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I really liked how Ms. Stevenson brought up the idea of language in class. Why did Achebe choose to write in English rather than Igbo, the native language of the book?

After doing some research, I have a conclusion. The Igbo language is made up of various dialects–over 20 of them. So what happened was that some missionaries on an Angelical mission created a uniform dialect so that things could be written down and recorded. The problem was that this version that they created did not have feeling to it. According to Achebe, it cannot “sing.” Therefore, the English language was much more easier and suitable to write.

Of course, there is controversy over why Achebe would choose English to write with. People agree that Achebe modeled Things Fall Apart after European literature (like Heart of Darkness), but they disagree whether or not it confronts Western culture.

Achebe says that “English is something you spend your lifetime acquiring, so it would be foolish not to use it. Also, in the logic of colonization and decolonization it is actually a very powerful weapon in the fight to regain what was yours. English was the language of colonization itself. It is not simply something you use because you have it anyway.”

Pretty powerful stuff, huh.

-Ashley

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