By Chinwe Christiana Okechukwu
Read Online or Download Achebe the Orator. The Art of Persuasion in Chinua Achebe's Novels PDF
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Additional info for Achebe the Orator. The Art of Persuasion in Chinua Achebe's Novels
Earlier, in Part One, Achebe has exposed the complexity of the composition of the populace as well as the character of the people of Umuofia. In Part Three, he examines the priests from the white man's camp. Among the white 24 Achebe the Orator men, there are even-tempered, understanding, and accommodating priests like Father Brown, as well as militant, bigoted, ignorant ones like Reverend James Smith. What is found among the white men is also found in Umuofia society. The two societies represent complex civilizations with complex peoples, each thinking that the other is strange.
Okonkwo had to bring himself out of abject poverty, pull himself up by his bootstraps, as it were. Achebe portrays Unoka, Okonkwo's father as a poor role model, full of demerits. But in an undisguised tribute to the natural virtue of Okonkwo's culture, Achebe raises Okonkwo above these demerits and remarks: "Fortunately, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father" (6; ch. 1) [all quotes in this chapter are from the 1994 Doubleday edition of Things Fall Apart].
In the eyes of the Umuofians, the church building is the house of the white man's God, and by the white man's faith, this God lives in that church. Therefore, burning the church is like desecrating the white man's God. By the same logic, the egwugwu houses the ancestral spirit of the town. To unmask the egwugwu is to desecrate the house of the people's gods. Every person in this culture has a personal god, chi, including the desecrated ancestral spirit. Achebe's discussion of the importance of chi to an Igbo person, in his essay "Chi in Igbo Cosmology," makes clear the relationship of a person and his or her chi and why it was calamitous for the Christians to have desecrated an egwugwu.