“Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe

Published: 2021-07-06 23:11:06
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The story “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe is a classic piece of African literature through which she wanted to counter stereotypes that exist in the Negro culture. She plotted the story of a Negro man Okonkwo plotted as a fiercest and strongest man of the Negro clan. The transformation of the character, his fears and weaknesses, his struggle and tragic ending is plotted with excellence (Chinua Achebe, n.d.) Achebe designed the story and character to show the civilized lifestyle of Igbo before the European colonization. The intrusion by the European people and their impact on the culture and religion documented in the book with precision. (Shmoop, n.d.)The story taken place at two areas. One is Umuofia a village inhabited by the Igbo people. The second location of the story where characters are plotted especially protagonists Okonkwo and his family is Mbanta. The majority of the story plot is in Igbo village where the clan people are villagers and most of them harvest the crops in summer seasons for vegetables the Igbo people do harvesting and get money in return for survival. The people of the Igbo village were polytheist as they believed in many gods. The other cultural distinct alue was the polygamy. Men allowed to have many wives as a symbol of masculinity in the society. The protagonist of the story had also three wives and 8 children. (Study.com, n.d.)The novel is written in post-colonial times in 1958 by the author. The main themes in the story is cultural tradition, fear, family and religion. The concept of family in the Igbo people is very rich. The polygamous tradition resulted in huge family statures. The protagonist of the story Okonkwo had multiple wives. For Okonkwo, the responsibility of being a husband and father is priority of his life. He had the perception of his own father as the poor provider for his family. Okonkwo considered his father to be lazy and weak that outraged him and transformed him much above into powerful and fiercest wrestler. He considered aggression the only expression to be displayed by the men of the clan. His exile period from the village pondered him to thin about the feminine side through his ancestors. Otherwise he had the only thing in mind “Men are more powerful than women” (Spark Notes, n.d.) From the lines:Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper […] (2.12)He supposed to be aggressive and commanding at his family.The next theme is cultural traditions, the Igbo people had the stylized tradition and particular language with which they fascinate ad welcome people. The Igbo language was complex as compare to the English. The diverse cultural norms and language is portrayed beautifully by Achebe. She made the point that European colonization led to the confusion of Igbo people to adapt to the new cultural values. The protagonist of the story Okonkwo felt the loop in the traditional values adaptation by his people and felt offended. The European settlers forced the tribe people to leave their old methods of agriculture and replacement of Igbo by the English language. [4]The next theme is religion that is the main highlight of the post colonization in African people. The European missionaries and settlers tried to impose the Christianity religion on African people. The idea of the African religious values threatened the settlers and they converted many Igbo people into Christians. The protagonist son Nwoye was also one of the converted people that served as an act of betrayal to Okonkwo.The theme of fear is also intertwined into the story. Okonkwo spent his life as being powerful and fearless man. But his whole journey ends up into a tragic ending. All his life, he feared to be feminine or less masculine like his father. He later in the end finds out that his people had agreed to the terms of European settlers and lost their traditions. He could not stand it and chose to hang himself with much valor and power. He gave message of strength by choosing the most difficult way of ending his life but the other side of his death shows that all he feared is only himself. From the lines it is evident:’“Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not…………………………………o hate everything that his father Unoka had loved. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness. (2.12)” (Spark Notes, n.d.)Achebe used symbolism to describe the abstract concept in a story. The two main symbols are fire and locusts. The protagonist of the story displayed in roaring flames as the sign of masculinity and power needed for character. The other symbol used is locust that defines the arrival of the setters in Igbo land. The transformation that occur in the lifestyle of the Igbo people with the settler’s intrusion depicted with the term locust that settled everywhere. (Study.com, n.d.)ReferencesChinua Achebe. (n.d.). Critical Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.enotes.com: https://www.enotes.com/topics/things-fall-apart/critical-essays/critical-evaluationShmoop. (n.d.). Things Fall apart. Retrieved from https://www.shmoop.com: https://www.shmoop.com/things-fall-apart/Spark Notes. (n.d.). Things Fall Apart:Themes. Retrieved from http://www.sparknotes.com: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/things/themes/Study.com. (n.d.). Symbolism. Retrieved from https://study.com: https://study.com/academy/lesson/symbols-in-things-fall-apart.htmlStudy.com. (n.d.). Things Fall apart. Retrieved from https://study.com: https://study.com/academy/lesson/things-fall-apart-setting.html

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