Aetiological values in Achebe's stories for children

Paula García Ramírez

Abstract

A fundamental aspect of Achebe’s work is shown in the narrations for children this writer developed during the sixties and seventies. These writings were Achebe’s response to the disastrous consequences of the Biafran War for his ethnic group which provoked a long silence on the part of the writer, unable to develop his commitment with his community through longer texts. During these years most of the production of Achebe was circumscribed to literary essays and stories for children, as an attempt to build a valuable literature for children throughout autochthonous reconstructions. With the exception of Chike and the River (published in 1966), the other tales are characterized by its moral fable-like tone and by being situated in a remote past, before the known time, in which the relationships between the physical and the spiritual worlds were very intense. Taking into account all these elements, I would like to pinpoint the aetiological value of Achebe’s tales, that is, the attempt to show the rural traditions that were used by the Ibo community to explain the cause and the origin of some natural phenomena, or even, of some features of human behaviour. I dare say that these tales constitute a clear example of a specifically African literature for children that, using autochthonous elements, does not deny the contact and influence of Western literature.

Keywords

Literatura nigeriana; Achebe, Chinua; Literatura infantil; Guerra civil; Nigeria



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2003.16.08