“Chike’s School Days” by Chinua Achebe is one of the shortest stories Inhave ever read. Although, I enjoyed reading it, after my first read, I was clueless as to what the purpose of this story really is because there wasn’t exactly any conflict nor a climax of any sort. After reading it again with detail, I realized that this story does so much more than tell a story of one person. Achebe managed to give so much insight about his culture implicitly. Achebe used a boy named Chike to be the eyes of the readers.
Chike also has two other names, one of them being John. This is one of those examples where Achebe says so much with such little words. Chike also having a common American name, John, showed how modernized his family was. Achebe goes on forward with more detail about the marriage between Chike’s father and mother. They both came from different backgrounds, and although Achebe pointed out that society looked down upon such an action, he managed to give us a very positive feeling about this anecdote, secretly condoning such behavior.
One thing that really stood out to me in this story was the way Chike viewed the American culture, specifically the English language. Even though, he was nowhere near fluent in English “He liked particularly the sound of English Words, even when they conveyed no meaning at all” to him (Achebe 830). This fondness with American culture is something that I can relate to. Growing up in Pakistan, I was the same way. In fact, almost everyone in my grade put the English language on a pedestal. This may seem harmless, but what I came to realize is that worshipping another culture usually leads to looking down on your own. Just like how Woolf didn’t believe men were the cause of gender inequality, but still held them responsible for it because of their instinct for superiority, I believe the same applies when Chike started to fall in love with American culture, and slowly started losing his own cultural values.