Rhetorical Essay: Things Fall Apart
By Saad Malhi
The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe discusses the rise of an Igbo chieftain who came from great poverty to power and the eventual loss of Igbo traditions, rites, and the influence of his clan through his eyes due to western imperialism and colonialism. The intended audience for this novel is very broad, but if we tried to define it would primarily be people who have not experienced the Igbo culture and westerners or people who speak English. In this essay I will be focusing on the last six chapters: chapters 20 to 25. These chapters highlight the loss of power and customs of the Igbo people who have succumb to colonial rule. I fell Achebe is rhetorically effective and uses all three rhetorical skills (Ethos, Pathos and Logos) because he uses credibility of himself being an Igbo and the character of Okonkwo, as well as emotion by using through fictional characters as a medium, and Logic/facts by describing people’s decisions and the facts behind them.
I consider Chinua Achebe to be credible because he himself is an Igbo and lived through the colonial transformation of the Igbo people from being proud, polytheistic tribe to a people bowed down to the Europeans and had lost their pride. Achebe constantly uses Igbo proverbs to create an aura of credibility in the book. For example, Achebe uses some traditional Igbo phrases such as Egwugwu which means spirits, Chi which means a personal god or Agbala which means a man with no title. Achebe also demonstrates his knowledge of Igbo culture, religion, and tradition throughout the book, an example of this is:
“But when his servants fail to help us, then we go to the last source of hope. We appear to pay greater attention to the little gods but that is not so…. Our fathers knew that Chukwu was the Overlord and that is why many of them gave their children the name Chukwuka” (Achebe 64)
This quote shows Annuka having a conversation with Mr. Smith, who is