Things Fall Apart Irony

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IB English 15 December 2013 Perfection Destroys The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, originally written in his native language Ibo, tells the tragic tale of an African pre-Christian tribe seen through the eyes of Okonkwo. Okonkwo became a very successful clan leader in his village, by working hard and refusing to be lazy like his father Unoka. Achebe uses irony to encourage character development, drive the contrast between Okonkwo’s dreams and his reality as others see him, and explain the culture’s beliefs in the way they treat women vs. the way women are revered. Throughout the novel, irony is used to initiative character development, especially Okonkwo’s. Okonkwo grew up with an extremely lazy father that never went…show more content…
Unoka, Okonkwo’s father, made a trip to ask the Oracle why his crops kept failing, “’Every year,’ he [Unoka] said sadly, ‘before I put any crop in the earth, I sacrifice a cock to Ani, the owner of all land. It is the law of our fathers. I also kill a cock at the shrine of Ifejioku, the god of yams’” (Achebe 3.6). It is tradition to make animal sacrifices to the earth goddess during the time of harvest. The people of this tribe not only contact and put trust behind a woman to foresee their future and pacify conflicts, but they sacrifice to the earth goddess to communicate respect, in this case to the earth goddess who has control over the success of the yams, and therefore, their wellbeing. Okonkwo’s strong personality, knack for surviving through tough times, and ability to climb from nothing would not have the same effect if they were not coupled with irony. The theme of irony further pushes the idea of despair and loss throughout the book. The town of Umofia is a town constructed around irony. The tribe constantly contradicts itself with Okonkwo’s refusal to accept his father’s kind and gentle ways, Okonkwo’s self-image versus the way he is ultimately remembered, and the role of ordinary women as opposed to the role their Oracle and goddesses
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