“The world is like a Mask, dancing.

If you want to see it well you

do not stand in one place.”

–Chinua Achebe

 

Chinua Achebe shares a moment with Nelson Mandela.

 

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic, was born on November 16, 1930. The author emerged on world literary scene with his very first novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ which was originally published in 1958. The Novel has three main themes. The first one is the conflict between evolution and tradition. And this creates a dilemma for the local whether to evolve with the changing times or to stich to their traditions. The second major theme in the book is the fluctuating view of masculinity. The third theme of the novel is that language represents cultural disparities.

All the themes discussed in the novel make it an important novel. It was one of the few successful attempts of the post colonial literary movement to reflect on the colonial legacy of the Western powers that left the local people, cultures, and traditions in a limbo. Though the novel as an African form was still very young, yet ‘Things Fall Apart’ represented a new approach, showing the collision of old and new ways of life to devastating effect.

Achebe through his works according to many redefined African literature. Many think of him as “the father of modern African writing”, a statement that Wole Soyinka, his long-time friend strongly disagree with.