Unfolding Dialogue: Teaching Achebe’s Fiction

  • Thomas Jay Lynn
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


Pedagogical methods rooted and implemented in a mode of domination, reflecting, indeed, colonial mentalities, contradict the affirmation of equality and dignity projected in global literatures, including the work of Achebe. His writings teach us how to teach him, guiding instructors to reach beyond authoritarian methods. His fiction and essays are the foundations for this chapter’s affirmation and illustrations of classroom dialogue. One Igbo proverb, for example, helps illuminate the power of dialogue between teacher and students as well as the effectiveness of comparison in the study of literature: “Wherever something stands, another thing stands beside it.” Achebe’s varied presentations of this proverb remind us that the world is constructed through complementary and contradictory elements. Placing literary works in a comparative relationship generates insights that often do not arise when the focus is trained on a single work alone.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Jay Lynn
    • 1
  1. 1.Penn State BerksReadingUSA

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