The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays

10 thoughts on “The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays

  1. Lisa Lisa says:

    Chinua Achebe is one of my favourite authors of all times His novels short stories poems essays and political statements join together to show a personality formed by many disparate cultural backgrounds yet strong and full of personal integrity He has opinions and he expresses them clearly I like that He is not always modest and he admits it He has a sense of irony and humour but he takes humanity seriously enough to suffer at injustice His common sense does not prevent him from celebrating ancient local traditions His erudition and literary scholarship do not get in the way of his down to earth fictional writingThis essay collection offers a wide range of different topics that are close to Chinua Achebe's heart and that follow his writing throughout all genres We meet him embarking on studies at Cambridge reflecting on power and politics in Africa on language literature as a form of celebration we share his anguished reflections on what it means to him to be a Nigerian and we even get a glimpse of his family lifeBeing a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting That statement made my head spin as I started to reflect on what being Swedish might possibly mean to me Like Chinua Achebe I have spent a big portion of my life outside my native country and therefore I see it with partially foreign eyes Being a Swede is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably boring I do not envy Chinua Achebe the horrible recent history of his country as expressed elouently and with passion in his fiction and in There Was a Country A Personal History of Biafra but sometimes I wish we had not lost so much of our political reflective power and care due to lack of conflict The shallowness of a nation can be choking at times as it is the first sign of stagnation If Nigeria has a too bad reputation Sweden's reputation on the other hand is too good Neither is likely to be trueWhen Chinua Achebe criticises other authors because he does not share their ideas he does so with respect and for a well defined purpose When Ngugi another African writer I admire for very different reasons criticises his use of the colonial language English rather than his native tongue Chinua Achebe answers by uoting Milan Kundera to justify his own choiceThis does not in any way close the argument for the development of African languages by the intervention of writers and governments But we do not have to falsify our history in the process That would be playing politics The words of the Czech novelist Kundera should ring in our ears Those who seek power passionately do so not to change the present or the future but the past to rewrite historyThe most hopeful and pleasing essay in this collection however is an essay celebrating the wider meaning of literature in Chinua Achebe's community Mbari After first reading about it I introduced the concept to my students as I have long thought that the Western approach to literature has become very specialised almost sterile a kind of exercise in intellectual bullshit bingo oh sorry and a standardised prompt for graded essays in school My own concept of reading to live and living to read does not uite fit that idea even though I recognise that I take part in this tradition I do not want to rewrite history hereMbari the literature celebration Achebe describes goes deeper towards the mythical roots of storytelling as a communal act an act of social gathering and sharingMbari was a celebration through art of the world and the life lived in it It was performed by the community on command by its presiding deity usually the earth goddess Ala or Ana Ala combined two formidable roles in the Igbo pantheon as fountain of creativity in the world and custodian of the moral order in human societyThis makes total sense to me and explains in a creative imaginative way why I keep reading excessively in all genres serious and hilarious books nonfiction novels drama and poems it is a celebration of human community a call for creative power and social commitment a vital dialogue and a path to deeper understanding of and therefore compassion for the diversity of our shared heritageMbari is celebrated whenever we talk about books on GR

