favored in oral storytelling, as they lend liveliness and a sense of immediacy to the events depicted.

The plot of the story focuses on the experiences of Chike, an only son in a family of six children. The story begins as a study of Igbo cultural values, which reveals the craving Igbos have for male children and the joy that Chike's birth brings to his particular family.

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In Achebe’s novel “Anthills of the Savannah” storytelling is presented as a means to escape the effects of colonialism in Africa. He presents Storytelling in many different ways: through myth and folklore, Beatrice, Ikem and the Abazonian elder and it is clear to the reader that storytelling plays an important part in Kangan.

“Anthills of the Savannah” by Chinua Achebe Essay Sample

They will undertake close reading of passages in Things Fall Apart to evaluate the impact of Achebe’s literary techniques. and other elements of communal storytelling into the narrative in order to record and preserve African oral traditions and to subvert the colonialist language and culture.

Write an informative essay assessing. Overall, storytelling is a major technique which Achebe uses, emphasising the novel’s purpose, to question the political regime that is in place in post-colonial African society and this is why storytellers are perceived as a threat.

Storytelling in achebe essay
“Anthills of the Savannah” by Chinua Achebe | Essay Example