The Center Does Not Hold: A Cultural-Religious Hole in Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' and 'No Longer at Ease'

1339 Words Jan 13th, 2018 5 Pages
Okonkwo rejects the new religion of the Christian missionaries, even though it is evident that the ancient customs which he wants to continue to practice are out of favor. Obi rejects both the ancient customs (one should not marry an osu) and the modern principles (one should not take bribes) in order to try to reconcile the varying aspects of his life which are in conflict with one another. Thus, the titles of both works reflect the condition of a decaying tribal African culture which suddenly collides with the decaying culture of a Western world. It is no accident that Achebe chose a phrase from the Irish poet W. B. Yeats' "The Second Coming" it is a poem which encapsulates everything the novel seems to say about the modern world, whether it is Western or African: something is lacking "the centre cannot hold." This paper will analyze the problem of center which could not hold in Achebe's Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease by putting two significant lines from the novels into context and explaining their importance. At the end of Things Fall Apart, we are given a glimpse into the mind of the District Commissioner, whose rule is now law in Niger. Like the proud President in No Longer…