The Dragon's Village and Things Fall Apart
There are two significant differences between the novels The Dragon's Village and Things Fall Apart. In The Dragon's Village, the story is told from the point-of-view of the outsider. Ling-ling, although she is Chinese, is an outsider in the far-flung Gansu province. She was raised with middle-class values and in a setting that would be considered wholly luxurious to the peasants she lives with during the course of the novel. Things Fall Apart, however, is written from what would be the equivalent of the peasants' point-of-view in The Dragon's Village. In Achebe's novel, the day-to-day lives of the villagers occupy the first two parts of the novel, inculcating the readers into their social values and norms and positioning them as insiders and the white men who come later in the novel as the outsiders.
The other significant difference is our reaction to the fundamental changes occurring in each novel. Chen's point-of-view largely aligns the reader with the benefits of communism and the land reform. We are easily able to identify the inequities under the feudal landlord system and we accept the equity in the land reform. Because Ling-ling points out the difficulties of the peasants' lives despite their valiant attempts just to survive, we as Western readers are not immediately repelled by the idea of Communism as we have been trained traditionally to be. On the other hand, we are immediately repelled by the changes wrought by the white men in Achebe's novel. Because Achebe spent the first two parts of the novel introducing us to the humanity and dignity of the lives of the Ibos, particularly through the portrayal of the only-too-human Okonkwo, we are immediately repelled by the denigration and destruction of the culture brought about the introduction of the white man.
The Dragon's Village is wholly concerned with the personal growth of Ling-ling through her activities in ...