In his book Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe attempts to set the world upright for Africans in many ways. To begin with, he uses Okonkwo, the protagonist, to show that change is inevitable. This is because; Okonkwo is wealthy, very hardworking and respected in the village unlike his late father who was lazy and disrespected. He wants to prove to the villagers that he is totally different from his father. Therefore, Achebe shows that Africans have embraced change by not accepting the western people to rule over them. Secondly, after a white man destroys Abame village, the villagers kill him and tie his bicycle to a tree. Thirdly, Okonkwo kills a white man leader using a machete and later kills himself because the other clan members are not ready for war with the whites.
The primary audience of the novel was his own Nigerian people because in his goal, he stated that the main aim of the novel was to assist his society to “regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of the years of denigration and self-abasement” (Chinua 4). Besides, he wanted the western audience to understand that Africa is complex and dynamic because western people believed that Africans have primitive minds and are backward.
Chinua Achebe gave an unbiased view of Ibo culture before the Europeans arrived. He says that; “before the colonial powers of the Europeans entered Africa, the Ibo community had a great culture that was full of beauty and value” (Chinua 65). Besides, the culture had a great depth and contained poetry as well as dignity. The culture is also a major foundation of what many people look for in the contemporary world. Igbo culture incorporates things such as democratic institutions, principles on gender equality, respect of other cultures, morality and justice systems that are very effective. “A man’s life from birth to death was a series of transition rites which brought him closer to his ancestors” (Chinua 111). Achebe brings out the peculiarities of the Ibo culture to show that it is unique. Furthermore, Achebe shows that the culture was beautiful especially due to the art techniques and institutions that were present. He says, “village life based on a land of equality..Ibo people chose the small village entity that was completely self governing, because they wanted to be in control of their lives” (Chinua 264). He basically wants to mean that the culture was destroyed by the European powers, which were very influential. After the Europeans entered the country, all clans were thrown into confusion. “The white man has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart” (Chinua 417). The white man does not understand their culture and aims at destroying it.
July’s People is a novel by Nadine Gordimer from South Africa, which was set during the apartheid. It is an imagination of what would happen if the black South Africans rebelled against the whites who ruled over their country. Gordimer wrote about a white family, the Smales, who flees to their servant’s home, July, due to riots and chaos. The book shows how power works between people of different classes and what happens when the balance shifts to an unexpected direction. Gordimer wrote this story during that time because the whites had already occupied South Africa and there were ensuing uprisings, which arose due to the differences between the whites and the black South Africans. The story does not provide any solutions to the problems but it foresees an inevitable overthrow of the apartheid system. Gordimer also anticipated independence in South Africa especially when all the neighboring countries were declared independent. Gordimer imagined what would happen to the whites incase they were defeated by the black South Africans; this triggered his interest in writing the story. The story depicts that the whites were liberal unlike the blacks. Therefore, politics favored the whites, who had the freedom to do anything because they also held the government.
The policy of apartheid shaped gender relationships in the white as well as the black community. It made the whites liberal and more divided from the blacks. While in July’s hut; for instance, Maureen confuses him with a hotel servant. This shows that the whites lived a better life than the blacks, who were their servants. “Maureen remembers her childhood days and recalls walking home from school with her family’s black servant, Lydia” (Nadine 257).Besides, July serves the white couple with milk thus depicting that they are special. Moreover, apartheid system caused differences between the whites and the blacks because after Maureen is introduced to July’s wife, “the two women do not have a common language, but Maureen tries to convey appreciation for their protection through July” (Nadine 314). Additionally, Bam, Maureen’s husband, “unsuccessfully tries to socialize with the villagers” (Nadine 360). In addition to that, white men valued their wives so much since they believed that women are made of pleasure, “the vehicle was bought for pleasurethey stood round it indulgently, wife and children” (Nadine 6).
Furthermore, apartheid system helped the black to establish their relationships. July’s relationship with his wife; for instance, is not affected by the Smales visit. It is apparent that, July’s work is to get money for the family while the wife stays at home to raise kids. July used to go home twice in a year because he had to serve the whites. Besides, he has the role of making major decisions in the family and that is the reason why the wife could not question him on the visitors, “his wife had accepted his dictum” (Nadine 18). Additionally, black men were more powerful than women since July has his own hut, which “was apparently something he kept for himself, apart from women” (Nadine 66) The apartheid system basically caused a big gap between the blacks and the whites, which led to the oppression of the blacks by the whites.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1994. Print
Gordimer, Nadine. July’s People. Johannesburg: 1982. Print