《瓦解》和《再也不得安宁》中阿契贝的多元文化观英语探讨

日期:2020-05-08 作者: 硕博论文网 编辑:vicky 点击次数:67
论文价格:0 论文编号: sb2020050610274030865 论文字数:0 所属栏目:英语论文
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本文是一篇英语论文,没有人能否认艾奇比对非洲文学的贡献。学者们赞扬他开创了非洲现代小说的先河,也为作家寻求新的故事形式提供了启发。一切都分崩离析,不再安逸,这说明了作者在
本文是一篇英语论文,没有人能否认艾奇比对非洲文学的贡献。学者们赞扬他开创了非洲现代小说的先河,也为作家寻求新的故事形式提供了启发。一切都分崩离析,不再安逸,这说明了作者在提供非洲文化的新版本方面所取得的成就,非洲文化长期以来一直受到帝国主义文学作品的折磨。尽管阿切比被认为是非洲文化的民族主义捍卫者,但他在小说中所反映的文化观点并不仅仅强调反殖民主义。阿切贝指责西方人以欧洲为中心的观点导致非洲的形象受损,这是显而易见的。西方文化的入侵是通过摧毁非洲的信仰体系和社会机构的权威,在土著社区中进行霸权的。此外,白人的入侵还表现为东方话语对土著人人性的否定。阿切贝在二元对立中批判了殖民者对非洲和非洲人民的东方主义意识形态,揭示了殖民者对非洲文化的他者化意图,为非洲文化的殖民创造了借口。

Chapter One Achebe’s Accusation of Colonizers’ Eurocentric Views  

1.1 Hegemony in Indigenous Community
Since  the  continent’s  tragic  encounters  with  European,  Africa  has  been  measured according to the European masters’ reference from humanity to history, civilization to culture and Africa is found continuously as the western opposite (Zeleza, 2014: 123). Said points out that “It is hegemony, or rather the result of cultural hegemony at work, that gives Orientalism the durability and the strength” (2003: 7). Achebe reveals in the novels that western hegemonic application in the Ibo community with the dispensation of Christianity consolidated with the disintegration of the authority in local administrative and juridical institutions. 
In Things Fall Apart, cultural clash takes place in the domain of religion. Achebe illustrates the tension between the Ibo religion and the Christian religion. Ibo society is depicted as an agricultural community featured with beliefs in different gods and goddesses of Nature. The polytheistic  attribute  of  the  Igbo  religion  is  the  source  of  disparagement  of  the  Christian intruders.  It  is  worth  noting  that  the  religious  confrontation  is  always  provoked  by disaffirmation from the European side to the indigenous side.
Such disaffirmation is illustrated in a debate in Mbanta over the issue of whether there is only one God proposed by white men or several gods worshipped by Ibos. A new coming British missionary proclaims that his God is the only god, the only creator of all the world and all the men and women and thus he confirms that Igbo gods of wood and stone “are not alive” and “are a piece of wood and stone” (Achebe, 2001: 107). Without knowledge and understanding about a dissimilar religion, it is not neutral to rank the European and Igbo religion, for no one is  qualified  and  capable  of  claiming  universal  criteria  of  evaluation  of  cultures.  Achebe criticizes  the  white  missionary  for  his  narrow-minded  and  self-righteous  attitude.  Then Achebe’s accusation of European arrogance is more palpable as the author ironically displays the missionary’s self-identification as hero to help the Igbos get rid of their initially fake belief: “[I have] been sent by this great God to ask you to leave your wicked ways and false gods and turn to Him so that you may be saved when you die” (106). A Christian missionary is a “modern Orientalist”, who regards himself as a hero “rescuing the Orient from the obscurity, alienation, and strangeness which he himself had properly distinguished” (Said, 2003: 121).  
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1.2 Denial of Indigenous People’s Humanity
Achebe  continues  to  unravel  the  orientalist  logic  hidden  behind  the  behaviors  of colonizers. With a mindset of the binary opposition of White/Black, British colonizers stand for the superior position of Occident, leading to Ibos’  inferior position of Orient. This uneven power-relationship generates the denial of indigenous people who are otherized with “one great absence of the Human Mind and Spirit” (Achebe, 2009: 128).
Achebe  is  a pioneering  intellectual who rethink  the relation between colonialism and colonial discourse in literary and ethnographic writings. The critical essay entitled “An Image of Africa” is Achebe’s salient revolt against the Eurocentric discourse. In this essay, Achebe revolutionizes  European  hegemonic  discourse  through  analyzing  how  Joseph  Conard tarnished  the  image  of  Africa  and  African  people  with  a  description  of  inferiority  and inhumanity. In fact, Achebe’s intention of “[violating] the protocol of pretended suprapolitical objectivity” (Said, 2003: 10) exists since the beginning of his writing career. Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease embody his subversion against orientalist denial of indigenous people’s humanity.  
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Chapter Two  Achebe’s Objection to Monocultural Choices of the Indigenous