  2. Cheryl Cheryl says:

    Who is Chinua Achebe?the boy asks when he sees me reading He's the writer who made people notice African novels They call him the patriarch of African LiteratureOhhh Is this your favorite book? No but this one is I read it when I was your age I reach for Things Fall Apart from my shelf and hand it to him He's here for an hour or two with his sister the kids another single mother friend has sent to hang out in my library until she gets home from the second job His dad died in the same war I survived I feel some responsibility for him He opens the book his younger sister finishes her Math homework I place lamb in the oven and continue readingAchebe lost the use of his legs during a car accident sometime during the late 90s or early 2000s? the years are conflicting in a couple of essays and I find myself with the thought the visual in the back of my mind as I read His wife left her job as a college instructor to take care of him The man survived the Biafra War only to lose his legs to an accident This disturbs me I know I shouldn't concentrate on the fact still it bugs me so I place the book on the counter and go off to chop some green peppers and onionsChinua Achebe posed for the New Yorker after his accident The Education of a British Protected Child is an elouent erudite collection of essays that make the effects of colonialism palpable Achebe didn't consider this an academic collection in fact he stresses the point that he is straying from academic speak since he is a novelist at heart and yet these pieces sometimes take on the texture of a impassioned lecture What makes the collection appealing is its nuanced look at the mental and physical concept that is colonialism Achebe visits the thoughts of black Africans and Americans even infusing James Baldwin's thoughts at a conference they'd attended in Florida when Baldwin called him my brother He writes of Langston Hughes offering him a seat of honor next to him at the opera while Achebe was still an apprentice writer He debunks the theory that Africans write in European languages as ignorant and meaningless comparisons and instead presents the theory of linguistic pluralism that stems from the rich history of AfricaI'm engrossed in all of this when the boy asks another uestionWhat is palm wine?I hesitate It's something sour and bitterHe snickers unconvinced Okonkwo is stubborn But he's braveI nod and try not to say a method I used with former students I want them to formulate their own thoughts and I help guide them but not before the act of intellectual conception We continue reading uietlyAchebe mentions Dom Afonso king of the kingdom of Bukongo 1506 1543 whose kingdom was destroyed by Portuguese colonists That country now Democratic Republic of Congo has known many names seen many wars Before this it had been a thriving kingdom with embassies in Lisbon and Rome Achebe's point is that sometimes the history books do not contain most of what was Africa before Europeans arrived His point is that it is not necessary for black people to invent a great fictitious past in order to justify their human existence and dignity but that they must recover it by becoming researchers and writers What better time to hear these words than during Black History Month?A younger Achebe in 1960 with two editions of his masterpiece An hour later the phone rings Girl thanks so much I'm on my wayHe looks up Please tell my mom I need time he says How bout you pick them up after the grocery run? He giving you a hard time? Tell him I'll be there when I get there and he better be ready He's readingHe's whaaaat?Okonkwo is having a palaver right now and I want to finish that part he yells from the libraryOkon who is this Okon whatever And he's having a whaaaat?

  3. Kevin Kevin says:

    The Good 2 reoccurring themes in this collection of short essays 1 African history written by colonizers vs by Africans always enjoy Achebe bringing up Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness only to bury him again as reviewed in Africa's Tarnished Name2 Countering Decolonising the Mind The Politics of Language in African Literature on the use of the colonizer’s tongue English in this case in African literature Achebe defends his use of English because of its widespread usage in a Nigeria still divided by many African languages and post colonial conflict Achebe also uses the analogy of the tradition of celebration that serves as recognitionacknowledgement rather than welcoming The uestionable I spend most of my time in political economy Literary theory is not my thing and often I resort to different standards for assessing the politics of literary artists because of their lack of engagement with the structures of political economy Thus the essay “ The University and the Leadership Factor in Nigerian Politics” proved exceptionally insightful; Achebe considers 3 factors of change 1 System ie political economy2 Leadership Achebe's focus3 The People Achebe sets up Marxist CLR James as prioritizing the “system” where James contends that during the Great Depression the US had two options reformist FDR or radical Paul Robeson By taking the road to reform the capitalist system arriving at Watergate was inevitable regardless of the leadership Achebe’s counter to this I regret to say sounds like liberal backwash He first says FDR reforms like the FDIC were pretty radical at the time well the context of the Great Depression threatening global capitalism was pretty radical too Even worse he pulls the “well name a better system with no issues” card Literally And he would have to demonstrate not merely through intellectual abstractions but by pointing to an actual system in practice somewhere which can show better results and no scandals of one form or anotherYikes Achebe’s defense of prioritizing “leadership” is also shaky Instead of diving into the debates on strategyvanguard partyhorizontal consensusparticipatory readiness of the people Achebe uses the strange example of special forces in the army hierarchy to start a defense of meritocracy

  4. Susan Susan says:

    Achebe is a skillful writer which makes these essays a delight to read His view that Nigeria is not a mother or fatherland but rather a child that needs its citizens to raise it was particularly striking He makes cogent points about the toxic legacy of colonialism which I think is especially obvious in the way some aid organizations wanted to impose fixes rather than participate in finding solutionsOn a technically picky note the LOC wants to catalogue this in 823914 which is English fiction English as in British American fiction would be 813 Not only is this not fiction I fail to see that writing it in English makes the work essentially less African but the DDC itself a clumsy Victorian legacy piece cluttered with outmoded ideas wouldn't consider putting the work with African literature unless it had been written in Igbo 896332 This is screamingly ironic in light of Politics and Politicans of Language in African Literature p 96 It turns out that to the LOC Achebe is still a British Protected Person

