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Techfile: Profile & Biography Of Chinua Achebe - biography
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Profile & Biography Of Chinua Achebe

Author: admin | Posted In: biography On 2017 | Views: 550 | Comment(s): 0
Chinua Achebe
Early life Edit Achebe was born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe in the [8]Igbo village of Ogidi on 16 November 1930. Isaiah Okafo Achebe and Janet Anaenechi Iloegbunam Achebe stood at a crossroads of traditional culture and Christian influence; this made a significant impact on the children, especially Chinualumogu. After the youngest daughter was born, the family moved to Isaiah Achebe"s ancestral town of Ogidi, in what is [2]now the state of Anambra. Storytelling was a mainstay of the Igbo tradition and an integral part of the community. Achebe"s mother and sister Zinobia Uzoma told him many stories as a child, which he repeatedly requested. His education was furthered by the collages his father hung on the walls of their home, as well as almanacs and numerous books – including a prose adaptation of A Midsummer Night"s Dream (c. 1590) and an Igbo [9][10]version of The Pilgrim"s Progress (1678). Chinua also eagerly anticipated traditional village events, like the frequent masquerade ceremonies, which he [11]recreated later in his novels and stories. Education Edit In 1936, Achebe entered St Philips" Central School. Despite his protests, he spent a week in the religious class for young children, but was quickly moved to a higher class when the school"s chaplain took note of [12]his intelligence. One teacher described him as the student with the best handwriting in class, and the [13]best reading skills. He also attended Sunday school every week and the special evangelical services held monthly, often carrying his father"s bag. A controversy erupted at one such session, when apostates from the new church challenged the catechist about the tenets of Christianity. Achebe later included a scene from this incident in Things Fall [14][15]Apart. At the age of 12, Achebe moved away from his family to the village of Nekede, four kilometres from Owerri. He enrolled as a student at the Central [16]School, where his older brother John taught. In Nekede, Achebe gained an appreciation for Mbari, a traditional art form that seeks to invoke the gods" protection through symbolic sacrifices in the form of [17]sculpture and collage. (He would later suggest the name for the Mbari Writers and Artists Club that was [18]founded in Ibadan by Ulli Beier and others in 1961.) [19]When the time came to change to secondary school, in 1944, Achebe sat entrance examinations for and was accepted at both the prestigious Dennis Memorial Grammar School in Onitsha and the even [20]more prestigious Government College in Umuahia. Modeled on the British public school, and funded by the colonial administration, Government College was established in 1929 to educate Nigeria"s future elite. [20]It had rigorous academic standards and was vigorously elitist, accepting boys purely on the basis [20]of ability. The language of the school was English, not only to develop proficiency but also to provide a common tongue for pupils from different Nigerian [21]language groups. Achebe described this later as being ordered to "put away their different mother tongues and communicate in the language of their [22]colonisers". The rule was strictly enforced and Achebe recalls that his first punishment was for [21]asking another boy to pass the soap in Igbo. Once there, Achebe was double-promoted in his first year, completing the first two years" studies in one, and spending only four years in secondary school, [23]instead of the standard five. Achebe was unsuited to the school"s sports regimen and belonged instead to a group of six exceedingly studious pupils. So intense were their study habits that the headmaster banned the reading of textbooks from five to six o"clock in the afternoon (though other activities and [24]other books were allowed). Achebe started to explore the school"s "wonderful [25]library". There he discovered Booker T. Washington"s Up From Slavery (1901), the autobiography of an American former slave; Achebe "found it sad, but it showed him another dimension of [24]reality". He also read classic novels, such as Gulliver"s Travels (1726), David Copperfield (1850), and Treasure Island (1883), together with tales of colonial derring-do such as H. Rider Haggard"s Allan Quatermain (1887) and John Buchan"s Prester John (1910). Achebe later recalled that, as a reader, he "took sides with the white characters against the [25]savages" and even developed a dislike for Africans. "The white man was good and reasonable and intelligent and courageous. The savages arrayed against him were sinister and stupid or, at the most, [25]cunning. I hated their guts." University Edit Street in Ibadan, 2007 In 1948, in preparation for independence, Nigeria"s [26]first university opened. Known as University College (now the University of Ibadan), it was an associate college of the University of London. Achebe obtained such high marks in the entrance examination that he was admitted as a Major Scholar in the university"s first intake and given a bursary to [26]study medicine. It was during his studies at Ibadan that Achebe began to become critical of European literature about Africa. After reading Joyce Cary"s 1939 work Mister Johnson about a cheerful Nigerian man who (among other things) works for an abusive British storeowner, he was so disturbed by the book"s portrayal of its Nigerian characters as either savages or buffoons that he decided to [27]become a writer. Achebe recognised his dislike for the African protagonist as a sign of the author"s cultural ignorance. One of his classmates announced to the professor that the only enjoyable moment in [28]the book is when Johnson is shot. He abandoned the study of medicine and changed to [29]English, history, and theology. Because he switched his field, however, he lost his scholarship and had to pay tuition fees. He received a government bursary, and his family also donated money – his older brother Augustine gave up money for a trip home from his job as a civil servant so [30]Chinua could continue his studies. From its inception, the university had a strong Arts faculty; it includes many famous writers amongst its alumni. These include Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, poet and playwright John Pepper Clark, and poet Christopher [31]Okigbo. Elechi Amadi is also another famous writer who studied at the university in the 1950s, although he was in the faculty of sciences. In 1950 Achebe wrote a piece for the University Herald entitled "Polar Undergraduate", his debut as an author. It used irony and humour to celebrate the [32]intellectual vigour of his classmates. He followed this with other essays and letters about philosophy and freedom in academia, some of which were [33]published in another campus magazine, The Bug. He served as the Herald"s editor during the 1951–52 [34]school year. While at the university, Achebe wrote his first short story, "In a Village Church", which combines details of life in rural Nigeria with Christian institutions and icons, a style which appears in many of his later [35]works. Other short stories he wrote during his time at Ibadan (including "The Old Order in Conflict with the New" and "Dead Men"s Path") examine conflicts between tradition and modernity, with an eye toward dialogue and understanding on both [36]sides. When a professor named Geoffrey Parrinder arrived at the university to teach comparative religion, Achebe began to explore the fields of Christian history and African traditional [37]religions. After the final examinations at Ibadan in 1953, Achebe was awarded a second-class degree. Rattled by not receiving the highest level, he was uncertain how to proceed after graduation. He returned to his hometown of Ogidi to sort through his options.Read More About Chinu Achebe

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