Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Importance of Education, Indicated in Contemporary Literature

Education is an important theme that connects Chinua Achebe's No Longer at Ease and Krik? Krak!, by Edwidge Danticat. As the old saying goes, 'knowledge is power,' so to be a learned person or an educated person, means that those who value education behold power. Both of the central characters in the novels, Obi Okonkwo and Kompe, know the importance of education and what opportunities will open up to them if they pursue higher education. In essence, both men are living in a time when education is their only ticket out of a life of hardship and poverty.

Statistics generally show that, those who have been college educated tend to be more Liberal. Why is this? Education stantds to shead light on the social injustices that so many people pretend not to notice. In this country, the Democratic adgenda tends to focus more heavily on social programs to better the lives of those who are less fortunate. And a big part of that is to try and provide education to everyone. If everyone is educated, then as a society, we are taking the right path to equality. Threfore, it is a fair assumption to say that people who are educated are more just.

So then why did Obi finally succumb to the temptation of accepting a bribe, after refusing them so many times before? Here we have a man, who was the shining star of his people, their beacon of light and hope, a man who was educated in London, England, a man who should have been more just than others because of his education, accepting a bribe. There are a myriad of reasons why Achebe does this, the most obvious being social satire. This is the way things were in colonial Nigeria and Obi was only doing what he had to do to survive. But on another level, perhaps Obi's action actually was just. Having been on the scholarship board, maybe he just wanted to spread hope to everyone by providing them with an education.

There is no doubt that these authors are showing the importance of education through their contemporaty literature. Imbedded within each page is the message that education will provide her recipients with a vast amount of knowledge and opportunity, but to think of these novels in that respect is a tad ironic as those who are uneducated will never hear the message.