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Intro to Things Fall Apart
Transcript of Intro to Things Fall Apart
Do you value things that are not of your own culture or do you think that the products, ideas, and beliefs of your own culture are superior to others?
Do you think that we have the right to impose our own culture on others, or should we protect other cultures from being “influenced” by our own?
As globalization spreads, the cultural norms of the majority/powerful begin to take over. Imagine a world where we all eat the same kind of food, listen to the same kind of music, speak the same language, watch the same tv, play the same games, etc… Sound good?
Certainly we must value the contributions of other cultures to our global society and try to protect them. Otherwise it is all going to be McDonalds.
Writing prompt: What about primitive cultures? Should we be involved in societies that are not as advanced as we are? What if they have something we need? Our technological advancement gives us an unfair advantage when we interact with them. Think about our history with the Native Americans, Africa, the Middle East and think of how those situations turned out.
Do you think there is a danger in getting involved in the lives of people who are less advanced than us? Are we better than they are because we are more advanced? Do we have the right to interfere with their cultural development? Explain your thoughts.
Review: What do you remember
about the European colonization of
Africa? (Brainstorm in groups)
As a result of slavery and European colonialism much of Africa has been transformed into an unstable and impoverished region of the globe, with a disturbing history of political instability, relentless civil war, ethnic violence, and genocide.
In order to justify this treatment of an entire continent of people we had to make them "less than us." By characterizing the African people as godless savages, it not only makes it easier to dominate them, but it also makes us feel really good about ourselves. Think of it as bullying on a global scale.
Look how great I am! I am so much better than those Africans, and also, I am charitable because I am helping out the godless heathens! What a great person I am !!!!
This characterization of the Africans took many forms and was the standard understanding of the continent and its people for hundreds of years.
This is why “Things Fall Apart” is so important.
For the first time in history, an African writes in English about what real life in Africa was like. He humanizes the African and gives us an honest portrayal of what the Igbo culture was like before colonization.
The novel celebrates the positive things about the culture and criticizes the negative things about it, just as good western literature both praises our qualities and criticizes our faults.
He also shows us the immediate damaging effects of colonization at the end of the novel.
I hope you enjoy the book.