Things Fall Apart and The Power and the Glory Reading Response Chinua Achebe’s world-renowned work, Things Fall Apart, centers around a Nigerian tribe which becomes the subject of conversion to Christianity via missionaries. During the course of this novel, we follow the central character, Okonkwo, through times of stability and times of change in his homeland to arrive at the cathartic ending of his suicide. Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, however, centers around an unnamed whiskey priest, who is on the run from the authorities in Mexico, where religion has been outlawed. Over the course of this novel, the struggle between church and state is illustrated as well as the conflicting perspectives of the people both are trying to …show more content…
Having seen the way his father was mocked, Okonkwo’s entire life was “dominated by fear of failure and weakness,” and he made it his goal “hate his everything his father loved” (Achebe 13). This, in turn, caused to Okonkwo to become “a man of action and a man of war” even though “perhaps down in his heart, Okonkwo was not a cruel man” (Achebe 13). Because of the community he lived in judged a man according to his worth as it was part of their culture and custom, the action-driven Okonkwo was able to succeed despite living in the shadow of his father’s failures. In addition to Okonkwo’s success in his village, Achebe also shows how religion and culture is a source of stability by portraying it as a system of justice and moral code. The egwugwu, or the ancestral spirits of the tribes, served as the closest thing to a legal system in Okonkwo’s society. In the context of the story, the egwugwu judged the case of Uzowulu, who was the kind of man to “not listen to any other decision” other than the one given by the egwugwu (Achebe 94). Another source of ultimate authority was Ani, “the judge of morality and conduct” (Achebe 36); when Okonkwo or any other man broke her laws of peace, they were punished accordingly. The villagers and their beliefs about their ancestral spirits enabled a system of peace and harmony. In many ways, Achebe portrays the tribe’s culture and customs as an essential part of society in its own way, keeping the people together with
In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, the protagonist, experiences change from the cultural collision caused by the introduction of Western ideas into the Igbo culture. Okonkwo is the personification of the Igbo cultural values and morals, he is a true warrior, hard-working man that raises a surplus of staple foods, and a holder of many Igbo cultural titles showing proof of his dedication and work. Okonkwo is also one of the Egwugwu, an elder of the village that acts as a host for a god during the Igbo clan’s cultural and judicial meetings. However, no matter how great Okonkwo was, he fell victim to the changes of Western culture as it infiltrated and destroyed his people.
A tragic hero is a character that is both protagonist and antagonist, throughout the action they make. According to Aristotle's definition of tragic hero, he explains a tragic hero as a character that has noble stature and greatness. In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, depicts Okonkwo as fierce warrior and a respected leader of the Umuofia clan. Even though Okonkwo does not embody noble stature, since he has greatness, fatal flaw, and he recognize his downfall, he meets Aristotle’s concept to a tragic hero to a certain degree. Okonkwo has greatness and occupy a high status position in the village, yet does not have nobility or virtue in his character.
In novels, there is always a certain character or group of characters who are portrayed as bad or evil. In Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, the group of characters representing bad or evil are the Christian missionaries. The villagers see the christian missionaries as intruders to their village, trying to bring a new religion into the village of Umuofia. The english settlers were introduced to have arrived in Umuofia in chapter seventeen, when Obierika, Okonkwo’s closest friend, visited Okonkwo, two years after he was given his exile. The Christian missionaries are represented as bad or evil in Things Fall Apart because they are trying to teach the people of the village a new religion.
Furthermore, Achebe masterfully creates a dynamic tension within his novel by having Okonkwo act as the antithesis of the literary devices so often used by his clansmen and Achebe himself. Fueled by this tension, Achebe drives forth his plot; although things fall apart for the Igbo people, Achebe binds together a wide breadth of literary instruments with the characterization of Okonkwo to smoothly guide readers from the epitome of a great man’s success to the depths of that same great man’s demise. Through Achebe’s direction, one may appreciate the power which language holds in shaping the identity of an individual or collective group of
History is written by the winners, as it has been for a long time, but Things Fall Apart is one of the few retellings that is written from the from the losers’ point of view. In this novel, the Ibo people in Nigeria have a working society, with rules, religion, and relative peace. Then, at the turn of the 19th century, missionaries come/came to the land with their contrasting religion and Western culture. Obierika, a clan member of the village Umuofia, must decide whether to join the missionaries, or to fight against them. However, In Chinua Achebe’s Thing’s Fall Apart, Obierika responds to the collision of Western ideas into Ibo culture with cowardice, because the missionaries and their Western culture were intimidating, influential, and had
Imagine your favorite TV show, and think about the characters. Which character is your favorite? Most of us would say it is the main character, the one that is the most relatable. That character is called the protagonist, and it is often the one that we identify with the most. In contrast to the protagonist, a character we think about less often is the foil character. This character is the complete opposite of the main character. Usually, a foil goes through the same events as the main character however he will see things differently and have a different opinion. The purpose of this character is to shed light on the main character, and to show how things could work out differently
In the book, the western missionaries were invading the Ibo culture. The main protagonist, Okonkwo, was a famous Ibo man known in the land. He sternly follows all of his tribe’s customs and is famous for being a powerful worker of a high title. Achebe described Okonkwo by saying “Nwoye and Ikemefuna would listen to Okonkwo’s stories about trial wars, or how, years ago, he had stalked his victim, overpowered him, and obtained his first human head.” (Achebe 54) to show that he is extremely belligerent. This warlike attribute will later play a role in Okonkwo’s response to the dramatic change. A feature shared by both lifestyles was a unique judicial system. In the book, the Ibo justice system was based on judgement from their several gods, rather than under a queen. An example of this divine judgement is when Achebe says “Okonkwo did as the priest said. He also took with him a
The African civilizations are often thought to be primitive, unsophisticated regions made up of barbaric and merciless people. However, this notion is a common misconception that has been portrayed by the British to justify slavery. The author of Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, attempts to educate his readers by disproving the common perception of African civilizations and by initiating a process of re-storying. He believes that the African side of the story has not been told and he must tell their story so Africans are no longer victims of other people’s accounts. While some may believe that Achebe is ineffective in educating his readers about this fallacy, Achebe clearly shows that the Igbo had components of an advanced civilization. After thoroughly reading and analyzing this novel, I certainly understand Achebe’s desire to portray the Igbo as civilized despite contrary British literature. Three major elements, including an organized religion, centralized government, and complex system of communication are portrayed by the author to indicate the intricacy of the Igbo. Chinua Achebe effectively educates his readers that the Igbo had components of an advanced civilization prior to British colonization rather than being a primitive, barbaric society.
Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a novel that is based on one’s rough journey as an African man. Throughout the novel, the reader is shown the struggles an African citizen could have dealt with at the time. However, one detail that the author shows is the ability Okonkwo has to love not just as a parent, but as a man. While reading Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo faces many challenges that have relation to the youth of the community. Though the reader sees Okonkwo as a tough, brave man in the society; deep down Okonkwo cares for children. An example of Okonkwo’s caring attributes would be when he regrets not doing anything while hearing the twins cry in the Evil Forest, his depressed state post-killing Ikemefuna and when the Oracle calls for Ezinma.
The story of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart takes place in Umuofia, a set of villages, where the Nigerian tribe and Ibo people settle. A tribesman and the protagonist named Okonkwo is the famous leader in Umuofia. Okonkwo is very brave, but he stands solo when it comes to deciding to fight. He is afraid of how people will view on him through his actions towards the society because men play big roles in their culture. With his victory against Amalinze the Cat, Okonkwo brought more fame towards his position in the Ibo society. Although his braveness and courageousness in fighting is strong, Okonkwo is afraid to be emotional and thought of weak like his father, Unoka. Unoka is a talented musician, yet he is lazy and irresponsible. He had
One of the most interesting novels that a person in the contemporary society can read is the novel “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, a prolific writer from West Africa, Nigeria. The novel remains to be an interesting read despite the fact that it was written in the year 1961. The novel is a narration that follows an Igbo tribe’s life during the time when colonization was washing all over Africa. The story is about Okonkwo who was determined to be prosperous and not end up a failure just like his father, but instead follow tradition and rise up the ranks within the tribe. However, Okonkwo’s desire to have a perfect life goes astray just like the novel portrays hence fate has it that he loses the traditions that he so much cherishes as his dear society falls apart (Bloom, 2009). The following is an expostulation of the novel and an in-depth analysis of the novel.
Specific attributes correlate with each other to help create or not create the ideal strong family. However, through those attributes arise conflicts and major disputes. This issue of trying to achieve and create a strong family is of immense importance in one’s life, especially in Chinua Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart, a milestone in African literature. For instance, the father leaves his legacy behind for his son to follow but when the son’s future is not secured by the father, it results in desolation. Just as the speaker illustrates that the father needs to provide for his family, so too does he illuminate that reciprocal respect is a necessity for a sturdy family. The dearth of this attribute leads to an inevitable downfall. This also brings about the prominent issue of unity in one’s family. Without unity nothing but misery and corruption follows. Overall, then, through the importance of family values the speaker illustrates what can destroy or help create a strong family. The text ultimately becomes a comment on the characteristics and essentials in which a family needs or else the intractability of these practices will prove to be lead into downfall.
Things Fall Apart, written by Chinua Achebe is a story which follows the life and foreshadowed downfall of Okonkwo, a respected warrior in his Umuofia clan in Nigeria. Disgusted by his late father, Unoka, and the reputation of incompetence and laziness he left behind, Okonkwo was determined to not let history repeat itself. He worked diligently and became a wealthy patriarch for his family. The beginning of Okonkwo’s demise occurs when he is given responsibility of a boy from a neighboring tribe who he ends up liking more than his own son. When that boy is ordered to be killed, Okonkwo doesn’t protest, for fear of not appearing manly to his clan.
Western views of African culture have often been those of disdain. Some books about Africa have set out to change the typical Western views of African culture, but others have upheld these negative views of African culture. Through each of their novels, Alan Paton, Chinua Achebe, and Joseph Conrad approach the topic of African culture and Western views on it differently.
For the duration of the novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the role of religion and tradition is a very important part of the characters lives. It decides how they live their life and decides their fate. Some of the customs that are practiced in this culture may not be accepted and are frowned upon by the western cultures. One example of this is that they think that in some cases a child should be killed or that the spirits of the dead must be appeased. Thinking this could create a consequence with the white men. They feel the need to “save” the natives from themselves.