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Things Fall Apart: The Language of the Book


The language of the book is easy but dignified. When the characters speak, they utilize a raised diction, which is suggested to convey the sense of Ibo speech. Achebe has made his novel sound like it is a narrative of an Ibo character and has attained this through the application of short sentences in addition to normal Ibo proverbs and images. His short sentences are utilized straight away and he squanders no time at all for the reader to become aquainted with the Ibo language and syntax.

His very first sentence has a mere 11 words and goes as follows ‘Okonkwo was popular throughout the nine villages and even beyond’. Within these short sentences, Achebe explains an extraordinary amount of info required to understand the text. Within the very first paragraph, we are provided with an outline of the character of Okonkwo in addition to an intro to the fumbling– an indispensable part of Ibo culture. Achebe desires to make his novel sound ‘African’ and attains this in a variety of various methods.

This enables us insight into the Ibo world and assists us to relate to the novel more.

The basic sentences and their basic structure help the book sound like the intonation of that of an Ibo man himself. The words are likewise simplistic and he has made little effort to make them sound abstract and complex, for that reason, additional boosting the realism of the novel. Images that are utilized in the book are completely from the Ibo world as are the similes and contrasts (though these are not utilized as much). For example, ‘Okonkwo’s fame had grown like a bush-fire throughout the hamattan’,’ [Ikemafuna] grew rapidly like a yam tendril in the rainy season’ and ‘a lot of effeminate men clucking like old hens’.

In addition to this he uses images such as ‘he has put a knife on the important things that held us together and we have actually fallen apart’. Therefore, the simpleness of the words utilized, integrated with the imagery enhances strongly the simpleness of the sentences and develops the impression that a person is completely immersed on the planet of Ibo society. This impression is only further raised by the use of proverbs in the book. Achebe thinks that “sayings are the palm-oil with which words are eaten” and he has utilized them continually throughout the novel.

Proverbs are smart expressions, which embody some supposed fact or moral lesson. The Ibo society is non-literate and utilizes sayings as an every day suggests of interaction. Sayings were used as a kind of polite discussion (this can be seen when Okoye is attempting to trigger Okonkwo to pay his financial obligations and Okoye ‘stated the next half a dozen sentences in sayings’). Ibo proverbs are likewise taken from Ibo beliefs and experiences. For example ‘the lizard that leapt from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did’.

It should be born in mind that each saying is brought in aptly to accord with the scenarios it is talking about, be it Okonkwo’s achievements or his pride. This enables us to comprehend the characters better along with the ideas of the people and how they related nature and wildlife to daily life. Typically the proverbs merge with and mix into referrals to the folk tales and legends of the Ibo and every guy there knew these stories. For example, the story of the tortoise and his shell and the mosquito story.

These stories work as they permit Nigerian beliefs to subtly get in the unique in addition to some relief for what is about to occur. For example, when Efwefi is informing the story of the tortoise, we are supplied with some light reading and a serene environment of a mother telling her kid a night-time story, making what occurs thereafter more frightening (Chielo carries Ezinma away). Also, all the sayings have importance to the story– when Okonkwo is telling the story of the mosquito, Ezinma later on becomes sick with malaria.

Also, the tale of the Mother Kite in Chapter 15 cautions against assaulting prior to knowing the strength of one’s enemy– therefore increasing the tension for the reader. The use of proverbs and folk tales is yet another way in which Achebe includes truth to the Ibo atmosphere in the novel. To omit them, or to use substantial techniques and flourishes of more advanced composed language would have created a book from which the reader is looking into the Ibo culture from the outside. Achebe’s style adds life and heightens the tension in his novel.

Sayings are used to assist us understand the character’s sensations. Using brief sentences helps the reader see the sentence structure and the method the Ibo people spoke in a little, yet significant way and thus assisting us identify with the characters more. Overall, I would state that Achebe has used an African style of composing in an exceptionally appealing method as it helps us determine and go into the Ibo world, rather of merely checking out the book and envisioning what it could be like.

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