Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart

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Pardis Kianoush Western Civilization II Nicole Watkins 11/26/2014 Things Fall Apart 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. The…show more content…
The novel has many different themes that we have seen before in numerous instances throughout the history of western civilization, but I am going to discuss gender roles, religion and change in cultural changes as themes that I have found most interesting in this book. Right at the beginning of the book, gender stereotypes were made very clear when the Mbaino town was given an ultimatum of going to war or giving up a young boy and a young virgin girl, “they decided, as everyone knew they would, that the girl should go to Ogbuefi Odu to replace his murdered wife. As for the boy, he belonged to the clan as a whole, and there was no hurry to decide his fate.” This shows that during this time in Nigeria, women were seen more as possessions than males were. In this case, the young girl has more of a predetermined role than the boy does. They weren’t sure what to do with the boy yet, but they knew the only thing the girl was good for was replacing Ogbuefi Odu’s wife- so women were seen as replaceable, like they were all the same. Similarly in 19th century England, women, although valued for reproduction, were not valued for much else. Their roles were clear cut in tending to house and husband and providing children. It was not until Emmeline Pankhurst’s suffragette movement in the early 20th century that women began to receive some social and political rights. Also, early on in the book, Okonkwo was said to have resented his father after a playmate
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