How could the text be read and interpreted differently by two different readers? Things Fall Apart
Language and Literature
Things fall apart is a novel written by Chinua Achebe. It is set during the late 19th, early 20th century in a small village named Umuofia situated in Nigeria. This time period is important because it was a period in colonial history when the British were increasing their influence economic, cultural, and political influence in Africa. The novel deals with the rise and fall of Okonkwo, a man from the village of Umuofia. It also explains the effect of the appearance of the British on the Igbo society in terms of the destruction of social connections. In this text, there are several passages in which their interpretations could be different from each other and passages in which their interpretations could be rather similar by two different readers. The following paragraphs will focus on analyzing the possible interpretations of a Nigerian reader from the Igbo society and a British reader by using three passages of the novel.
The first citation is found in chapter 5. In this citation, Chinua Achebe talks about the way the Nigerian society respond when they’re called by their name, by saying «is that me? » (Achebe 41) because that was the way people answered calls from outside. Chinua adds that «they never answered yes for fear it might be an evil spirit calling» (Achebe 41). By reading this passage, a Nigerian person from the Igbo society would totally understand this behaviour. This person would even have some experiences of answering so, when called from outside. Regarding the British reader, he could interpret that this action is totally strange for him. For this individual, the proper way for answering when called would result in saying «yes, yes sir or yes ma’». Since British in that time of year were already Christians, they did not believe in evil spirit because they knew that only God is their protector and nothing bad could...
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