Things Fall Apart Critical Lens Essay

829 WordsDec 10, 20114 Pages
The essence of a literature, in most cases, parallels life’s mysteries. As Ernest Hemingway put it, “To be truly memorable, a book must have at its core one of life’s great quests: the quest for love, truth, or power.” In other words, the very heart of a text must show its readers the pursuit of self-fulfillment. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, reveals through the customs and traditions of Ibo culture, as well as the choices and consequences made by each character that a body of work is only worthwhile if there is a search for love, truth, or power. First, the customs and traditions of Ibo culture illustrate that a novel is only memorable if it sets forth a quest for truth. For example, Obierika sought truth after burning down…show more content…
Uchendu humbles him with the truth that when a woman dies it is good for no one. Moreover, the idea that “Mother is Supreme” is a fundamental part of the customs and traditions of Ibo culture. In essence, the customs and traditions of each character in Things Fall Apart further the search for truth, love, and power. Secondly, the choices and consequences made by the characters demonstrate that a book is meaningful when there is a journey of love, truth, or power. For example, the men from Abame chose to kill the white man on the horse who arrived in their village. This proved foolish as a few weeks later the village was decimated by whoever the white man had been associated with. Uchendu reflects on this by saying, “Never kill a man who says nothing.” He also emphasizes his point with the story of Mother Kite. The choices and consequences made by the men from Abame progresses the plot. In effect, it also progresses the quest for truth and power because the deaths of these men made the impending threat of European settlement real. Another example is when Okonkwo killed one of the court messengers. In doing this, he strove to regain power that the tribe had lost. Okonkwo desired to root out Christianity for the betterment of the tribe, but already so many tribesmen had been converted. Prior to this occurrence the speaker at the meeting explicated, “Men shoot without missing their mark and I have learned to fly

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