Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

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Chi, is what gives life, it differentiates a corpse from a live human being. It is energy that unites the body, mind and spirit. This concept is one that we all would be familiar with and has its origins in early Chinese philosophy, but in terms of the novel “Things Fall Apart” written by Chinua Achebe in 1958, this concept of chi differs slightly. In Igbo there are two distinct meanings of the word chi, the first is often translated as guardian angel, personal spirit etc. and the second day or daylight and is most commonly used for the transitional periods between day and night or night and day. It is an individual’s personal god, whose merit is determined by the individual’s good fortune or lack thereof. It is said that “wherever something stands, something else will stand beside it”, nothing is absolute. A man lives here and his chi there. Meaning that there are two versions of everything, one in the spiritual world and one in the human world. As there is for the characters in the novel. *Put up the two pictures of Okonkwo, write up one for Okonkwo + Okonkwo’s chi*
In the novel “Things Fall Apart”, Okonkwo’s tragic fate can be linked to being the result of his own thoughts to how his chi is problematic, thus Okonkwo ends up not being able to escape the “destiny” of his chi. I will be analyzing the theme of chi throughout the novel “Things Fall Apart” and linking my analysis to how and why I believe Okonkwo’s tragic fate to be the result of his thoughts about his own chi.

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