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Chapter 7-8

posted Oct 26, 2011 18:51:35 by
The locusts arrive in Chapter 7. How might the locust symbolize the eventual colonization of Umuofia? Consider the imagery Achebe uses to describe the locust. Also, consider the locusts’ biblical connotation as well.
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5 replies
SCOT04 said Oct 26, 2011 23:58:16
In chapter 7 the locusts begin to descend upon Umuofia and a great buzz is made upon their arrival. Surprisingly the people of Umuofia are satisfied when the locusts begin to conquer their lands. Achebe announces that only a few locusts came at first to scout out the lands but soon the entire land is filled with the brown creatures. The scene that Achebe illustrates is similar to my background information that I have about the colonization of African territories. At first only a few European settlers would come to scope out the area and find out which group of Africans were living in these habitats. Soon after the first settlers were sent, a large group of Europeans would infest and take over the territory over. The Africans would be overwhelmed by the customs of the Europeans and would eventually mold into the belief systems of the white settlers. It is interesting that Achebe uses locusts to describe his scene because in the bible locusts are used to show a plague. In this sense Achebe is saying that colonization was a God created plague that infested the African nations.
BRENDAN04 said Oct 27, 2011 00:49:53
The locusts first arrive as a small scout group to survey the land and deem it fit for the rest of the locusts. Then Achebe describes the rest of the locusts arriving as a dark, dense cloud growing over the horizon and settling on the land. The arrival of the locusts seems like it corresponds to the way that European missionaries would try to colonize Umuofia. The response to the locusts could also resemble how the Africans would respond to European settlers. The locusts create a generally positive reaction, which is strange considering the locusts eat all of the living aspects of the land. Also in biblical times, the locusts are connected with plagues and bad tidings, making the positive reactions from the villagers all the more strange. This symbolizes the colonization of Umuofia because at first the villagers might be accepting of the strange Europeans, but eventually the Europeans will plague the Africans and strip their land of all that is useful and living.
MOLLY04 said Oct 27, 2011 11:30:42
The locusts' arrival definitely symbolizes the Europeans colonizing Africa in the sense that only a few locusts arrive at first, but then almost immediately, a huge swarm of locusts comes to take over the land. This is much like the way the Europeans colonized Africa because at first, only a few Europeans came to Africa, and then many began to flock to the continent. It is almost ironic the way Achebe uses locusts as a symbol because the arrival of the locusts is described as a joyful thing that brings happiness to the people. Yet colonization of the Africans was hardly a positive thing for the natives. Maybe Achebe was trying to show that at first, some natives accepted the European colonizers, but as time passed, they realized that the Europeans were just coming to steal the natives' land and take over their lives, much like the locusts took over the crops.
TOMM04 said Oct 27, 2011 19:51:06
The locusts represent European settlers and colonists in almost every way. Achebe describes them not only as descending on the land, he says, "They settled on every tree and every blade of grass...they settled on the roofs and covered the bare ground" (56). Achebe uses the word "settled" to explicitly tie the locust infestation to the Europeans infestation. As everyone else said, these insects even sent scouts to check out the area before coming in full power, mirroring the settlers strategy. Achebe also uses the phrase, "And then quite suddenly a shadow fell on the world" (55), creating a foreboding feeling of impending doom for the reader. This also represents the darkness that shadowed the continent of Africa during the time of Imperialsim. However, there is one glaring event that does not correspond with the connection between settlers and locusts: the town is ecstatic with the arrival of locusts. To be honest, I don't really know what Achebe is trying to say there, but it could mean that at first the natives are happy with the introduction of settlers, and do not know they are being taken advantage of by the Europeans.
KAR04 said Oct 27, 2011 23:41:45
I agree with Scott and Molly that the locusts represent the European colonization in Africa because few locusts come in the beginning, however soon the sky is filled with them. Achebe describes the people's reactions as positive when he says, "almost immediately a shout of joy broke out in all directions, and Umuofia, which had dozed in the noon-day haze, broke into life and activity" (55). The people of Umuofia are joyous despite the locusts being unfamiliar to them, which is how they will probably respond to the Europeans. Achebe also says that the locusts "appeared on the horizon a slowly moving mass like a boundless sheet of black cloud drifting towards Umuofia" (56). This imagery depicts the locusts in a more negative way because darkness usually represents evil. Furthermore, the locusts are associated with the Biblical plague. The contrasting reaction of the people and the description of the locusts could demonstrate appearance versus reality because the locusts appear to be a good omen, however they are truly not.
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