Imagine living in a world of perfect paradise, where no one disturbs you or takes away your freedom of thought. You’re living in pure harmony and feel as if your life is going to be peaceful forever. But what if one day someone comes along and changes your world, taking away your custom beliefs and changing your culture. What would you do? In the novel Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, the character Okonkwo, an indigenous member of the Ibo tribe, comes in conflict with the European settlers as they try to convert his tribe to Christianity. Even though many people choose to convert to this new system, Okonkwo, along with a few friends, respond adversely to this foreign settlement as they attempt to restore order in their native village. As the Europeans bring their religion, messengers, and government into the tribe, the outcome of Okonkwo 's response, causes him to bring his identity into query when he realizes that things that were formerly common, will always collapse in the end.
Change is a natural process that triggers the evolution of human societies; it is the continuous eradication of traditions that are replaced by the new. Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ (TFA), a novel written in 1958, explores the gradual transformation of the Ibo culture as a result of colonialism and also the attitudes the people of Umoufia developed when exposed to foreign ideologies; the change was either accepted or resisted. Peter Skrzynecki’s ‘Crossing The Red Sea’ (CRS) and ‘Feliks Skrzynecki’ (FS) from the Immigrant Chronicle, a poetry collection published in 1975 depicts the evolution of the Australian society due to factors including migration, assimilation and different perceptions. These forces of change contributed to the
Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart, once said: “A man who makes trouble for others is also making troubles for himself”. This concept can be seen in the development of Okonkwo as a character throughout the book. Creating plenty of trouble for others, but ultimately creating the most trouble for himself is possibly the plot for the entire book. Generally, the creation of trouble is not a value that is appreciated in any culture, especially in Umuofia. Okonkwo breaks many of the boundaries and social norms within his culture; his tendency to be immature and unaccountable combined with being very self-concerned and the defiance of elders creates an interesting mix adjacent to the cultural standards.
Furthermore, the Igbo society parallels agrarian societies of a lesser developed world before colonialism unlike British’s religion that has developed into a society of education through urbanization. The novel shows how the Igbo peoples are uneducated on the common understanding of humanity. For example, in Things fall Apart Umuofians believes that the killing of children, specifically twins is ethically right, believing that twins are a work of the devil. When the white man comes they learn the basis of fifth commandment which teaches that God is the decider of who lives and who dies. For this reason, a pregnant woman named Nneka had watched her twin children get killed multiple times. Her family had made her feel as if she has failed to fulfill her womanly duty so she converted to Christianity and found an accepting family. As Achebe states, “Nneka had had four previous pregnancies and childbirths. But each time she had borne twins, and they had been immediately thrown away. Her husband and his family were already becoming highly critical of such a woman and were not unduly perturbed when they found she had fled to join the Christians.” (Chinua Achebe 1958) This example really show how their religion could be deemed as uneducated because their society killed innocent children due to the fact that they were twins whereas in a Christian society they were
In the novel, “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe the Igbo tradition revolves around structured gender role. Everything essential of Igbo life is based on their gender, which throughout the novel it shows the role of women and the position they hold, from their role in the family household, also planting women crops, to bearing children. Although the women were claimed to be weaker and seemed to be treated as objects, in the Igbo culture the women still provided qualities that make them worthy.
Social rank and relative wealth play great roles in determining a person’s life in Umuofia society. Sometimes a man with sheer force of will cannot change his future through hard work. One of the main conflicts in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is the clash between Okonkwo’s determination to succeed, his free will, and fate – which seems to have less appealing things in mind. Okonkwo’s will plays a major factor in determining his future; he chooses to kill Ikemefuna with his own hands, he chooses to kill a government official, and in the end, he chooses to take his own life. However, the pre-destined conditions of his life, his father’s failures, and a series of unfortunate circumstances ultimately lead to Okonkwo’s downfall.
In the village of Umuofia, the Igbo people worship a religion of many deities. Their polytheistic religion consists of gods related to nature such as rain, sun, etc. The most important deity is the goddess of the Earth; Igbo people frain from committing sins against the goddess of the Earth in fear of complete genocide. The European missionaries introduce Umuofia to a monotheistic religion, Christianity. The Igbo people fear what they can’t understand, such as medicine. Igbo people feared the “white man”, however, missionaries successfully convert some Igbo people into Christian, causing them to be shamed by the hierarchy of men in the village. The conversion caused changes in Igbo culture and influenced the Igbo people to behave in a way that was unheard of before the European missionaries arrived. Enoch, a recently converted Christian, committed one of the worst crimes in
In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Christianity is introduced to a tribal clan through missionaries. The clan, however, has their own religion, which comprises of a clear social structure. While the mission is beneficial to many members of the clan, others are not content with the new influence. The Agbala—men with no title—are grateful for the new religion: the mission provides them with a new opportunity to become a respected member of society. The powerful men are wary of this change, as it decreases their power and status in the society, and allows for more social freedom and movement. As many in the tribe take to the new religion, the culture is slowly forgotten, causing conflict. When the missionaries enter Umuofia and attempt
Not only do the Igbo worship gods such as Chukwu with the morning prayer (Arinze and Kaulu 4366), but they also worship their ancestors. Because of their belief in life after death, they create special shrines for their ancestors (Okeke et al. 3) and create statues to represent them (Arinze and Kaulu 4366). One other key form of worship is through sacraments such as the kola nut and palm wine, which “reveal Igbo thoughts about the universe, creation, and the divine” (Njoku and Uzukwu 3-4). For example, as a form of worship, the Igbo pour out drops of palm wine as a way of honoring one’s ancestors (Arinze and Kaulu
In Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, Ezinma battles an internal conflict of wanting to act like the opposite gender, but is looked down upon because of her sex. Ezinma ultimately resolves this conflict by following the expectations of society; however, this choice also illustrates her true character as both rebellious and ladylike. Ezinma’s decision to follow the gender roles also reveals the universal theme that social orders may determine how an individual acts according to stereotypes and gender roles.
In the novel, Things Fall Apart, written by Chinua Achebe the Igbo people encounter the “white man” who brings forward change. He brings with him the religion of Christianity to the clan. Up to this point the Igbo believed in natural spirits and their egwugwu and their oracle provided everything they need to do. The church was becoming appealing because it offered redemption from being ostracized, didn’t require the murder of others, and offered a less punishable god.
As a story about a culture on the verge of change, Things Fall Apart deals with how the prospect and reality of change affect various characters. To some extent, Okonkwo’s resistance of cultural change is also due to his fear of losing societal status. Long scorned, these outcasts find in the Christian value system a refuge from the Igbo cultural values that place them below everyone else. The tension about whether change should be privileged over tradition often involves questions of personal status. Okonkwo, for example, resists the new political and religious orders because he feels that they are not manly and that he himself will not be manly if he consents to join or even tolerate them.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” [Benjamin Franklin] In the book, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, Okonkwo prepares for himself to fail in his later years of life. Okonkwo’s mental attitude kept him from preparing himself for success when his clan started to fall apart. Throughout the book, Okonkwo developed a personality that restricted him from accepting reality, and when his fantasy world fell apart, his lack of preparation and his attitude led him to failure. Okonkwo keeps running from all his fears instead of facing them, in the long-term this creates problems when his biggest fears return and he is unable to conquer them. The next state of mentality that caused problems was that Okonkwo could not adapt to
The novel “Things Fall Apart” written by Chinua Achebe, is a tale based on the traditional beliefs and customs of an Ibo village during late 1800’s Africa. Through the telling of this story, we witness the remarkable depth of Igbo culture through its functions of religion, politics, judiciary and entertainment.