DOI: https://doi.org/10.31861/pytlit2018.97.134

Igbo Culture as Ethnic Source of Ch. Achebe’s Literary Works

Olesya Shtanyuk

Abstract


In the article the worldview of the Igbo people is analyzed. The most influential Nigerian writer Ch. Achebe belonged to Igbo ethnic group. Thus the author’s native culture became the source of creating images in his texts. As the author lived on the “crossroads of cultures” – the Western European and the African, he was influenced by Christian education and tribal African traditions. As the writer realized that the vast majority of Europeans were not familiar with the life of Igbo, in his works he tried to convey as much as possible the life and traditions of the tribe. Such detailed descriptions contribute to a better understanding of his texts. Though, at first glance, his works are overloaded with ethnographic material, all the realia are taken from the author’s everyday environment. Consequently, the Igbo culture dictionary should be recognized as a key factor in decoding Ch. Achebe’s texts.

Though Ch. Achebe believes that it is more appropriate to consider Igbo ethnos as a nation, it is stressed that on the pages of his novels Igbo appear as a tribe since only a certain clan or tribal community is portrayed. It is accented that in his texts Ch. Achebe conveys the outlook of his native ethnic group, his culture, which becomes the source of the stylistics of his novels. Therefore rituals, African dances, masks, sacrifices, various holidays and festivals that are an important traditional component of the religious culture of Igbo are reflected in Ch. Achebe’s works.

It is noted that polygamy is an essential feature of the Igbo society, and it is also reflected in Ch. Achebe’s novels. Ch. Achebe shows that a woman in the Igbo culture has double valency: on the one hand, this is a thing, on the other hand, the bearer of matriarchal power, the hidden force that helps a person to survive. This is especially vividly depicted in the novel “Things Fall Apart”, and it also acquires an important storyline in the novel “No longer at ease”.

Keywords


Ch. Achebe; Igbo; polygamy; gender; identity

References


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GOST Style Citations


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Ильина Н. Ю. „Женская” проза Нигерии / Н. Ю. Ильина // История романных форм в литературах Африки / сост. И. Д. Никифорова. – Москва : Вост. лит., 2010. – С. 572–587.

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Ebuziem C. E. Doing Ministry in the Igbo Context: Towards an Emerging Model and Method for the Church in Africa / Cajetan E. Ebuziem. – New York : Peter Lang, 2011. – 269 р.

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Isichei E. Igbo Worlds: An Anthology of Oral Histories and Historical Descriptions / Elizabeth Isichei. – Philadelphia : Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1978. – 355 р.

Kolawole M. E. M. Womanism and African Consciousness / Mary Ebun Modupe Kolawole. – London : Heinemann, 2006. – 207 p.

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