|Professor Kimble - Humanities III (680:023)||
“I would be quite satisfied if my novels (especially the ones I set in the past) did no more than teach my readers that their past - with all its imperfections - was not one long night of savagery from which the first Europeans acting on God’s behalf delivered them.”
-- Chinua Achebe, Morning Yet on Creation Day (1975).
This novel is set during a renewed phase of European imperialism called the “scramble for Africa” when Africa was partitioned by Europeans in late-19th century, after 400 years of exploration and earlier attempts at conquest. At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, European leaders agreed to partition the African continent into neatly bordered “spheres of influence” that ignored existing borders. In the 19th century, armed with guns, fortified by ships, driven by the industry of capitalist economies in search of cheap raw materials, and unified by a Christian and racist ideology against the African “heathen,” aggressive European colonial interests followed their earlier merchant and missionary inroads into Africa. Nigeria became independent in 1960.
• Okonkwo – wrestler, farmer, husband to 3 wives
• Unoka – Okonkwo’s father
• Ikemefuna – boy taken from a competing village
• Nwoye – Okonkwo’s son (converts to Christianity)
• Chielo - priestess of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves (note her power)
• Ekwefi – Okonkwo’s wife, Ezinma’s mother
• Ezinma - Okonkwo’s prized daughter
• Uzowulu – the Chief Priest, beats his wife
• Obierika – “man who thinks about things” and advises Okonkwo
• Mr. Brown – British missionary (tolerant of differences)
• Rev. James Smith – British missionary (intolerant)
Principle Places (fictional villages set in Nigeria)
• Umuofia – Okonkwo’s home village; “people of the forest” in Igbo.
• Abame – village massacred by whites (pp.138-141)
• Mbanta – village of Okonkwo’s exile
* Use the glossary at the end of the novel for translations of Igbo words and phrases *
Chinua Achebe (born 1930)
University of Northern Iowa
Maintained by Sara L. Kimble, Department of History, UNI.
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Last modified: March 05, 2007