Similar Themes in Things Fall Apart and The Second Coming
The novel "Things Fall Apart" examines African culture before the colonial infiltration. Achebe's novel forces us to examine the customs and traditions that make up an informal culture. At times we may find some their practices appalling, but Achebe makes us realize that the traditions and customs are what essentially hold the Ibo together. Achebe wrote 'Things Fall Apart" with the intention of changing the common view of African culture. He wrote the novel from an insider's perspective, revealing that African culture was not solely based on barbaric and mindless rituals. Achebe reveals the affects of the colonial infiltration on African societies. Through his novel he examines how colonization disturbed the unity and balance of a once strong cultural society.
William Butler Yeats, a renowned Irish poet, responded similarly to Achebe during World War II by writing the "Second Coming".
Yeats wrote his poem in response to the rise of fascism and communism which threatened to destroy Europe. Yeats believed that history revolved in two thousand-year cycles. The end of the cycles resulted in chaos and destruction. Much like "Things Fall Apart", "The Second Coming" addresses the idea of balance, interdependence, individualism, and community. Achebe shows how the interruption of the cyles in the Ibo culture caused things to slowly fall apart. The poem addresses the cyclic movements of events and history. As a result, both can be seen as being intertwined.
Yeats opens his poem with a doom-like statement. He states "Turning and turning in the widening gyre." This enhances the cyclic image that Yeats is trying to portray. Here, Yeats is incenuating that events run in cycles. The "widening gyre" reflects the importance of the cyclic view of time, which is a vital part of the Ibi culture. Based on this idea we can assume or wonder if the events that Achebe portray in his novel have happened before or if the interruption of the Ibo cycle was inevitable.
Achebe portrays the life of the Ibo tribe before the first touch of the white men. Before the colonial infiltration the Ibo had a very cyclic view of time. Their beleifs and rituals were practiced the same rit at the same time every year. Where as the white man's traditions and view of time were much more linear. Right from the Ibo's first encounter with the whites, the reader can observe the cycle as being unchangeably altered. It is the coming of thei missionaries which brings the...