Chinua Achebe: An Image Of Africa

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I am talking about a story in which the very humanity of black people is called in question.
Chinua Achebe, An Image of Africa The first thing is that the African novel has to be about Africa… But Africa is not only a geographical expression; it is also a metaphysical landscape—it is in fact a view of the world and of the whole cosmos perceived from a particular position.

Chinua Achebe, "Thoughts on the African
Novel"

This is how Chinua Achebe expressed his response towards two different narratives—first, Joseph Conrad's representation of Africans in his novel Heart of Darkness (1899) and second, African writers' role in representing their own people and land. Achebe said that after reading
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While Achebe admitted that Heart of Darkness did have its memorably good passages and moments, he was completely resolved in his criticism of the book. He found that the hundreds and hundreds of books that were churned out in Europe and other western countries gave a stereotyped image of Africa and Africans as if to establish it as the only way to write about the continent. He felt that canonical literary books routinely represented Africa in a biased way. According to him, in such a crucial point of time, when European desire to create "the tradition of an Africa inhabited by barely recognizable humanity have taken their toll" (Achebe, Home 47), African writers must take up the responsibility to represent Africa and counter European biased and stereotyped representations. He emphasized that only the Africans can describe their own continent in the best and most realistic manner. For him it was the only way to disprove the image of Africa created by European writers like Conrad. He asserted that the story of Africa could not be told by any outsider as "the victims of racist slander have always known better than any casual…show more content…
Here, Achebe's writing about African society was intended to challenge the misconception about Africa and Africans by telling the story from an insider’s point of view. Achebe's purpose was to prove that Conrad's was not the only way to see the Africans and that before the arrival of Europeans, Africans did have culture and social systems and, though unintelligible and so evil for the Europeans, Africans had their own sense and ways of defining the world around
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