Chinua Achebe once said, "the world is like a mask dancing...if you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place," (Goodreads). Renowned for his novel Things Fall Apart, in which he responds to the stereotypes of the British who conquered the continent of Africa in the era of New Imperialism, Achebe explores Igbo culture through many aspects of daily village life. Contradicting the racism employed by whites in the 1890s in order to justify slavery in earlier history, Things Fall Apart offers a new fresh perspective into the lives of ordinary villagers of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria, before they are taken over by the British. Just as the whites in Europe, the tribe applies their own religion, customs, beliefs, and language to their lives. Through this lens the reader is able to extract a deeper meaning of the powerful message Achebe communicates by penning the famous novel.
When I first began reading Things Fall Apart, it helped me understand about the Nigerian culture. This novel is a post-colonial novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in 1958. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, one of the first to receive global critical acclaim. The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo leader and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia who is afraid to share his feelings for fear of being thought as weak and he had to protect his reputation. He is a brave man, but stands alone a lot with his decision to fight. He believes everyone in the tribe has turned into women when they do not want to fight, but deep down he is just like them, but afraid of how people will now view him. When he starts to become violent he accidentally kills a man and is forced to leave his tribe. When he is allowed to
The literary book “Things Fall Apart is a well-written novel by Chinua Achebe about an ordinary Nigerian named Okonkwo, and how the impact of European colonization in his village, significantly changed his life in the most unexpected way possible. Though this is the main idea, the novel consists of many hidden messages that Achebe shows through the interesting plot turns and literary devices which appeal to the reader. A theme that Achebe explores through the book is the role of men and women in the Igbo society and how certain customs are associated with each of them. The powerful personalities of the characters and the way that some of them, such as Ezinma, Ekwefi, and Nwoye, reach out of their gender stereotypes is one of the main reasons
Sometimes readers may feel sympathetic for Okonkwo because of his inability control himself but most of the time, he deserves his faults. In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the author thought there was a lack of Nigerian colonization and wanted to show an accurate portrayal of the clash between the African culture and western ideas. His book showed two issues, one between Igbo society and another with an unknown culture to them, the British. Okonkwo’s flaw of anger and fear of weakness makes him corrupt because of his dad, Unoka. Therefore, it caused Okonkwo to start from poverty and then work to become the most well-known and wealthy person but slowly falls down. Chinua Achebe uses Okonkwo to portray the true nature of what happens when two cultures clash through misunderstandings and conflicts.
A person does not obtain strength with an easy and perfect past. Experiences of hardships are the things in life that force a person to change in order to survive. In Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, this especially applies to one character - Okonkwo. In the Ibo culture, the sons of a man inherit all of his things when he dies, but for Okonkwo that was nothing. Okonkwo’s father did nothing and was viewed as a very disgraceful man in the society, so all Okonkwo inherited was shame. He had to start from scratch and build his own huts, his own barn, and start his own farm. Furthermore, he had to be a successful man in order to obtain the yams seeds to plant in his farm because no one would give them to a man that would not make anything out of them. His path to his current position was not easy at all. In the novel, the idea of wrestling with powerful forces comes up often, especially for Okonkwo throughout his life on his journey of trying to become the most famous and fiercest warrior of the clan. Initially, Okonkwo is shown wrestling literally with other people to gain fame building his character in both a positive and negative way. Later, he was also shown wrestling figuratively with the culture, his family, and the change the white man brought to the tribe, leading to his eventual downfall.
“Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (Achebe 13). In Chinua Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart, the character of Okonkwo is driven by fear. By the time Okonkwo becomes a young man, he is proud, well-known, and respected. When the introduction of Western ideas occurs, Okonkwo is unable to adapt his ways of functioning in the world and loses the respect he has from many Ibo people.
Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart” chronicles the life of Okonkwo, a strong man whose existence is dominated by fear and anger, and the Ibo tribe, a people deeply rooted in cultural belief and tradition. As events unfold, Okonkwo’s carefully constructed world and the Ibo way of life collapses. The story of Okonkwo’s fall from a respected and feared leader of the Ibo tribe to an outcast who dies in disgrace dramatizes his inability to evolve beyond his personal beliefs, affecting the entire Ibo tribe beyond measure. The “things” that fall apart in Achebe’s novel are Okonkwo’s life – his ambition, dreams, family unity and material wealth – and the Ibo way of life – their beliefs, culture and values.
In the book, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe presents the main character, Okonkwo, to us as a tragic hero. We watch Okonkwo progress through the book, and observe as his tragic flaw leads to his ultimate downfall. Obierika, Okonkwo’s best friend, always stands by Okonkwo and serves as Okonkwo’s voice of reason as they face the British colonization of their villages. The way Achebe presents these characters to helps shape the overall theme of the novel: the interpretations people have of one another’s culture can lead to their downfall when they clash. More specifically, the misinterpretations the Igbo tribe had of British intentions led to their downfall when the cultures clashed in Things Fall Apart.
The novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, deals with the confrontation of cultures and the violent alterations in life and values brought about by the commencement of British colonialism in Nigeria. Its spotlight is directed on the tragic fall of the protagonist, Okonkwo, and the Igbo culture. Okonkwo is also considered a tragic hero. A tragic hero holds a place of power and influence, chooses his course of action, holds a tragic flaw, and gains awareness of circumstance that led to his fall. Okonkwo shows several aspects of being a tragic hero.
Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart” tells the story of Okonkwo, an ambitious man from the Igbo village of Umuofia, in modern day Nigeria at the onset of the Colonial era. Okonkwo is a rising member of the society until he inadvertently kills a kinsman and must flee for seven years to his mother’s clan so as not to offend the earth goddess of the village. During this time, British Colonialism reaches the Igbo people and quickly alters their traditional way of life. Through this tale of the Igbo Achebe seeks to illustrate the complexities of African societies and how deeply
Since the civilization of the African continent the natives were seen as uncivilized and wild. Achebe throughout Things Fall Apart works to counter these very stereotypes. Set in an Ibo village in Nigeria during the start of European civilization, the book focuses on the main character Okonkwo and his prideful life to give insight on the true nature of Ibo culture. Achebe uses the abstract concept of the patriarchal society and importance of conversation to humanize the Ibo people.
Modern-day readers of this novel not only relate easily to traditional proverbs and tales but also sympathize with the problems of Okonkwo, Nwoye, and other characters. Achebe has skillfully developed his characters, and even though they live in a different era and a very different culture, one can readily understand their motivations and their feelings because they are universal and timeless.
The novel, things fall apart was set in the late nineteenth century which was a period of conflict and drastic change in Africa, where indigenous societies clashed with imperialistic European powers. The author, Chinua Achebe adds this tension of the historic British colonial expansion to present another dimension to Okonkwo's tragedy. Achebe challenges ethnocentric views of Africa through his use of language throughout the novel. The author also includes themes of Cultural relativism by introducing the Ibo’s traditions and language.
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre. The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,”. Things Fall Apart, a story written by Chinua Achebe, depicts the African experience of European colonization in lower Niger during the 19th century through the eyes of Okonkwo, a leader of the Igbo community. Achebe centers the story around the compliance of fate and change and the role of free will in determining one's future.
Like a steel shiv through flesh, the European culture made a deep gash in the Igbo culture as a result of their colonization of Nigeria. This left a scar on the Igbo culture, signifying the mark left by the Europeans that will never revert back to what it once was. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart manages to encapsulate the dawn of these events and portray to the reader the consequences of Europe’s invasion of Nigeria. More specifically, the author manages to project these consequences through the character of Okonkwo within the novel, establishing his identity before the Europeans hit, how this colonization alters his thoughts and feelings, all the while utilizing him to bring home the idea, or theme, of the importance of adapting to inevitable change.