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Things Fall Apart 3 Essay

1355 words - 5 pages

In Things Fall Apart, the author Chinua Achebe shows the struggles of a village strong man, Okonkwo to achieve eternal greatness and keep the traditions of his village, Umuofia, alive. Okonkwo is portrayed as a person who strongly believes in the importance of showing one's strength and masculinity, and brands 'feminine' and 'weak' anything that does not come up to his standard. As the book progresses, he develops a severe animosity for the Christian missionaries who instate the 'white man's' law in Nigeria, and cause deep rifts between the African people. Upon reading the novel, the reader gets a strong sense of how Achebe develops his story and characters, along the lines, of Irish Poet, William Butler Yeat's "The Second Coming". Achebe repeatedly emphasizes the theme of one entity being impacted upon by another, and ultimately being destroyed or changed drastically. Herein, lies the thrust of his book, that of things falling apart.This is the extract from W.B. Yeat's poem, "The Second Coming" wherefrom Chinua Achebe chose the title of his book, and with good reason: Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.These lines form the epigraph of the novel, and are a conduit for expressing Achebe's main theme i.e. the destruction of one being by another. They also help in focusing the reader throughout the narrative to the underlying idea of the poem. However, before proceeding it is necessary to elaborate on the basic implication of the poem. The image that comes to mind upon reading the first sentence is that of an outward spiral formed by the falconer moving around the forest in search of his prey, the falcon. One can almost see the bird soaring high in the sky, and totally unaware of the hunter stalking it, waiting for the right moment to strike. Finally, when the killer does find his mark, the falcon is shaken from its blissful state. It finds itself involuntarily falling from the sky, and its world crashes around it. For the falcon, everything that it holds dear including itself has been destroyed, and therefore 'anarchy' prevails. Thus, from the very outset, Achebe introduces the idea of desolation. Before the coming of the 'white man', the Ibo culture greatly inculcated the virtues of kinship and unity among the people, as well as the 'will to fight for one's rights'. These values, along with the continuation of the beliefs and practices of ancestors, acted as a cohesive force for the tribes and villages. This was mainly due to the absence of any foreign influx of ideas that undermined those of the Ibo; a lack of influence which was cardinal in helping the people develop a sense of pride in their own culture and ways. However, after the 'white man' came to Nigeria, people began to see alternatives in all aspects of their lives whether it pertained to religion, government or even social structure. For example,...

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