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Message vs. Style in Things Fall Apart

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Introduction

Message vs. Style in Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe "The message is more important than the style". I totally disagree with this statement in the context of Things Fall Apart as I believe that in this particular work, the message is of equivalent importance to the style; to have a particular writing style whose sole purpose is found in informing readers as to the purpose to the message, and then to NOT have a message, would be useless, whereas having a message to tell readers, WITHOUT such a writing style as is necessary to allow them to absorb the purpose, would again be useless- therefore the message and writing styles are equally important in this story, as one cannot do without the other. In this case, the central message of Things Fall Apart, that African culture is complex, can only be absorbed by readers if Achebe's writing style, which incorporates the use of dialogue, conflict, proverbs, diction and setting, allows them to develop such recognition of cultural complexity- the author cannot merely instruct the reader to believe that the culture is indeed complex, and still expect the reader to believe as such without question. ...read more.

Middle

That proverbs can be casually used in dialogue to illustrate various points, such as the above proverb serving as a defence for one's actions, is an indication of a highly-developed language. A society's culture is based upon its language, for language serves as the primary medium of communication between humans in a society, and as such readers recognize that language is an important component of culture, therefore having a highly-developed language would thus suggest that society is culturally complex. Proverbs being thus used in Achebe's writing style have therefore led to the subtle formation of such a suggestion to readers, which in turn allows readers to follow through on that suggestion, and thereby reach the conclusion that African culture is complex is nature- this being the exact message which Achebe is trying to bring across to readers. Proverbs being a component of Achebe's writing style, we can see how they contribute to the carrying the message of cultural complexity across. However, such a writing style also finds its primary purpose in carrying a message; therefore without such a message of cultural complexity, the proverbs would lose their meaning. ...read more.

Conclusion

That these two different components should become so elaborately intertwined in this one ceremony is evidence of a complex culture. The reader, in reviewing the description of the setting, thereby acquires knowledge of the central message of cultural complexity which Achebe is trying to bring across, without Achebe having to explicitly declare as such; this clearly shows how Achebe's writing style of placing information from which readers have to make their own inferences has led to our understanding the message of the novel. Without such a description of the setting, readers might not have been able to absorb this message. On the other hand, without a message, the description of the setting would be useless, as the purpose of such a writing style would be to enlighten readers as to a particular message the author wishes to convey. Therefore I believe that writing style and the message are of equal importance. In conclusion, I believe that the writing style and the message are of equal importance, as the former serves as the vehicle for the latter, whereas the latter exists to give the former purpose. Neither can do without the other, and therefore their interdependence lends them equal importance. 1500 words ...read more.

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