  5. Lynecia Lynecia says:

    Defines Decodes and DEFIES the language mythos and ethos of colonialismI've read so many of Achebe's non fiction work in uick succession and as a result not only am I uite charmed he seemed to be such a charismatic person I've received an education that has sharpened my mind and further deepened my love and appreciation for Chinua Achebe's work but for Africandiasporic literature in general I never really understood what writing as resistance really meant after all I came up in a time where so many amazing writers had laid this wonderful foundation for me a canon of our own so to speak However to be of a generation of the dispossessed as Achebe calls it who for generations had their stories co opted grossly defined and used as tools against them in their own oppression well to write against that against ones dispossessors and ones own folk too He spoke truth to power It almost got him killed and tell your story for yourself that is resistance Literature indeed is revolutionary We were lucky to have Chinua Achebe as one of its wielders its upholders of the power of storytelling a global treasure

  6. Hani Hani says:

    This book is a great detox for all the colonial propaganda that one hears It is a must read for understanding the language of colonialism Nevertheless Chinua Achebe is a great writer and a man of determined and stubborn stance He will never move aside whenever the subject of colonialism comes and he will give a scathing and deriding reminder to the coloniser of his atrocities He is critical of Conrad and points out his shameful remarks clearly This book is also about Africa and Africans Their sufferings from outsiders and their own corruption all in the same book This book will teach you no doubt but it will also make you think and know about an Africa that 'is' I am from South Asia and this book enlightened me to colonialism and it's global tyrannies One chapter that was of particular interest to me was Politics and politicians of language in African literature This is a must read for those who have an argument of English as being the language of the coloniser and its usage in the contemporary nation state as a national state language

  7. KenyanBibliophile KenyanBibliophile says:

    Non fiction is a bit difficult for me to get into but I must say that from all the Chinua Achebe titles that I've read this collection of essays was the most enjoyable It reads like a conversation with a very insightful witty and passionate man It becomes very clear within a few pages that Achebe was very opinionated and had no ualms expressing those opinions I have laughed out loud and sworn indignantly on many occasions sometimes in the same paragraphln conclusion this is a potent piece of literature and one of my top reads of the year Highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn about African traditional culture and finding it's identity during modern independence

  8. Tumelo Moleleki Tumelo Moleleki says:

    I have through this collection become aware of the debts of inhumanity the white person has gone to to nullify my humanity Reading that is not only educational but crucial to every African

  9. Aisha (thatothernigeriangirl) Aisha (thatothernigeriangirl) says:

    The Education of a British Protected Child is a collection of 16 essays that Achebe wrote and delivered during his lifetime and the first thing I took away from this collection is that Achebe had RANGEHe wrote like an African elder rightfully so by imbibing lots of adages and relatableeveryday examples to drive home his pointsAlthough each essay was delivered at different events instances you can pick out similar themes one Achebe was in a love hate relationship with Nigeria he was its biggest cheerleader and critic; two Achebe embodied IgboNigerianAfrican pride in his life and writings; three Achebe really REALLY disliked Joseph Conrad largely because Conrad was the uintessence of how the typical problematic white man saw AfricaAchebe also brought a lot of receipts in these essays He didn’t shoot down biases and racism with mere sentiments instead he used their own words people and history books again to thoroughly drive home his points That’s another additional lesson I learnt from this book— to unlearn a lot of biases ingrained in the African history written by the white man One account that stood out to me in “Spelling Our Proper Names” and “Africa is People” is one found in the Portuguese history where a Bukongo king Dom Afonso who learnt to speak and write Portuguese in a very short period and forged an alliance with King John III of PortugalKing Afonso then used these tools to try and stop the kidnapping and enslavement of his people by Portuguese sailor I was shocked when I read this because for the longest time all we’ve read in books is how “greedy Africans” sold their own people into slavery and this narrative continues to drive a wedge between Africans and the diasporaIt is a classic case of blaming the victim for their victimization If a remarkable king like Afonso strove to prevent the enslavement of his people imagine how many other leaders across the continent did the same I highly — with emphasis— recommend this collection especially if you’re African May I just reiterate that Achebe really dragged Conrad for writing his ridiculous novel Heart of Darkness?

  10. Pghbekka Pghbekka says:

    When I borrowed this collection as an audiobook I expected a collection of autobiographical essays about Chinua Achebe's childhood This was so much than that Should be reuired reading in courses on American history world history economics As usual words fail me

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The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays [PDF / Epub] ☉ The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays Author Chinua Achebe – In 'The Education of a British Protected Child' Chinua Achebe gives us a vivid ironic and delicately nuanced portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria and inhabiting its middle ground interrogating b In 'The Education of of a PDF ↠ a British Protected Child' Chinua Achebe gives us a vivid ironic and delicately nuanced portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria and inhabiting its middle ground interrogating both his happy memories of reading English adventure stories in secondary school and also the harsher truths of colonial The Education PDF or rule.