Commentary on Don't Let Him Die passage

Essay by 19881118High School, 12th grade August 2005

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This passage from Chinua Achebe's Don't Let Him Die from Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays is author's brief recount of Christopher Okigbo's leave for army and his leave through death. Achebe created the shock combined with deep sadness as we became empathic to the passage.

Achebe wasn't niggardly in expressing his emotions and thoughts. In fact, this passage was one of his recounts of two important events related to Christopher. The text started with some relatively strong adjectives like "fear" and "hazardous". Also, although the narrator started with "might" and "probably would have tried", he quickly went over to "totally" and "absolutely". By changing the tone of the diction, the narrator showed his regret, or sadness, for the certainty, the outcome, that could have been prevented.

The narrator also included descriptions of the external appearances as well, through which create imagery. The "brown briefcase" gives us an image that is not so far away from our daily life, which made the whole event approach us easier.

Also, by saying "never in uniform" and "in civilian clothes", Achebe also implied the traits of Christopher: not being haughty or arrogant, and that his aim of joining the army is not about having high status.

There are also contrasts that make the death of Okigbo more unexpected. Achebe "wanted to hear" about "victories" when he unconsciously hears about "rebel troops wiped out" and "rebel officers killed" and "panic". The contradiction of the dictions is very significant that it changes the tone of the passage. Eagerness to hear about victory through different radio stations changed to relatively neutral feeling by hearing about the death of Nzeogwu, suddenly shifted to the shock he got by knowing the death of Okigbo.

Even here, we can find the contrast. The death of Nzeogwu and the death...