Okonkwo is a respected and influential leader within the Igbo community of Umuofia in eastern Nigeria. He first earns personal fame and distinction, and brings honor to his village, when he defeats Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contest. Okonkwo determines to gain titles for himself and become a powerful and wealthy man in spite of his father's weaknesses. Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was a lazy and wasteful man.
The theme — often several themes — guides the author by controlling where the story goes, what the characters do, what mood is portrayed, what style evolves, and what emotional effects the story will create in the reader. This collision of cultures occurs at the individual and societal levels, and the cultural misunderstanding cuts both ways: Just as the uncompromising Reverend Smith views Africans as "heathens," the Igbo initially criticize the Christians and the missionaries as "foolish.
Writing as an African who had been "Europeanized," Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart as "an act of atonement with [his] past, the ritual return and homage of a prodigal son. Destiny Related to the theme of cultural clash is the issue of how much the flexibility or the rigidity of the characters and by implication, of the British and Igbo contribute to their destiny.
Two other characters contrast with Okonkwo in this regard: Whereas Okonkwo is an unyielding man of action, the other two are more open and adaptable men of thought. Brown wins converts by first respecting the traditions and beliefs of the Igbo and subsequently allowing some accommodation in the conversion process.
Like Brown, Obierika is also a reasonable and thinking person. He does not advocate the use of force to counter the colonizers and the opposition. Rather, he has an open mind about changing values and foreign culture: With all its deep roots in tribal heritage, the community hardly takes a stand against the intruders — against new laws as well as new religion.
What accounts for this lack of community opposition?
Was Igbo society more receptive and adaptable than it appeared to be? The lack of strong initial resistance may also come from the fact that the Igbo society does not foster strong central leadership. This quality encourages individual initiative toward recognition and achievement but also limits timely decision-making and the authority-backed actions needed on short notice to maintain its integrity and welfare.
Whatever the reason — perhaps a combination of these reasons — the British culture and its code of behavior, ambitious for its goals of native "enlightenment" as well as of British self-enrichment, begin to encroach upon the existing Igbo culture and its corresponding code of behavior. A factor that hastens the decline of the traditional Igbo society is their custom of marginalizing some of their people — allowing the existence of an outcast group and keeping women subservient in their household and community involvement, treating them as property, and accepting physical abuse of them somewhat lightly.
The lack of a clear, sustaining center of authority in Igbo society may be the quality that decided Achebe to draw his title from the Yeats poem, "The Second Coming.
This theme is also played at the individual and societal levels. Okonkwo, at his best, feels that his chi supports his ambition: At his worst, Okonkwo feels that his chi has let him down: His chi "was not made for great things.
A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation" Chapter In addition to the three themes discussed in this essay, the thoughtful reader will probably be able to identify other themes in the novel:Things Fall Apart by: Chinua Achebe Things Test your knowledge of Things Fall Apart with our quizzes and study questions, or go Get ready to write your paper on Things Fall Apart with our suggested essay topics, sample essays, and more.
How to Write Literary Analysis;. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe - Chinua Achebe is a well known contemporary writer from Africa. In his first novel, Things Fall Apart, deals with the conflict of cultures and the violent changes and values brought upon by the British colonialism of Nigeria.
May 09, · Free Study Guide: Things Fall Apart Book Summary / Analysis / Chapter Notes / Free Book Notes / Online / Download / by Chinua Achebe. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products.
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In this deceptively slim and elegantly written book there are at least three stories. One is a story of traditional African village life and culture in full detail (including a glossary of African terms).