Essays on Things Fall Apart

Essays on Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Chinua Achebe that shows the conflicts in Nigeria during the nineteenth century. During this time, missionaries from Great Britain arrived in Nigeria. In this novel, the main character, Okonkwo, resists changes brought about by the British missionaries. Okonkwo’s close friend, Obierika, shares the same dislike towards the change but isn’t as willing to fight them. Instead, Obierika, along with the tribe, is forced to accept the changes to their culture. Their attitude to change is an example of their many differences. It shows that although Okonkwo and Obierika are close friends, they contrast in personalities, family relations, and attitudes towards change.

Essay on Thing Fall Apart (150 words)

Things Fall Apart demonstrates the boundaries between the Africans and the Western colonizers. Additionally, it shows how the capitalism of the western colonialist influenced the African culture, traditions, values, and religion. The colonizers employed worrying strategies to subjugate the Africans to unfamiliar races that introduced foreign manner of administration, education, and faith. As a result, the Africans developed a desire for western culture, while they reconsidered their culture for its religion with dissatisfaction.

On the other hand, Things Fall Apart discusses how the Africans resisted some of the changes and gave a depiction of the manner in which they were seeking their independence. Therefore, to this end, Achebe is considered as a frontrunner of the battle against powers of colonialism. Therefore, Achebe novel had spread the religious and cultural beliefs of the Igbo people in the late 19th century widely which during this period the Igbo people had gods and goddesses within a chain of command. As a result, a typical man from the Igbo society possesses a shrine with personal gods and ancestral spirits made of woods while the deities protected different villages in the Igbo society. Additionally, the Igbo people also had a goddess of the earth, whose primary role was to give the land its fertility. The people also sought the lesser gods with prayers so that any prayers would be delivered to the highest god (Singh, 2013).

Essay on Thing Fall Apart (450 words)

In Thing Fall Apart the author explains the theme of masculinity vs femininity, the deaths of some characters, and all these ties into the title that things are falling apart in this novel.

Also part of the novel explains the clash between the cultures. Achebe explores the themes of masculinity and femininity. The main character as an example, Okonkwo he was a man that wanted to prove himself to only to his father but also a coward and irresponsible, and unfortunately he died a poor man that was in debt because he kept borrowing money from people. However, he views his father as this man that was slow and womanly.

Another part of the novel where things fall apart is the deaths of the two most important characters. First, Ikemefuna was sacrificed to prevent a war Okonkwo looked at him like a son he was killed by a tribe out of fear unfortunately Okonkwo lied to him saying they were going home, he had a feeling he was lying and thought he will be seeing his mother again then starts seeing his song, “Eze Elina, Elina! Sala Eze ilikwa ya Ikwaba akwa oligholi Ebe Danda bechi eze Ebe Uzuzu nete egwu Sala.” Moreover, Ikemefuna begs for help from his “father” and that’s when Okonkwo then slashes him with a machete. Then, Okonkwo kills himself so he wouldn’t be executed by the “white man’s law” he couldn't stop the European men who took control and changed his own village so he gave up, and even though killing himself is a disgrace to his clan he just decided to hang himself he dies in disgrace just like his father, even though he had many titles and honors.

Culture collision was also a big part of this novel. Okonkwo faces that, many changes came when the Europeans arrived they tried to convert people of Igbo and Christianity. However, Okonkwo didn’t want any part of that because he thought it isn't manly enough he also felt that he will lose his masculinity if he went with the new religion. Unfortunately, Ibo citizens are caught between resisting and sticking to the changes that had happened. Nwoye did convert to Christianity which was positive for him it came with some things such as; education and trade.

The novel had a message behind the title meaning nothing ever stays the same thing will fall apart and you just have to be okay with change, there are still many questions such as what happened to Okonkwo’s family or what happened in Nwoye after he got into the Christianity aspect. Reading this novel definitely was a learning and eye-opening experience I recommend people to read this novel to get a grip of understanding of the African culture. 

