Krystal Pen

Fiction, Poetry and everything Literary. Every voice should be heard.

Chinua Achebe: Why he abandoned Medicine to study Literature 

This post is not written to inspire you, but to make you look at things from a new perspective, a more pragmatic perspective. 

It will interest you to know that one of Nigeria’s foremost writers, Chinua Achebe (of blessed memories), whose notable works included; Things fall apart, No longer at ease, Arrow of God, A man of the people and Anthills of Savannah, was first offered a scholarship to study medicine at the then University College, Ibadan. 

There is the conventional eye and brain to existence and there is the genuinely articulated or well-reasoned perspective to existence. In a nutshell, we sometimes tend to do things because it is the norm, because it is conventional and fewer times we tend to do things because we were presented with peculiar reasons. 

Imagine God’s second ever image, Eve, made herself a gardener, because it was conventional for man to become a gardener, because it was the job that paid, because Adam was making all the money and busy relating with all the animals in the garden, am sure chaos and ineffectiveness would be loggerhead.

Now, back to Achebe’s ‘Things fall apart’, it’s quite incredible and yet understandable to learn how a non-conventional style and context to literature  could gain international acclaim, how it eventually became the most translated novel in history. 

Read this excerpt from Wikipedia; 

It was during his studies at Ibadan that Achebe began to become critical of European literature about Africa. After reading Joyce Cary’s 1939 work Mister Johnson about a cheerful Nigerian man who (among other things) works for an abusive British storeowner, he was so disturbed by the book’s portrayal of its Nigerian characters as either savages or buffoons that he decided to become a writer. [27] Achebe recognised his dislike for the African protagonist as a sign of the author’s cultural ignorance. One of his classmates announced to the professor that the only enjoyable moment in the book is when Johnson is shot. [28]

He abandoned the study of medicine and changed to English, history, and theology.

The conventional things are most often like winds and so we fall like trees if we are not genuinely rooted, if we don’t build around us fortresses that are forged with purpose and reason. 

You see, to Achebe, medicine was the best, conventionally, but fortunately, literature and Things fall apart were not mere. 

You can’t be anymore satisfied and fulfilled if the smallest action is taken with a well thought-out reason. 

Nugget: Nothing is in itself conventional. Your actions today can make something supposedly conventional tomorrow. Have you ever had beans and dodo as your favorite, then few years down the line, you met the love of your love- Banga and starch galloped with well salted fresh water fishes? Lolz. 


Categories: Home, Miscellaneous

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3 replies

  1. Nothing is in itself conventional…… I got the statement.
    Interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

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