The three essays written by Chinua Achebe, The Novelist as a Teacher 1965, Where Angels Fear to Tread 1962, The Role of a Writer in a New Nation 1964, were written to discuss and illuminate how African writers and their works are perceived and related to in Europe, America and Africa itself.
If read chronologically you begin with Where Angels Fear to Tread , presumably referring to the critics like the, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Europeans who think they have special knowledge of AfricaÃ¢â‚¬Â. When in fact they know very little about its past or present. Achebe says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“he would not dream of constructing theories to explain Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe European mindÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ with the same Ã¢â‚¬Ëœbold faceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ that some Europeans assume in explaining [his]Ã¢â‚¬Â.
He goes on to describe the different types of critics he and other African writers encounter frequently. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The peevishly hostileÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Angry withÃ¢â‚¬Â¦colonial freedom andÃ¢â‚¬Â¦gross ingratitude for colonial benefitsÃ¢â‚¬Â. Then there are those who are influenced by the common stereotype that African peoples are uneducated and can hardly believe they can write, let alone know English. Still implying that Africa is a relatively primitive place. Achebe does point out the flaws of African writers themselves that very well may indulge such critics. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do worse than the authorÃ¢â‚¬Â¦who invented an Ibo hero with a Yoruba nameÃ¢â‚¬Â. While Achebe does have a serious message he manages to keep an overall light tone, addressing the inadequacies of foreign critics and the inadequacies of African writers themselves.
Achebe then turns his attention to Africa itself in ,The Role of a Writer in a New Nation . Where it seems in a newly freed nation there is much disconnect from historical culture and the influences it has on modern Africa. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We can not pretend that our past was long Technicolor idyll. We have to admit thatÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ours had its good as well as its bad...
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