Essay on Thing Fall Apart (1500 words)

In Things Fall Apart, Achebe has portrayed African society with great honesty. He has shown how the African culture is constructive, but on the other hand, he has openly discussed the main shortcomings associated with it. Therefore, he depicts the behavior of Africans as unreasonable, as shown by how superstitious the people were, especially around the matters of religion. The Igbo people had faith in Omen, for instance, it was considered a bad omen for the eyelid to twitch because it was an indication that the victim would cry (Achebe, 1994). As a result, the faith the people of Igbo had in Omen shaped their behavior and the manner they conducted themselves. According to Alam (2014), “Achebe has offered the reader the history of Igbo people, his people with both strong point and inadequacies through his depiction of the festivals, worship, the ritual ceremonies, and other social practices.” Additionally, Irele (2000) asserts that “Things Fall Apart represented an African society image as well as the image of a comprehensible social structure that helped in the formation of the institutional fabric of values and meanings.” Despite this, the Westerners perceived Africa as an area of formless life, full of darkness, and with no human significance.

Nevertheless, in Things Fall Apart, Achebe has interconnected occurrences that illustrate the irrationality and cruelty of the beliefs Igbo people carried. The first event concerns the guardianship of a boy called Ikemefuna by Okonkwo and his captivity by the village dweller later to serve as a disbursement of peace between villages when an Umuofian female was slain by his father. Although Okonkwo loved this boy as his flesh and blood, fear of being perceived as a coward overtook him, and he decided to obey the oracle‘s warning that the boy should be killed, thereby murdering him. After the killing, Okonkwo is said to be restless and could not sleep where he “felt like a drunken giant walking with the limbs of a mosquito” (Achebe, 1994). Due to the ignorance of the society, some beliefs, like the one depicted in this example, ended up causing far-reaching harm to the Africans.
There were also very complex rituals that influenced the everyday lives of Igbo people. Things Fall Apart has reflected on the many rituals with a precision that is not usual. For example, the novel discusses the manner in which there was a very narrow space between an individual’s identity and the ancestors in the Igbo society. Achebe asserts that:
“The land of the living was not far removed from the domain of the ancestors. There was coming and going between them, especially at festivals and also when some old person died, because an old man was believed to be very close to the ancestors. A man 's life from birth to death was considered a series of transition rites, which brought him nearer and nearer to his ancestors” (Achebe, 1994).
He continues to note that, “among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten” (Achebe, 1994). It is for this reason that the Igbo people made use of proverbs and myths to express meaning (Singh, 2013).

The original African culture was based on credulous and absurd belief that although were associated with shortcoming, also had a positive worth. Nevertheless, beliefs were the primary factor that unified the people of a given community. In Things Fall Apart, Achebe has related events that approve that despite the deficiencies associated with the African culture, no single culture is perfect, especially the western culture (Strong-Leek, 2001). For instance, Okonkwo’s speech shows a clash of civilization, as it revealed some irrationality in the Christian beliefs that the westerners brought, “you told us with your own mouth that there was only one god. Now you talk about his son. He must have a wife, then" (Achebe, 1994). The whites spoke of African gods as pieces of wood, a phrase that Okonkwo would dispute within his conscience. From such utterances, Achebe suggests that there is no perfectly rational and logical religion and culture.
Impact of the New Religion by Westerners on African Culture
As a result, the new religion was very substantial in altering the philosophy of the Africans. Christianity was very attracting to the young people in the African society. However, the rest of the population felt that the Westerners failed to understand the African customs, primarily because they never used or understood their Igbo language. For example, according to Achebe (1994):
“How can he, when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
Alam (2014) asserts that “Things Fall Apart is very convenient to post-colonial period writers who had faced a weathering of their traditional values due to the extreme publicities to different European cultures that made treacherous progressions upon way of life of Africans.” Also, Alam (2014) believes that the European novelists usually represented Africans poorly and Achebe aimed at reaffirming the identity of Africans.

As Okonkwo illustrated, Africans were true patriots as they were deeply hurt to see their fellow village dwellers change and break away from the long-held beliefs and values they understood. According to Achebe (1994), Okonkwo was so distraught by the changes that he murdered an envoy of the Court of the District Commissioner who had come to terminate the villager’s meeting. Later, it was evident that there was nothing that could be done to protest against the Westerners, thereby, making Okonkwo become isolated and ending his life. The Igbo society did not approve of suicide, which made Okonkwo burial an abomination. He, thereby, lost his status and reputation, “it is against our custom… It is an abomination for a man to take his own life. It is an offense against the Earth, and a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen, His, body is evil, and only strangers may touch it” (Achebe, 1994). Therefore, the westerners did not have any rights to crush the native beliefs that the African society held. In turn, the villagers accused the District Commissioner as the individual accountable for Okonkwo’s death, “You drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog” (Achebe, 1994). Before the powers of colonialism arrived in Africa, the Africans lived in a collective political system, where the elders were responsible for decision-making at the village level, while at homes, the decisions were made by husbands (Singh, 2013). Nevertheless, Things Fall Apart is an illustration of the lost dignity of Africans during the colonial period. Before the European colonial powers invaded Africa, the people of Igbo “had a philosophy of great depth and value and beauty, which they had poetry and, above all, they had dignity” (Achebe, 1994).
The Preserved African Dignity


