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Wednesday, April 26 • 9:40am - 10:00am
Demanding And Unavoidable: Empathy In Chinua Achebe’s First Two Novels

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Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) and No Longer at Ease (1960) serve as before and after comparisons of 20th century British colonization efforts in Nigeria. Things Fall Apart displays the events surrounding the very first European contact in Nigeria. No Longer at Ease provides the outcomes of the first contact and reveals the effects of the takeover. These two novels feature four generations of men: Unoka, Okonkwo, Isaac/Nwoye, and Obi and allow an observation of precisely how one spotlighted family is affected by colonization. I argue that these works provide readers with a more personal example of strife caused by colonization, thus allowing them to relate to and care about these men—therefore experiencing emotional discomfort on behalf of and empathy for the colonized. It is Achebe’s agenda and authorial intent that I intend to identify with scholarly critiques of his work and his own reflections. Achebe forces readers to observe the drastic and fluid changes brought on by imperialistic triumph and see that the colonizers did not create a wave of oppression then leave it behind; they kept the waves coming. Furthermore, readers are witness to four men of the same patrilineage and observe how they change—or don’t change—with the colonization and forced progression of their society. My thesis illuminates and analyzes Achebe’s effort to accurately and fairly represent the plight of the colonized and provide a voice for the voiceless.


Wednesday April 26, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am
232 Karpen Hall

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