Thursday, February 27, 2014

Achebe on Things Fall Apart

This is an interview Achebe did with PBS in May 2008. Once you get to about the 3:10 mark, Achebe explains why he didn't paint a completely idealized version of Ibo culture and why Okonkwo is so flawed in Things Fall Apart. He says "I knew that I wanted the story to be true in the way fiction can be true." I think the fact that Achebe showed Ibo culture as flawed, in a way establishes his credibility. Meaning, we, as readers, can be more confident in knowing that Achebe is painting us an accurate picture of Ibo culture.  

1 comment:

Kincy GIbson said...

I really enjoyed Things Fall Apart and I think part of the reason is that Achebe was a credible narrator. Even though Okonkwo was flawed, his character was always accurately portrayed. Unlike with narrators of Oskar and the underground man, the reader isn't constantly wondering what the reality of the setting is. From my point of view, a reliable narrator gives a fuller story. I understand why Okonkwo acts the why he does because the narrator paints an accurate picture of Okonkwo's personality and goals. Unlike Okonkwo, the underground man doesn't have an accurate perception of himself, always causing the reader to question what is the book's reality.