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Proverb derived from Latin “proverbium”.

It is that simple and concrete saying which is based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. Proverbs are often metaphorical. When someone studies proverb, it is called “paremiology” which came from the Greek t erm “paroimia”. According to Wolfgang Meider, a prominent proverb scholar, “A proverb is a short, generally known sentence of the folk which contains wisdom, truth, morals, and traditional views in a metaphorical, fixed and memorizable f orm and which is handed down from generation to generation.” Paremiology and Things Fall Apart: Proverb is a part of orature which is very much essential for any Postcolonial r eader while reading a text which is based on postcolonial issue; very much relat ed to language and culture. Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart brought several p roverbs as a counter of Eurocentric vision that Africa is a “savage” continent as po rtrayed in both Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Joyce Cary’s Mister Johnson. M oreover, it has only its history after the arrival of Europeans. This is not the correct presentation of Africa. “Afrocentricity” takes birth to stan d; to acclaim; to present the real Africa which has its own tradition, own langu age, own culture, own religion, own society and of course, own history. Achebe w anted to bring Africa as it is; not false representation which is very much reno wned through Eurocentric presentation. Proverbs are brought to make sure that whatever Achebe is presenting is not Myth and at the same time this wisdom must be passed from generation to generation i n order to behold or to preserve the real history of Africa. Proverbs stand as key to cultural identity of African people. They were not peop le of “Dark Continent” rather they had wisdom which reflected through discourse amon gst people. Just like palm oil, proverbs are part of them which were often used as Achebe depicted through Ibo narrator: “Proverbs are like palm oil with which words are eaten” To have clear concept on African society and culture; their ways of sharing thou ghts; reading proverbs are really important for Postcolonial readers. These prov erbs are acknowledgement and exemplification of Achebe’s stance that Africa was al so civilized and had culture of its own. One must read them very carefully in or der to understand their rhetoric and eloquent meaning. So, I am here to bring some proverbs from the first three chapters of the text T hings Fall Apart to help my audiences in learning something about real Africa. Proverb: 1 “The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under t hem.” (Chaper-1, Page: 6) Analysis: The proverb makes reference to a cosmic body, the sun, with a view to evoking it s sense that those who strive and work will benefit from the fruit of their work before those who depend on them. While the inference of discouraging dependency can be made, the message is mainly that those who do not face the challenges of life and work assiduously defying sunshine should satisfy themselves with the c rumbs that fall from the table of the hardworking ones. The proverb discourages

laziness and implies the need for everyone to be hard-working. Proverb: 2 “If a child washed his hands, he could eat with kings.” (Chaper-1, Page: 6) Analysis: The proverb portrays the honor and dignity attributed to cleanliness and respons ibility. It thematizes hands washing, a good character training and hygienic way of eating as a sign of honor. If a person does the right thing at the right tim e, as the proverb entails good fortune, honor, reverence, esteem and credit will be his, just like eating together with kings. Proverb: 3 “When the moon is shining, the cripple becomes hungry for a walk.” (Chapter-1, Page: 7) Analysis: Reference is made to another cosmic body, the moon, in this proverb, as “shining” co llocates with “the moon” and “cripple” collocates metaphorically with “walk”. The sense of t he proverb lies in the cause-effect theory that if motivation is given, action a rises. In essence, night is conventionally taken as a period of rest but in a si tuation where there is moon-light, not only the able-bodied feels the need to wa lk or work in the night but even the cripple does. Night is implied and not stat ed for stylistic purposes while “hungry”, a marked word that ordinarily does not app ly to “walk”, is also used for stylistic effect. The underlining message is that a g ood cause or motivation occasions a good effect or line of action. Proverb: 4 “A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness.” (Chapter-2, Page: 14) Analysis: There is a tact advice almost coinciding with the English proverb, “One good turn deserves another” here. If a person accords honor or reverence to the successful o nes, it is likely that he is also going to be successful. In other words, the se nse of the proverb is that a person who helps another man helps himself indirect ly as he gets familiar with what that man engages in – and this will ultimately le ad him also to greatness, directly or indirectly. Proverb: 5 “A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing.” (Chapter-3, Page: 15) Analysis: The proverb tasks our mental conception or general knowledge of the toad as a no cturnal animal. If such an animal therefore does “run” in the day, there must be som ething amiss. The sense of the proverb is that there is a cause for anything str ange that happens; there must be a reason, at least “no smoke without fire”. A toad running in daytime is probably pursuing something or certainly something is purs uing it. It has to do with the “cause-effect” relationship.

Proverb: 6 “Since men have learnt to shoot without missing, he has learnt to fly without perc hing.” (Chapter-3, Page: 16) Analysis: Like the previous proverb, this proverb derives its message from folklore, in wh ich human attributes are given to animals/non-human creatures. The meaning is li teral and figurative as well as multi-dimensional in scope. Changing situations give birth to innovations. If students, for example, develop novel means of chea ting in the examinations, referentially, the authorities also devise ipso facto, new strategies of apprehending or detecting the cheats. These Proverbs and their analyzes certainly clarify that wisdom was there in Afr ica before the footsteps of Europeans. And if Proverbs were there, civilization was very much there. So, Africa had its own culture and history.