Essay on Yeatsian and Western Influences on Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Yeatsian and Western Influences on Things Fall Apart

The Igbo culture is flexible and continuous; its laws are made by men and are not solid and permanent. Change is implicit in oral culture. Igbos have been able to retain their core beliefs and behavior systems for 5000 years because of the flexibility and adaptability of their culture. Yeats says things collapse from within before they are overwhelmed by things from without- Umuofia's collapse is its loss of faith, and that is also its strength, it's refusal to fight. But this self-destruction, this bending of societal codes is what keeps the culture from being annihilated. One fundamental question that occurs while trying to figure out how Yeats fits into an understanding of
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Obierika serves in the novel as an almost perfect representation of the Igbo tribesman, a wise man and a warrior, with just enough female in him to please the earth goddess. And yet Obierika has doubts. He wonders at the necessity of discarding his twins (125), he mourns for his friend Okonkwo and questions the tribe's decision to banish him saying, "Why should a man suffer so grievously for an offence he had committed inadvertently?"(125). Okonkwo's oldest son Nwoye also has doubts about many of his culture's mandates, and sometimes feels as though "something had given way inside him" (62). Christianity, when it finally comes, is seen in this context as a "fulfillment of historic trends among the Igbos; Nwoye has sought something other and thinks he has found it in Christianity."(Kartenaar 333).

Yeats predicts all of this in the changing over of a civilization. The "misfits and rejects of one civilization" are the "converts for the conquering faith" of another (Wright 80). This proves true in the ready conversions of the Umuofia 'abominations.' The strength of the new religion lies in its appeal to the forgotten sections of Umuofian society. Mr. Kiaga, the missionary in OkonkwoÕs motherland, even goes so far as to admit the osu, the long-haired outcasts of the tribe, into his church community (157). Yeats believes that civilizations, by creating their own 'abominations,' "select their
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