Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

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Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, is set in Nigeria during the 1890’s. The novel focuses on the clash between Nigeria’s white government and the culture of the Igbo people. Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan, by Bruce Feiler, covers Feiler’s journey to Japan to teach English and American culture for a year in the 1980’s. Throughout each novel, the reader is presented many different elements of each societies beliefs and culture. The central conflict surrounding each novel involves one unique, isolated, culture attempting to keep its traditions in a time where Western culture is demanding a change. Things Fall Apart and Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan, discuss the effect of two unfamiliar cultures on each other when cohabitation takes place. Things Fall Apart deals with tension about whether or not change should be accepted over tradition. Okonkwo resisting the new political and religious orders shows the tension change provides. He feels that the new orders are not manly and that he himself will not be manly if he consents to join them. In some way, Okonkwo’s intransigence to the new orders revolves around his placement among society. His sense of self-worth is dependent upon the traditional hierarchy by which society places him. Okonkwo is placed at the top of the hierarchy, and if he were to embrace Christianity, he would then be on the same level as the outcasts of society. Many of the clan’s outcasts were inspired to embrace Christianity as a
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