Why Achebe Chose The Title Things Fall Apart

683 words - 3 pages

By the sound of the title, Things Fall Apart, one can conclude that the ending will literally fall apart. In this book about a respected leader, in the Umuofia tribe of the Igbo people, named Okonkwo, attempts to be his father’s opposite. Through many events that occurred, such as murdering his adopted son and getting exiled to his mother’s home, Mbanta, Okonkwo slowly leads to his downfall of killing himself. The traditional African values, traditions and culture tumble to the edge because of Western culture, traditions, and religion and relates to the Poem “The Second Coming” because this poem describes the downfall of the old and traditional ways of culture just like with Okonkwo. At the end, Okonkwo hangs himself because his clan would not go to war against the white men. This was a tragic ending, but is his downfall the only reason and motivator to name the book “Things Fall Apart”? Where did Achebe get his inspiration for naming his book? The author chose the title ...view middle of the document...

Whether it is because the years are passing or because of imperialism, the poem, “The Second Coming”, and “Things Fall Apart” represent the ways of traditional life changing.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The poem, “The Second Coming” could also be the outcome of a mind troubled with worrying feelings. Another analysis of the second coming would be that the poem talks about how in the medieval times, people would use falcons to track down animals at ground level. The falcon got itself lost by flying too far way, which one can conclude and read this as a reference to the collapse of traditional social arrangements in Europe at the times Yeats was writing. The Second Coming is really about the demise of a society by colonization.
A quote from the poem “The Second Coming” that relates to “Things Fall Apart” would be “The center cannot hold.” This is just the case for the book Things Fall Apart. This is a great example of the traditional values of the Igbo people being lost because of European influences coming in and colonizing. Yeats wrote this poem after the end of the World War I, where the rise of fascism and communism were on the rise. The Second Coming describes what Yeats predicts to happen after the European society broke down- violence, and he was right.
Achebe while titling his book, Achebe was probably associating the breakdown of the village based tribal social structures under the influence of colonialism, missionary bribery and urbanism. From the lines of the poem, “The Second Coming”, the falcons are the people who cannot hear their traditions and culture calling and they fly further and further from the middle and center of their culture. Because of this, their traditional life falls apart and with the loss of those values confusion, chaos and disorder are “loosed upon the world”. The image that Achebe creates when writing about the collapse of the traditional social arrangements in Europe at the time shows the dissolution of the Igbo social and religious structure.

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