The Struggle Between Tradition and Change

1056 WordsNov 3, 20125 Pages
ENGL 2112 October 17, 2012 In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the reader is taken on a literary journey to a Nigerian tribe, the Umuofia, to experience first-hand the struggles of a warrior named Okonkwo. At first glance, the novel appears to be written for a very specific audience: scholars familiar with Nigerian history, traditions, and culture. However, upon further examination the novel reveals itself to be a striking chronicle of human experiences, universal themes, and timeless struggles that appeal to every human, regardless of familiarity with Nigerian culture. Taken as a whole, the novel appears to be much more than the sum of its parts: syntax, diction, figurative language, imagery, repetition, and symbols. Things…show more content…
He was a flaming fire” (153). The metaphor of fire is perfect to describe Okonkwo’s character, and yields a deep analysis of human feelings and personality. Like a fire, Okonkwo is violent, and burns whatever he touches. In many cases, he “burns” his own family. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo harasses on his wives and son, beats his family, and kills three innocent people not including him. In many cases, he hurts his family for trivial reasons. For instance, Okonkwo chastised and beat his son, Nwoye, for merely listening to his mother’s stories. He beat Nwoye again when he discovered him helping women with their household tasks. Okonkwo saw within Nwoye the same “effeminate” essence of his the father whom he hates so much. Ultimately, the success of Things Fall Apart as a novel of literary merit is due to Achebe’s use of universal literary themes like self-exploration, change, tradition, cultural clash, and masculinity versus femininity. No matter what language is spoken by the reader or what time period they come from, Achebe’s writing about the human experience is relevant and significant. Mankind has many different faces. Although fear and anger are reactions that all men have, if left unchecked, they will consume all one has worked for and eventually destroy everything that one holds dear. Because of that, before actions are taken, much consideration should be taken to make
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