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" Things Fall Apart" By Chinua Achebe's An Analytical Look At Why The Village Of Umofia Fell Apart.

1469 words - 6 pages

Faith has always been a guiding force in man's life. Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart is a story that describes the effects of a new Christian religion in a tribal village of Africa. The tribe has their own language, known as Obi, a dignified culture and a value system that has continued for many years as they trace back into their ancestry. Yet, voids that this culture can no longer fill for modern tribesmen enable white missionaries to intrude upon this system and convert many of the tribe's younger members to the Christian faith. The tribal system falls apart because younger members are unable to remember persons of the past, unable to relate to violence when they have lived in safety and peace and are uninterested in a faith that does not fulfill their needs for music, joy and love, instead of discipline of a higher being.Okonkwo, the protagonist of the story, could remember to "another time" when children, like his own son Nwoye, were not lazy. He could also remember the indolence of his own father, Unoka, and that his father had not received any titles as a clansman. He was determined to be a respected farmer of yams to ward off the shame of his unsuccessful and dishonorable father.Fortunately, among these people a man was judged byhis worth and not according to the worth of his father...As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he couldeat with kings. Okonkwo had clearly washed his handsand so he ate with kings and elders. (page 8)This was Okonkwo's motive in life and so he remained prosperous throughout his life and worked hard to prove to others that he was not the same man as his father. Unfortunately, this was not the feeling shared by many in the clan and Okonkwo, in trying to make-up for his father's mistakes, took on the responsibilities of an old man as a young boy and had the mind set of an elder in the community because as was stated, those were the people he ate his meals with and held his discussions with. Okonkwo's own son, Nwoye, did not have the same work ethic and was not working to prove his manhood to the rest of the village. Therefore, for Okonkwo to expect hard work ethics of his son by instinct was unrealistic, because Okonkwo's work ethic was certainly not a genetic result either. This work ethic however is a central value of the community and when younger members of the generation do not feel as though they are responsible for the tribe's continued existence then they may not feel as though an active participation in village life is necessary. On the other hand, perhaps Okonkwo's work ethic was much stronger than the normal that is necessary for the tribe to continue to flourish and he beats Nwoye forgiving only the minimum amount of work expected of him. Perhaps it is the feeling of failure that turns a member of the tribe like Nwoye to Christianity. Perhaps he felt that he would be an inadequate member and would be unable meet the standards necessary for the tribe to succeed and so he turned to the...

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