Analyzes Achebe's use of rhetorical devices to advance the themes of his novels and delineate his characters.
Taken together, Chinua Achebe's five novels--Things Fall Apart (1958), No Longer at Ease (1960), A Man of the People (1966), Arrow of God (1967), and Anthills of the Savannah (1988)--encompass the entire social, historical, and political experiences of Nigeria, from precolonial times to the close of the 20th century. Central to these experiences is the clash of Igbo culture with the ways of the West. The novels show a society that has been fragmented and a people who are striving to reconstruct a world that they lost during their encounter with colonialism. Achebe has stated that his main purpose for writing is to reveal the truth about his people and their culture. This book examines his use of rhetoric to accomplish that objective.
Achebe's writings are fraught with rhetorical devices, and he has harnessed the power of oratory to show how his society has responded to the African colonial encounter and its aftermath. He uses oratory and rhetoric to both educate and persuade his readers and to delineate his characters. Because of the central role of language in his novels, his writings illustrate the nature of discourse among the Igbo as well as the larger Nigerian community. This volume presents a broad overview of rhetoric throughout Achebe's works and demonstrates how he uses the novel genre for persuasive purposes.
Introduction Chinua Achebe and the African Novel Audience and Oratory: Things Fall Apart Oratory and Social Responsibility: Arrow of God Locale and Argumentation: No Longer at Ease The Rhetoric of Governance: A Man of the People The Rhetoric of Military Intervention in Politics: Anthills of the Savannah Conclusion Bibliography Appendix I: Historical Trajectory Appendix II: Pertinent Rhetorical Theories Index
Endorsements Christina Okechukwu's book, ^IAchebe the Orator: The Art of Persuasion in Chinua Achebe's Novels^R, has shown once again that there is no end to the possibilities that the works of a great novelist like Chinua Achebe could open to a perceptive literary critic. Dr. Okechukwu has demonstrated convincingly that Achebe's eminence as a novelist comes as much out of his superb grasp of the art and practice of oratory as from the persuasive, down-to-earth language of his characters. Here is an excellent work that traverses a less frequented critical terrain and which immensely reinforces the ever growing body of Achebe scholarship.—Emmanuel Obiechina, Ph. D.^LLangston Hughes Professor of English, African and Africa-American Studies^LUniversity of Kansas
Although Chinua Achebe was one of the first African writers to incorporate elements of his traditional oral culture into his novels, literary critics have not always been able to make orality and oratory the focus of their study of Achebe's works, nor have they always recognized the extent to which the power of his novels depends on his mastery of rhetorical effects. Chinwe Okechukwu's book is the first one to make rhetoric in general and oratory in particular the code for understanding Achebe's major works. Professor Okechukwu has written a book that will force us to reconsider both the source and nature of Achebe's art and the breadth and depth of his imagination.—Simon Gikandi^LRobert Hayden Professor of English Language and Literature^LThe University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Chinwe Okechukwu in ^IAchebe the Orator^R carves a niche of herself through an exegesis of Chinua Achebe's fiction from the dimension of rhetoric. She painstakingly examines the prominent features of the multifaceted rhetoric which Achebe employs in the narration of the stories. The study draws on her personal knowledge as well as the significant socio-cultural and communally available knowledge of the African peoples in order to empahsize the rheori of oral rhythms, the rethoric of cultural connotations and the rheotric of political eruptions as well as the varigated levels of conflicts in the novels. The argument is refreshing, original and rewarding. This is a study that widens the intellectual responses to African Literature because it demonstrates the infinite possibilities of the scholarship on Chinua Achebe.—Ezenwa-Ohaeto^Lauthor of ^IChinua Achebe: A Biography^R
This study of Chinua Achebe's novels is markedly different in a very positive way--addressing the ramifications of the renowned author's use of rhetoric. Drawing exhaustively from forms of rhetoric from classical Greek to modern times and with deep knowledge of traditional Igbo African oratory. Christina Okechukwa has done a landmark study of Achebe's fictional works in a most enlightening scholarly way. Every serious student or scholar of African, comparative, postcolonial, and world literatures should be appreciative of Okechukwu's effort for bringing fresh insights into these works. ^IAchebe the Orator: The Art of Persuasion in Chinua Achebe's Novels^R raises Achebe Studies to an aesthtic height that validates the author as a consummate verbal artist of local and universal appeal.—Tanure Ojaide, Ph. D.^LProfessor of African-American and African Studies^LThe University of North Carolina at Charlotte