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Chinua Achebe's "The Novelist as Teacher" Analysis in English

 Chinua Achebe's view on the novelist as teacher is odd. He mentions early in the essay that his works are mostly read by school-aged children, whether he wants the role or not. Achebe accepts that "it's part of [his] job as a writer to teach" (71), but not the lessons others want him to teach. Achebe insists that "no self-respecting writer will take dictation from his audience"

Even though he has little regard for what society expects of him (both as an author and as a teacher), Achebe sees the value in being seen as an educator. He has taken advantage of this inadvertent role to teach his readers. In "The Novelist as Teacher," Achebe defines his role as helping "his society regain self-belief and shed years of denigration and self-abasement"

 He explains why this is the most important lesson from his novels, but he would be satisfied if they only showed his people (his readers) that they had a past before the Europeans came. Achebe disputes and accepts his teaching role throughout the essay, creating a confusing message. As a teacher, he believes he should send his own message, not listen to society. In the end, he describes his novels as "applied art", or useful art, saying, "

Art is important, but so is the education I have in mind" (72). Achebe describes a difficult-to-define relationship between author, text, and reader. Achebe's essay shows that author and reader expectations don't always align. How can one determine what an author is responsible for? How much is it the reader's job to interpret a text?



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