Sunteți pe pagina 1din 9

WHITE MEN’S HEGEMONY IN THE IGBO TRIBE IN CHINUA

ACHEBE’S THINGS FALL APART

A. Background of the Study

Word set apart in some way from ordinary everyday communication. In the

ancient oral traditions, before stories and poems were written down, literature had a

mainly public function-mythic and religious. As literary works came to be preserved

in writing and eventually, printed, their role become more private, serving as a

vehicle for the exploration and expression of emotion and the human situation.

(http://literary work - Hutchinson encyclopedia article about literary work.htm)

So, literatures become one of forms of expression of life and it can never be separated

from human life. Nowadays, literature is also useful for our life. Besides the functions

as entertainment, literature also has functions as education. As the entertainment, the

author tries to present literature as beautifully as possible so that the reader can feels

enjoy to read it. Whereas, as education, literature gives a lesson about life because

literature is the expression of human’s problem.

There are three main genres in literary work. Those are prose, poetry and

drama. They are all very interesting to read. However, the work that will be taken in

this thesis is prose, especially novel, because it is unlike drama and poetry. Prose

includes the character’s actions, conversation, thoughts and feelings. It makes the

reader may put themselves in the story and experience the events in the novel as if the

reader were in the same situation. By reading a novel, the readers can grab and catch
the ideas and messages that the author wants to tell. Moreover the reader can

recognize the history and the culture of the society at the certain time. As Smith has

been said that, “all literature might be said to be shaped as it is by the social and

political circumstances under which it is produced” (Smith, 1993: ix). For the reason

above, the writer decides to discuss a novel, especially African novel

African literature is literary works of the African continent. African literature

consists of a body of work in different languages and various genres, ranging from

oral literature to literature written in colonial languages. As George Joseph notes on

the first page of his chapter on African literature in Understanding Contemporary

Africa, while the European perception of literature generally refers to written letters,

the African concept includes oral literature. As George Joseph continues, while

European views of literature often stressed a separation of art and content, African

awareness is inclusive: "Literature" can also imply an artistic use of words for the

sake of art alone. Without denying the important role of aesthetics in Africa, we

should keep in mind that, traditionally, Africans do not radically separate art from

teaching. Rather than write or sing for beauty in itself, African writers, taking their

cue from oral literature, use beauty to help communicate important truths and

information to society. Indeed, an object is considered beautiful because of the truths

it reveals and the communities it helps to build.

(George, Joseph, "African Literature" chptr. 12 of Understanding Contemporary Africa p.

304)

Since the early 19th century, writers from western Africa have used

newspapers to air their views. Several founded newspapers that served as vehicles for
expressing nascent nationalist feelings. And After World War II, as Africans began

demanding their independence, more African writers were published. Such writers as,

in western Africa, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, , Ousmane Sembene, Kofi

Awooner, Agostinho Neto, Tchicaya u tam'si, Camera Laye, Mongo Beti, Ben Okri,

and Ferdinand Oyono and, in eastern Africa, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Okot p'Bitek, and

Jacques Rabémananjara produced poetry, short stories, novels, essays, and plays. All

were writing in European languages, and often they shared the same themes: the clash

between indigenous and colonial cultures, condemnation of European subjugation,

pride in the African past, and hope for the continent's independent future.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_literature)

One of the famous African writers is Chinua Achebe. He is one of the most

important living African writers and also considered one of the most original literary

artists currently writing in English. Achebe was born on 16th November, 1930. He

was raised by Christian evangelical parents in the large village Ogidi, in Igboland,

Nigeria. He received early education in English, but grew up surrounded by the

complex fusion of Igbo tradition and the colonial legacy. Starting in the 1950’s,

Achebe was central to a new Nigerian literary movement that drew on the oral

traditions of Nigeria’s indigenous tribes. Although Achebe writes in English, he

attempts to incorporate Igbo vocabulary and narratives. Achebe has been active in

Nigerian politics since the 1960s. Many of his novels deal with the social and

political problems facing his country, including the difficulty of the post-colonial

legacy. Moreover Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect

of Christian influences, and the clash of values during and after the colonial era. A lot
of literary works that has been written by Achebe. Such as novels, short stories,

poetry, and also essay, criticism and political commentary. Some of novel that has

been written is Things Fall Apart (1958), No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God

(1964), A man of the People (1966), Anthills of the Savannah (1987)

(http://www.gradesaver.com/author/chinua-achebe/)

One of the best-known books of Chinua Achebe is Things Fall Apart. It is the

first novel that he has been wrote. It has been translated into at least forty-five

languages and has sold eight million copies worldwide. According to Alan Hill,

employed by the publisher at the time,

“the company did not "touch a word of it" in preparation for release.” (1997:65).

