Monday, 29 October 2012

The Danger of A Story

Today in english class we watched a movie about a Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichi, who gave a speech in TED Talk about how dangerous just one perspective can be.

Chimamanda was a voracious reader and grew up with books about 'white children with blue eyes who eat apples, drink ginger beer and talk a lot about the weather.' So when she began to write, she wrote about all those things that she would never see, all those things she read about. Then, she got ahold of an African story. It did not talk about weather or apples or ginger beer, instead it talked about life and mangoes. By reading that one story, she changed her view on the world and began to write differently.

These are the three bullet points I came up with:

  • The books she read and how they influenced her writing and views on stories, and how being more open minded changed that point of view.
           She read a lot of British and American books, and thus wrote about the things she read about and would never be able to experience. At the talk, she describes stories as: "The consequence of a single story emphasizes how we are different." and "Stories matter. They can be used to empower and humanise, break dignity but also repair that dignity." She also said that there must be a balance of stories.

  • Her knowledge of Africa, the rest of the world, and the power.
          When Chimamanda was eight years old, her family got a new house boy. His name was Fide, and he came from a very poor family. Chimamanda pitied him. When she visited his village she saw a beautiful basket, handmade by one of the villagers. She never knew that even the poorest families could be capable of doing something like that.
After some while, she felt ashamed of herself for thinking Mexicans were different.

  • What other people thought about stories and what they said and did.
           A Nigerian founder of a publishing house said: "If you can read, you will read." When Chimamanda goes to university in America, her roommate was pitiful, and her knowledge of Africa was no African could be equal to an American.

I found Chimamanda's talk very interesting and very informative.

If anyone is interested, here's Chimamanda Adichie's speech at TED Talk.

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