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IMAGES (V) – Images of (Cultural) Values

The Conference Proceedings

Edited By Veronika Bernard

This collection of articles offers readers a cross-section of current research on contemporary and historical concepts and representations of (cultural) values as documented in popular culture, public space, the arts, works of literature and in ethnic contexts. The contributors to this volume are from the US, Algeria, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Albania, Serbia, Turkey, and Austria. Their very different cultural, ideological, scientific, academic and non-academic perspectives and backgrounds allow insights from many different viewpoints.
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Gönül Bakay (Istanbul/Turkey) - Representations of “the Primitive” in Things Fall Apart and Death and King’s Horseman


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Gönül Bakay

Representations of “the Primitive” in Things Fall Apart and Death and King’s Horseman

Abstract Drawing on the acculturation theories of John Berry, this article discusses the representations of the “primitive” in texts by the postcolonial writers Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, who critically examine the uncomprehending view of the West towards so-called ‘primitive’ cultures.

Gestützt auf John Berrys Akkulturationstheorien, diskutiert dieser Artikel die Darstellung des „Primitiven“ in den Texten der postkolonialen Autoren Chinua Achebe und Wole Soyinka, die sich kritisch mit der nicht-verstehenden Sicht des Westens auf sogenannte „primitive“ Kulturen auseinandersetzen.

Wole Soyinka’s play Death and King’s Horseman critically examines the concept of the “primitive” and acculturation. In particular, Soyinka’s work dwells at length on the conflicts and contradictions in African society and his story is based on an actual event. Olori Elesin is the king’s first horseman. When the king dies, he has to commit suicide to accompany him to the other world. The colonialist district officer, Pilkins, interferes to save Elesin’s life from what he considers to be a barbaric custom. Pilkins considers the Yoruba people as primitive and does not show any effort to really understand the cultural significance of their customs and tradition.

Olunde is Elesin’s son, a medical student studying in England. When he hears of the king’s death, he considers his own father already dead and returns home, to perform the necessary burial rituals. Pilkins and...

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