‘Things Fall Apart’@ 65: Don Seeks Text’s Re-Introduction In Schools

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A don, Dr Uchenna Uwakwe, has called for the re-introduction of classic novel, Things Fall Apart, as a compulsory reading text in secondary and tertiary institutions to promote the Nigerian and African culture.

Uwakwe, an associate Professor at the Directorate of General Studies, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, FUTO, made  the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in New York.

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Uwakwe, a senior lecturer of English (African Literature) at FUTO spoke against the backdrop of 65 years anniversary of Things Fall Apart, which was first published in 1958, by William Heinemann, London.

It is reported that an American judge in a racism trial in the United States recommended that the accused racist should as a part of his penance read Things Fall Apart.

Uwakwe, who is the author of ‘A Valediction to Achebe” said that if Things Fall Apart was recommended as compulsory reading text in secondary schools and universities, it would make the students to learn about the rich African history.

The don also said that it would also make students learn about the culture of the people and to learn how to be  good writers.

He, however,  said the reading culture had gone down among students, calling on relevant authorities to re-introduce the novel, noting that even English and Literature graduates were always looking for abridged texts to read.

“When the reading culture began to depreciate, people began to read more of the key points. People prefer to read the key points, and, in such a situation, they won’t have access to the full copy of Thing Fall Apart.

Uwakwe emphasised that reading Things Fall Apart could enhance writing skill of students, noting that when you read the novel, you discover that the characters have names that are symbolic.

“The narratives have proverbs as the work of Nigerian author, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, I discovered a particular proverb that was used in Things Fall Apart, but it was used in another way.

“The proverb is ‘when a mother-cow is chewing grass, its young ones watch its mouth’ used by Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart was also used by Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo in her book “The Last of the Strong Ones”,

“So, these patterns, these narrative patterns are things that those who must write will have to begin to learn, there is a pattern of writing that Achebe has instituted.

“One of the ways of learning how to tell stories is to watch who tell stories to learn how to tell it in your own way,’’ he said.

The don, however said that Chinua Achebe would never be forgotten for his contributions to Africa literature.

According to him, Association of Nigerian Authors celebrates a section of Achebe’s work annually and now it is difficult to study work of African literature without having a citation of Things Fall Apart or one of his other work.

Things Fall Apart, Achebe’s debut novel, and his two other classics, Arrow of God and No Longer at Ease, are called the “African Trilogy” in literature and considered requisite reading for anyone choosing African Literature as an area of specialisation.

Things Fall Apart chronicles life in the pre-colonial Igbo community, toward the damn of colonialism led to the British conquerors.

The story centred on a communal “strongman” named Okonkwo, whose gradual fall from grace within his tribal community pitted him against new ideas.

(NAN)

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