By Chinwe Christiana Okechukwu
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Additional info for Achebe the Orator. The Art of Persuasion in Chinua Achebe's Novels
The basic knowledge of a people is contained in the knowledge of their language is merely elemental. But it is the prerequisite for the knowledge at a higher level, the knowledge of a people's worldview as contained in their culture. The result of the interference of the white man in the day-to-day activities of Umuofia in spite of his lack of knowledge of that society is that the people lose the ability to understand each other anymore. As Obierika succinctly puts it, in spite of this lack of elemental knowledge, the white man arrogates to himself the power to denigrate the Umuofia culture and even cause the converted Umuofia indigenes to join in denigrating the culture (162; ch.
The first interaction involves two equals who are also friends, Things Fall Apart 31 Okonkwo and Obierika. The second interaction involves Obierika, an unnamed group of villagers whom Okonkwo does not care to talk to, and Okonkwo himself. The third interaction, the most critical one, is between Okonkwo and the head messenger sent to disband the villagers. Sandwiched between the second and the third interactions is a catalytic, uncompleted piece of oratory that calls for war against the white man and his followers.
Roar" here brings up the image of a lion. This is an ironic metaphor because Umuofia, at this time, is anything but a lion. The new culture has robbed it of its ferociousness. Then Achebe uses repetition to sustain the phatic communication taking place here: "he bellowed again, and again, and again, facing a new direction each time" (202; ch. 24). The phatic communication is effective because Achebe tells the reader that "[t]here was immediate silence as though cold water had been poured on a roaring flame" (202).
Achebe the Orator. The Art of Persuasion in Chinua Achebe's Novels by Chinwe Christiana Okechukwu