By Neil McEwan (auth.)
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Additional resources for Africa and the Novel
Neither Nigeria nor Britain in 1900 was a single, settled culture, although Umuofia approximates it as nearly as a Norfolk village in 1900 might 36 Africa and the Novel have- and is made to seem in L. P. Hartley's The Go-Between of 1953. Although Achebe does not dwell on the point which Hartley makes, that the period between 1900 and 1950 is the 'longest' and most dreadful half-century in history, his sense of how things have changed is not very different from the Englishman's. Nigeria was like England in 1900 in being subject to violent, unpredictable upsets.
Chapter 11 begins with a folk-story told by Ekwefi to her daughter Ezinma. The birds are invited to a feast by the people of the sky. Tortoise persuades them to make him 28 Afrz'ca and the Novel feathers, and ·he goes too. He tells the birds that new names are needed for such an occasion and takes the name 'All of You'. When the people of the sky announce that the feast is for 'all of you', Tortoise eats everything. The birds reclaim their feathers and arrange for him to fall to earth on the 'hard things' from his home, hoes, machetes, spears.
When confronted with danger to its own interests in another. Oyono is a better satirist because his comedy and indignation do not stifle his feeling for the sadness of the colonials' predicament. The French will not allow Monsieur Salvain to make a comparison between the morals of Dangan and Paris. They tell him that he will teach the Danganais to think themselves as good as their protectors - 'as if they hadn't got a high enough opinion of themselves already' - and so threaten the French empire.