The book was received well by the British press, and received positive reviews from

critic Walter Allen and novelist Angus Wilson. Three days after publication, the

Times Literary Supplement wrote that the book,

"genuinely succeeds in presenting tribal life from the inside". The Observer called it
"an excellent novel", and the literary magazine Time and Tide said that "Mr. Achebe's
style is a model for aspirants". (1997:65-66).

From the quotation above, we know that Things Fall Apart is really the most favorite

and famous novel in that time. The book tells about Okonkwo struggles with the

legacy of his father-a shiftless debtor fond of playing flute-as well as the

complications and contradictions that arise when white missionaries arrive in his

village of Umofia. Exploring the terrain of culture conflict, particularly the encounter
between Igbo tradition and Christian doctrine, Achebe returns to the theme of his

earlier stories, which grew from his own background.

A prevalent theme in Achebe's novels is the intersection of African tradition

(particularly Igbo varieties) and modernity, especially as embodied by European

colonialism. The village of Umuofia in Things Fall Apart, for example, is violently

shaken with internal divisions when the white Christian missionaries arrive. Nigerian

English professor Ernest N. Emenyonu describes the colonial experience in the novel

as "the systematic emasculation of the entire culture". Achebe later embodied this

tension between African tradition and Western influence in the figure of Sam Okoli,

the president of Kangan in Anthills of the Savannah. Distanced from the myths and

tales of the community by his Westernised education, he does not have the capacity

for reconnection shown by the character Beatrice. The colonial impact on the Igbo in

Achebe's novels is often affected by individuals from Europe, but institutions and

urban offices frequently serve a similar purpose. The character of Obi in No Longer

at Ease succumbs to colonial-era corruption in the city; the temptations of his

position overwhelm his identity and fortitude. The courts and the position of District

Commissioner in Things Fall Apart likewise clash with the traditions of the Igbo, and

remove their ability to participate in structures of decision-making. Likewise A man

of the People, has symbolic of the post-colonialism crisis in Nigeria and elsewhere.

Even with the emphasis on colonialism, however, Achebe’s tragic ending embody the

traditional confluence of fate, individual and society.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinua_Achebe)
From all those Chinua Achebe’s great works, the writer choose Things Fall

Apart to be the main data of her thesis because it describe a culture verge of change

which is happen in human reality life in the recent time. How the prospect and reality

of change affect various character. The tension about whether change should be

privileged over traditional often involves questions of personal status.

Colonialism of culture is very clearly seen as the central point in this story. It

happened in Igbo tribe when white men came to their village. Here the white men

want to change the culture of Igbo to be the Christian. Step by step the white men

influence in order to be Christian. The process to change the culture can called

Hegemony. Hegemony means the preponderance of power and the construction of

consent by the powerless through cultural values. Hegemony, as the acquiescence of

people to rule by a state, was first developed in Gramsci's sociology of the operation

of capitalist society. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegemony) The dominant culture

maintains its dominant position. This hegemony perceived by all the character in this

novel, especially okonkwo, the main character. He is the one of characters that

against the existence of white men’s hegemony.

Actually hegemony is also happen in human life, but we never aware about it.

The dominant class is always dominating the lower class. They will try to influence

the lower class to lead them. That is why, the writer decides to choose Hegemony

through the novel Things Fall Apart as the topic in this thesis because it will become

a new topic to be discussed. Then the writer will explore more about this topic within

Things Fall Apart as the main source of data analysis.


B. Statement of the Problem

From the background of the study above, the writer has been decided three

main problems as follows:

1. How the ways white men’s hegemony in the Igbo tribe?

2. What the impact of white men’s hegemony in the Igbo tribe?

C. Purpose of the Study

The purposes of the study are:

1. To depict white men’s hegemony in the Igbo tribe

2. To reveal the causes and effects from white men’s hegemony

D. Significance of the Study

By analyzing Things Fall Apart, this study can help readers to understand more

deep about what the mean of hegemony is, especially by reading this novel. The

readers can also understand how all of the characters, especially Okonkwo character

faces the white men’s hegemony. Then the reader can look at this study for two

advantages. First, is to make such contemplation about how the hegemony can

develop in a society. Second is to get a better concept of the hegemony. So that, the

reader can takes a better perspective on hegemony process.


E. Limitation of the Study

This study is limited on the discussion of hegemony in the characters of things

fall apart. The writer limits her discussion on white men character and Okonkwo

character as the main character in things fall apart. The white men commit hegemony

in Igbo tribe and Okonkwo against that action of white men.

The discussion based on her reports and comment on the events, environment,

and the dialogues between the character, their opinions and actions.

F. Research Methodology

The writer uses library research as a main approach. Furthermore, two source

data are:

a. Data

Main Data

The novel of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is collected as the

main data in compiling the analysis.

Additional Data

Additional data are some related books, cited works in Chinua Achebe’s

Things Fall Apart in journals, and other sources which are taken from

website to support the whole analysis.

b. Analysis Data

G. Review of Related Literature