Analysis of the ending of Things fall apart, by Chinua Achebe

843 Words Nov 28th, 2013 4 Pages
Things fall apart passage 7
The excerpt taken from Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart comes from the end of the book, where the commissioner finds Okonkwo’s body dangling from a tree. This passage serves as closure for the novel, as the traditions of the past die along with Okonkwo. Achebe uses this specific scene in the novel to express both his views on the inevitable death of Igbo culture in the lower Niger (specifically Umuofia), as well as his perception of the portrayal of its people in western literature. In addition, Achebe continues to use this scene to drive the idea of cultural difference between both the inhabitants of Umuofia, and the missionaries that inhabited the land.
The passage opens by telling the reader that
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In the beginning, we are told that Umuofia is considered one of the strongest tribes in the lower Niger. However by the end of the novel, it is suggested that the villages are broken internally.
The excerpt continues on with a description of what the Commissioner believes about African culture. During the last paragraph, the reader learns that the Commissioner believes that attending such situations would give a bad portrayal of him. Achebe uses this to point out the presumptuous nature of the Commissioner. This notion is further substantiated, as Achebe writes that the Commissioner plans to write a book about his work. By now, the reader has already characterized the Commissioner as almost uninformed, as indirectly characterized in the beginning of the excerpt, when he bombards Oberika with questions.

The excerpt finally ends with the Commissioner’s last thoughts, as the reader is then told that the book would be entitled “the pacification of the lower Niger”. Achebe adds this in to serve as indirect characterization of the Commissioner, as it depicts an ignorant man who believes he is superior. This is done intentionally to portray the notion that western culture about the status of society in Africa.

The excerpt serves to tragic death of Okonkwo. From the beginning of the novel Okonkwo has been described as a great man worthy of a large funeral. Achebe even goes to the extent of providing an example of what a

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