Theme Of Symbols In Things Fall Apart And The Poisonwood Bible

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Symbols have a major impact on both Things Fall Apart and The Poisonwood Bible. They help display the story in different perspectives and help us understand concepts we don’t always pick up on when first reading the novels. These symbols reveal more in depth detail about the themes of each novel as well as add to the development of characters. Some major symbols seen in Things Fall Apart are the locusts which make a reference to the Bible and are a metaphor for the coming missionaries, Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, who symbolizes Okonkwo’s failures, and fire which symbolizes destruction. The major themes in The Poisonwood Bible are the snake which represents a character from the bible, Methuselah who symbolizes the fate of the Congo and the poisonwood tree which symbolizes Nathan’s mistakes.
The first symbol we see in Things Fall Apart is Okonkwo’s father, Unoka. Unoka was a failure all throughout Okonkwo’s childhood, he was lazy and a coward. He is a significant symbol in the novel because he is the reason why Okonkwo is the way he is. Okonkwo doesn’t want to be a failure
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Nathan is warned about the tree at the beginning of the book but he ignores the warning and ends up getting major swelling and rashes on his arms and hands. Depending on how the Congolese word for tree is spoken, whether slowly or quickly, can cause the meaning to change. Nathan is ignorant and because of this, week after week he accidently compares Jesus to the local tree which can cause pain in your life rather than referring to him as the tree of life as was his intention. This symbol relates to the theme because although the “Jesus is like your local tree which can cause pain in your life” comparison wasn’t the intended message, it ends up being true for Nathan. His actions lead to the loss of his daughter because of his arrogance and determination to stay and continue his mission despite his family distancing themselves from

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