The Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe is a prominent figure in modern African literature, whose literary works can be considered an early attempt to move towards decolonization. Achebe’s novels stand out for the way he employs the concepts of ‘Otherness’ and ‘hybridity’ in constructing an alternative, non-Eurocentric discourse. Through his writing, Achebe provides a unique perspective that depicts an authentic picture of native African life in all its complexity and develops dynamic native characters who grapple with existential conflicts and reflect on the impact of colonization on their pre-colonial African identity.
This alternative discourse is constructed through a study of four of Achebe’s novels: Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, and A Man of the People. Each novel focuses on a different colonial or postcolonial phase in Nigeria, and Achebe employs different discursive strategies in each of them. By characterizing these novels as a tetralogy and studying them together, one can gain a vivid and comprehensive analysis of Achebe’s discourse. This also reveals what his novels seek to mirror about the hybridity of Nigerian identity and the struggles faced by the colonized in contending with ‘otherness’ and difference.
Achebe’s literary works are characterized by a focus on African culture and history, as well as the political and social conditions in Nigeria. He presents a rich portrayal of African customs and traditions and highlights the importance of native values, as well as the need for cultural preservation in the face of colonialism. Achebe’s novels are notable for their complex characters, who represent a range of viewpoints and experiences. They reflect on the challenges faced by African people in negotiating their identities in a post-colonial world, as well as the impact of colonialism on their way of life.
Achebe’s works provide a powerful critique of colonialism and offer a unique perspective on the impact of European colonialism on African societies. His novels highlight the importance of recognizing and valuing the cultural diversity of the African continent and promote the idea that African voices must be heard in the development of the continent’s future.