Impact of the European Culture in Africa Term Paper

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European culture in Africa

Published in 1958, the book Things Fall Apart is an influential piece of work by Achebe that portrays, in most conventional style, the life and culture in a very traditional village in Africa. This book is about restoration of traditional values and identification of identity of African people in the wake of European cultural dominance and acceptance. This report is about how the writer has projected upon the life and revived the African culture as against the treat of European cultural imperialism.

In this novel the writer tries to enlighten the foreign world as regards to the cultural traditions of Ibo and in doing so the writer is also reminding the African people of their own traditions and cultural values. The writer is of the notion that the African people must not forget their old values, customs and cultural norms in this changing verve of the moment and that they should value their own culture more than the western (European) culture. This book came at the time when most of the eastern cultural values were under the influence of the western values, and by writing this novel, the writer intended to draw a line between the western culture and the African culture by stating and asserting that that African nation should not forget their roots and identity. The novel projects that in those time the culture of Africa was considered to be more of a "primitive" type and the place was regarded as consisted of vast "darkness" rather than a place where there was home of many rich cultures (Achebe, 1994). Instead, the region was much stereotyped and thought worthless in the eyes of its European invaders and soon this image captured of many a mind of young Africans, and to defy this worthlessness of cultural values he takes upon to write the novel so as to "help [his] society regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of years of denigration and self-abasement." (Achebe, 1994)

Achebe writes that whatever written about Africa was from the pen of Europeans who considered Africans to be funny, illiterate and backward people. Instead, through this book, the writer portrayed a very unique but real Africa, which has many cultural roots and values, those are not just preset but are also valuable. In the first chapter, for instance, the use of Umuofia, Mbaino, Okonkwo and Kola, that all has significance on their own levels, just like the narration: "proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten." Then in chapter two, the writer discusses many aspects of a village life, like the influence of night in the lives of people of village, the religious beliefs of many people in the village, and the role of women, etc. hence, in the whole book, there is a complete dictionary of the speech and life in a village in Africa.

Nevertheless, the aims of this novel cannot be accomplished by an uncomplicated revisit to the age of pre-colonial Africa. Achebe is of the opinion that the society and civilization in Africa was under the colonist cultural impression and so to educate the outer world he writes in English and makes his prose more like in a style conversant with the western style of writing. There were many African writers at that time too who wrote against such cultural imperialism, but it was only Achebe who adapted to English language for a greater and wider impact of his thoughts and beliefs, and fully asserts his intentions by saying that in order to…

Sources Used in Document:


Achebe, Chinua. (1958) Things Fall Apart, Heinemarm, 1994 ed.,

McKay, John P., Hill and Buckler (2003) A History of Western Society (Volume 2). 7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

Impact of the European culture in Africa

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