Complete the following questions by using the links provided. We will discuss these topics prior to reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. You will later be asked to use some of your research notes in a final paper on the novel. For that reason, you will also want to note where you find your answers, because you will need to parenthetically cite your sources as well as complete an MLA Works Cited page.
Colonization and Post-Colonization of Africa (or specifically Nigeria)
The Story of Africa (BBC)
Africana Age (NYPL)
World History in Context : Scramble for Africa
World History in Context : Colonialism in Africa
World History in Context : Western Education and Missionaries
World History in Context : Globalization
Nigeria's Current Troubles (Globalist)
Culture and Belief System of the Igbo
The Igbo Guide
World History in Context : Igbo People
ABC-CLIO : Igbo
World History in Context : Ancient History of the Igbo
World History in Context : Religion of the Igo
World History in Context : Dieties of the Igbo Religion
Achebe and Writing about Africa
ABC-CLIO Biography of Chinua Achebe
Interview with Achebe (The Atlantic)
World History in Context : Decolonization through writing
World History in Context : Implementing Afrocentricity
Long and Ugly Tradition of Treating Africa... (Washington Post)
Synthesis Postcolonial Unit Paper Topics
You must use the research, Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness in your paper. Parenthetical documentation and a full MLA work cited page is required (5 sources minimum). Your paper should be a minimum of five pages in length and properly formatted as a research paper (typed).
1. The power of religion or any ideology can both guide a society and destroy it. Discuss the ways in which Christianity and/or another ideology, as promoted by the missionaries, does both. Include information about the religious beliefs associated with the Ibo people as well as examples from the novels to support your thesis assertion.
2. Comment on how Achebe and Conrad, through their novels, counter and/or reinforce the Imperialist stereotypes of Africa as an uncivilized continent. Be sure to consider point of view and purpose in your discussion. Use information from your pre-reading research as well as from the novels to support your thesis assertion.
3. Achebe does a great deal of "showing" instead of telling in his novel about Africa and the Ibo culture. What does he show about the culture, its history and beliefs, and how does Achebe capture the cultural fabric of this people through literary elements (you may explore narrative structure, sound devices, figurative language, point of view, voice, and narrative shifts among other things)? Use information from both your pre-reading research and the text itself. How would you describe Conrad’s writing style comparatively? What role does writing style play in the meaning or purpose of the texts as a whole?
4. Both Achebe and Conrad are said to be critics of the “Scramble for Africa,” however, they use their literary voices in much different ways. Argue which author makes a more powerful case against colonization and why. You must consider their writing style and their artistic choices in your argument about their successes and failings.
5. We have been reading Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness through a postcolonial lens. For this option you may turn to a different lens (critical approach) of your choice. Conduct a reading of both novels through your chosen lens. For example, what do these novels have to say about gender? What do they have to say about ideology and power? What can they show us about the psychological state or damage done to the characters? Or, do you think these authors are playing with archetypes and allusions to demonstrate a point? Let your lens take you to a new and interesting reading of these novels. Be sure to draw on the research you conducted prior to reading them as well.