2.1 Defense of Indigenous Culture
Frantz Fanon once  in  Black Skin, White mask  assumes that:  “Negro, as we have said, creates anti-racist racism for himself. In no sense does he wish to rule the world: He seeks the abolition of all ethnic privileges, wherever they come from” (2008: 132). Anti-racist racism may be a proper term to describe the response and reaction of Okonkwo who fiercely fights against the western culture’s invasion.
Okonkwo’s  determination  in  resistance  to  the  white  culture  is  embodied  by  his condemnation of Nwoye’s Christian conversion. Okonkwo regards Nwoye’s conversion as a behavior of betrayal of one’s own gods and ancestors. He accuses such behavior is of “very depth of abomination” and “the prospect of annihilation” (Achebe, 2001: 112). He will never let such a thing happen again in his family and will wipe the converts off.  
A second illustration to show Okonkwo’s radical resistance is his defiance to elders’ mild defense to Christian intruders. The killing of the sacred python by a zealous native Christian in Mbanta alerts the conflict between the village and the church. Okonkwo criticizes the decision of passive ignorance and inaction made by the rulers and elders of Mbanta with words such as “coward”  and  “womanly  decision”  (117-8).  Okonkwo’s  objection  to  elders’  mild  decision reveals that he is a militant defender who believes that violence can settle the conflict and suggests taking a hardline stance to strike back the rival cultural camp as a “man does” (178).
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2.2 Betrayal of Indigenous Culture
Although African natives should not live merely  within  indigenous culture, it does not mean that they are supposed to separate themselves from their cultural legacy and turn into the arms of foreign civilization with their back against indigenous culture. Achebe depicts some native  people  who  separate  from  their  own  culture  during  cultural  change.  The  cultural hegemony fully influences these people, and the motives of inclination to the foreign culture are different from historical period to social classes in two novels. In Things Fall Apart, Achebe illustrates that conversion mainly happens with the marginalized people of Ibo society on the pre-colonial stage, while in No Longer at Ease, it is the educated elite who suffers the most from the unhomeliness which pushes them away from indigenous culture.  
Achebe suggests that the dispensation of the Christian religion actively changes the life of the native. At the early stage of the colonization, the native from the subaltern class in traditional Ibo society is among the first converts of evangelicalism: “[the] first converts were poor and untitled men: they were mostly the kind of people that were called efulefu, worthless, empty men” (Achebe, 2001: 105). People who are suffering from a marginal position in Umuofia are attracted  by  the  universal  brotherhood  and  equality  proposed  by  missionary  dispensation. Mothers with twin babies can find a refuge in church. Osu taking off their “the mark of [their] forbidden caste” (2001: 115), become ordinary people. Nwoye finds a solution in the gospel to answer his confusion of “logic of the Trinity” (2001: 108). These people discriminated in their born cultural systems find a new shelter with the Christian culture, as the missionary announces that before God, “there is no slave or free” and that “we are all children of God” (2001: 116).
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Chapter  Three  Achebe’s  Proposal  for  Multicultural  Views  on  Encounters Between Cultures ....................... 30
3.1 Reinvention of African Image .................................... 31
3.2 Hybridity of Different Cultures .............................. 36

Chapter Three  Achebe’s Proposal for Multicultural Views on Encounters Between Cultures

3.1 Reinvention of African Image
For centuries, the European colonizing power has devalued the indigenous past, seeing its pre-colonial era as a pre-civilized limbo or even as a historical void. Achebe argues that the first step for colonized and ex-colonized people in finding a voice and identity is to reclaim their past. Achebe points out the invisible and oppressive impact left by western cultural hegemony over African culture. Such cultural hegemony is reflected by the stereotypical image of Africa with  a  primitive  and  barbaric  feature.  One  of  the  negative  consequences  is  that  such “indoctrination” generates African’s internalization of inferior complex toward their cultural legacy. Such a phenomenon is illustrated with the cases of Obi, court messengers and other converts who turn their back to indigenous culture in the novels. With a clear awareness of such an  embarrassing  situation,  Achebe  appeals  for  the  restoration  of  African  culture  for  the rectification  of  injustice  of  the  African  image.  Achebe  once  mentioned  the  urgency  for appealing African people’s confidence in their own culture:  
This theme-put quite simply is that African people did not hear of culture for the  first  time  from  Europeans;  that  their  societies  were  not  mindless  but frequently had a philosophy of great depth and value and beauty, that they had dignity.  It  is  this  dignity  that  many African  people  all  but  lost  during  the colonial period, and it is this that they must now regain. (1964: 158)
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Conclusion
No  one  can  deny  Achebe’s  contribution  to  African  literature.  Scholars  honor  his inauguration of modern African novel and his  illumination for writers to seek new forms of storytelling. Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease illustrate the author’s achievements in providing a new version of African culture which has been longtime tortured by imperialist literary works. Although Achebe is identified as a nationalist defender of African culture, his cultural views reflected in the given novels do not merely emphasize on anti-colonialism.
Achebe’s accusation of westerners’ Eurocentric views which lead to Africa’s tarnished image is obvious. The western cultural intrusion is carried with hegemony in the indigenous community  through  the  dismantlement  of  an African  belief  system  as  well  as  that  of  the authority of social institutions. Besides, the white invasion is also illustrated by the denial of indigenous individuals’ humanity through orientalist discourse. Achebe denounces colonizers’ orientalist ideology on Africa and African people in the binary opposition, and he uncovers the intention of colonizers’ otherization of African culture in order to  create  an  excuse  for  the colonization.  
Achebe objects to the monocultural attitudes of his compatriots. On the one hand, Achebe disagrees with the radical defense of old Okonkwo who is a devoted disciple of  the clan’s traditional principles. As a tragic hero, Okonkwo’s failure in cultural defense is due to his tragic flaw, namely the inflexibility in adapting to a new reality. On the other hand, Achebe is opposed to  some  natives’  betrayal  of  the  indigenous  culture.  Things  Fall  Apart  reveals  Achebe’s disapproval of the behaviors of those marginalized people, attracted by new dispensation which appeals  to  brotherhood  and  equality,  turning  to revolt  against the  traditional  culture  which formerly  oppressed  them.  No  Longer  at  Ease  indicates Achebe’s  concerns  for  the  cultural predicament of native elites represented by Obi, an educated African who suffers from feelings of unhomeliness. The westernization reinforced by education as well as the European working atmosphere generates Obi’s estrangement of indigenous culture and his confusion of cultural identity. Achebe points out that adherence to or betrayal of indigenous cultures is not the way to interact with other cultures.
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