Chike’s School Days


Chinua Achebe

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Themes and Colors
Colonialism as a Form of Violence  Theme Icon
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
Language and the Struggle to Create Meaning Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Chike’s School Days, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Colonialism as a Form of Violence

In “Chike’s School Days,” Chinua Achebe paints a portrait of an Igbo Nigerian village through the lens of one young boy’s family. Chike starts school at a time when the influence of British colonizers has begun to have a serious impact on the lives of people in his village. Families are ruptured along the lines of members who subscribe to the white man’s tradition—the conversion to Christianity, in particular, is presented as a dividing force…

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Leadership and Authority

The main point of tension in “Chike’s School Days” is between English colonial culture and traditional Igbo culture. Achebe tells the story of a young boy, Chike, raised in a village that is just beginning to feel the full force of British colonizer’s culture, especially in the realms of religion and education. Over the course of the story, various characters seek guidance from different community leaders. However, these leaders—both Igbo and British alike—are characterized…

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Language and the Struggle to Create Meaning

In “Chike’s School Days,” readers glimpse a Nigeran Igbo village that is struggling to integrate British colonial culture into their way of life. In many ways, the introduction of Christianity and British culture seems to destroy traditional practice and beliefs. Alongside that destruction, however, Achebe hints at the necessity of forming new practices and traditions at the intersection of the two cultures. One of the most prevalent ways in which readers observe the destruction of…

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Family and Community

“Chike’s School Days” is a portrait of a Nigerian Igbo community as they navigate the influence of the British in the early stages of colonialism. Building on his examination of the ways in which this Western dominance affects religion, education, and language in Chike’s village, Achebe also looks specifically at how these changes affect people on an intimate, relational level. The introduction of Western and Christian values severely alters the ways in which Chike’s…

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