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By Chinwe Christiana Okechukwu

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Additional resources for Achebe the Orator. The Art of Persuasion in Chinua Achebe's Novels

Sample text

36 The Umuofia of this period is such an audience. Ogbuefi Ezeugo, just as the orators in classical times, the times of Things Fall Apart 29 Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian of whom Weaver writes in his essay, "The Spaciousness of Old Rhetoric," uses the "uncontested" terms because he knows his audience and is sure of its composition. The orator normally uses uncontested terms in a homogeneous society because he knows that he can get away with it. He knows that his audience is uniformly informed and indoctrinated.

Here, Achebe describes the town's means of communicating an emergency to its people and the town's ways of deliberating on issues that concern the whole town. The reader sees participatory democracy at work. The town crier summons the Things Fall Apart 19 people to a meeting. This way everybody knows when important decisions are being made and has a chance to participate in the deliberations. But since most people's lives are wrapped around their clan's religion, the people must consult their oracle before any decision can be final.

This imagery also foreshadows the cold impotence the men of Umuofia show when it is time for action. Umuofia, the warrior clan, has undergone change. The white man is the cold water that has silenced Umuofia and turned it into cold impotent ash. This utterance and its associated imagery take the reader through the whole novel, comparing Umuofia as a ferocious lion in Part One and the silenced Umuofia in Part Three. " shows the importance Achebe accords to the disintegrating community. Umuofia at this time needs to be spoken to, even rallied.

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