Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

3287 Words14 Pages
Chinua Achebe’s postcolonial novel Things Fall Apart was first published in 1958 and narrates the fall of a great Ibo (Nigerian) warrior, Okwonko, after the arrival of white colonialists. Tony Harrison’s Selected Poems was published in 2006 and includes poems taken from his renowned sonnet sequence School of Eloquence, which draw upon Harrison’s own upbringing and pay tribute to the challenges of the British working class. Finally William Golding’s dystopian novel Lord of the Flies, first published in 1954, is about the struggle faced by a group of young boys abandoned on a desert island to retain civilisation and basic humanity. Problems with expression and communication are central in all three texts, and are explored on several levels.…show more content…
Later on, after beating his wife during the sacred Week of Peace, a serious sin in the Ibo tribal religion, Achebe writes that ‘Inwardly, he (Okonkwo) was repentant. But he was not the man to go about telling his neighbours that he was in error’. The hint of hubris in this quote suggests that Okonkwo could be seen as a typical literary tragic hero. He is a man of high standing in his own society, but his prideful refusal to express himself - which could be seen as his hamartia or fatal flaw - eventually leads to his suicide, arguably his ultimate downfall, or peripeteia. Achebe writes that ‘Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger. To show affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength’. The extremity of Okonkwo’s aversion to self-expression is demonstrated with the use of negations such as ‘never’ and ‘only’ which allow for no alternative. This hamartia negatively affects his relationships with his eldest son, Nwoye. Although only twelve years old, Nwoye ‘knew that his father wanted him to be a man. And so he feigned that he no longer cared for women’s 443 words stories’. The verb ‘feigned’ indicates that despite the pressure the young boy felt to conform to his father’s expectations not to fully express himself, he could not do so genuinely. Thus, when Nwoye first hears the Christian missionaries sing of
Open Document