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Things Fall Apart And Whale Rider Essay

965 words - 4 pages

“By comparing the 2 texts you have studied, how do they reflect the concerns of their time?”

Texts are shaped by the concerns of their time and the comparison of texts provides an extensive insight into these ideologies. With the consideration of Chinua Achebe’s novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ (1958) and Niki Caro’s film ‘Whale Rider’ (2003) in tandem, the similarity in their didactic principles of the condemnation of ethnocentrism explores the impact of European imperialism upon Ibo and Maori societies. Both texts also criticise the suppression of females in the patriarchal view of the tribes, emphasizing the significance of gender recognition and together, they delineate the concerns that ...view middle of the document...

Whilst Caro also exposes the degradation of traditional culture as a product of imperialism, Whale Rider contrastingly highlights the rejuvenation of Maori traditions within a post-colonial setting. The lingering effect of colonialism is made apparent in the panning shot depicting the rotting building and old car. This positions the audience to grasp the struggles of this society in midst of Maori unemployment soaring to 25% by 1992 and reiterates the conception of cultural decay as established in Things Fall Apart. However, Caro reflects the remarkable phenomenon of the Maori renaissance since 1970 through the metaphor of the rope representing “ancestors joined together and strong” where Pai is able to re-tie the rope, foreshadowing her reunification of the society. With a depiction of a positive emergence from the fragmentation of traditions through colonialism, this stands in stark contrast to Things Fall Apart where the Ibo culture is destroyed. Furthermore, her affinity with her ancestors is portrayed through a low angle shot of the recurring motif of the whales, evoking a sense of ineluctable destiny and places emphasis upon the Maoris’ spiritual connection to nature. Thus Caro’s film, just like Achebe’s novel, reveals the depth of traditional culture and denounces imperialistic advances that undermine these values.

Despite the initial subordination of women within the patriarchal ethos of the colonial setting in Things Fall Apart, the inherent significance of feminine qualities is central in maintaining balance in society. This repression of women, sparking the 1952 Defiance Campaign in Africa, is made apparent in Ibo language where a man with no esteem is termed with the insult “agbala”, meaning woman. This is reiterated in the character of Okonkwo where he associates women with smaller crops “like coco-yams” whereas “Yam… was a man’s crop”, being a figurative representation of men occupying a superior position in Ibo society. However, Achebe conveys the dangers of excessive masculinity where...

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