As seniors near the end of HAMLET, I offered them these thoughts. The initial inspiration came from the NYTimes obituary for Chinua Achebe.


achebe.“Be true to the story,” remarks the main character in N. Scott Momaday’s novel, The Ancient Child.  He is an artist from whose paintings a mysterious figure begins to emerge over time.  The features of this apparition make it bear-like, and the painter must stay true to the story of this bear’s surfacing.  He fights to face the bear, as unsettling as this struggle might be.

I was reminded of Momaday’s novel, while reading yesterday’s obituary of Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, whose novel, Things Fall Apart, has made, and keeps making, a remarkable global impact since its publication in 1958.  This obituary includes John Updike’s  assessment that Achebe “grabbed the subject of colonialism ‘so firmly and fairly’ that the book’s tragedy, like Greek tragedy, felt tonic; a space had been cleared, an understanding had been achieved, a new beginning was implied” (NYTimes, 23 Mar 2013: A14).  Updike’s…

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