However, Things Fall Apart also illustrates how the African society got institutional democracy, tolerance of its culture, a balance of principles between males and females, aptitude to change positively, and met new conditions, wealth distribution channels, and a moral system of justice (Rhoads, 2014). Achebe has used the Igbo culture to portray to the rest of African and the entire world the dignity of cultures, in this case, the African culture. Hence, Achebe’s work serves as the foundation upon which other writers can repair the damage any other European writers have committed towards the African culture in the manner they depicted the Africans as being unruly. Things Fall Apart has endeavored to demonstrate the mistaken attitudes from Europeans towards Africans, thereby, shifting the outlook people have towards Africa and its inhabitants. For example, the Europeans felt that they would only enlighten Africans since to them Africans were savages (Singh, 2013).

In conclusion, Things Fall Apart acknowledges the flaws present in different societies as well as the various cultural perspectives that each community harbors. However, Achebe suggests individuals should appreciate their cultures. As a result, Africans have a culture that no one has a right to alter. Achebe implores Africans to have self-respect and dignity to their cultural history. Therefore, Achebe, through Things Fall Apart, attacks the misrepresentative Europeans’ texts and provides a new light by showing how colonialism by the European influenced the African society to adopt their foreign ways as a means of superior to those of Africans.

 

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We've found 33 essays on Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

“Like many African writers, Achebe paints a sympethetic protrait of tribal life as it comes in conflict with European civilization. He fuses ancient proverbs and political ideologies to make his point.” The novel “Things Fall Apart” has a fairly sympethetic and understanding tone. The words …

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Okonkwo and Sonjara

The definition of hero is a man admired for his achievements andqualities, especially one displaying great courage. The presence of a hero has been around in nearly every novel of some nature. Throughout the book, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe presentsmany aspects of how the …

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Modern World: Things Fall Apart

“ We cannot leave the matter in his hands because he doesn’t not understand our customs, just as we do not understand his. We say he is foolish because he does not know our ways, and perhaps he says we are foolish because we do …

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Interesting Passages Response from Things Fall Apart

“Clearly his personal god or chi was not made for great things. A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. The saying of the elders was not true- that if a man said yea his chi also affirmed. Here was a man …

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Things Fall Apart Tragic Hero

The role of a tragic hero within a story line is essential in a dramatic film or written work. The hero has the standards of becoming a great character that can take charge of the story through courageous action and bold dialogue. However, since the …

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Things Fall Apart Novel

The novel Things Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe, is a story based on a tribe in a village known as Ibo. The story takes place in the late 1800’s in Africa. The author shares the life of traditional beliefs and customs of the tribe …

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Things Fall Apart: Chapters 15-25

Chapter 15 The chapter is set during the second year of Okonkwo’s exile. Obierika goes to visit him, bringing bags of cowries. Okonkwo, Uchendu, and Obierika converse in Okonkwo’s hut and Obierika brings news of a tribe’s downfall, Abame. The tribe had been completely wiped …

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Butterflies in Catawaba

Summer Reading: Things Fall Apart by China Achebe Seniors: Your summer reading assignment is China Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Get a copy as soon as you can from the School Store at Lamar High School for $9. 00. Also, if you qualify for free/reduced lunch, …

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The Struggle Between Tradition and Change

October 17, 2012 In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the reader is taken on a literary journey to a Nigerian tribe, the Umuofia, to experience first-hand the struggles of a warrior named Okonkwo. At first glance, the novel appears to be written for a …

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Things Fall Apart (Coming of White Men)

Thing Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Discuss how the coming of the White men makes Umuofia “fall apart”. Make reference to the religious, economic, political and social impact of the British culture on the traditions of the clan. As the novel opens, we get to know …

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Themes in Things Fall Apart

In Chinua Achebe’s acclaimed novel, Things Fall Apart, there are various themes which make up the complexity and richness of the story. Although it is a work of fiction, Achebe touches upon contemporary issues involving Africa and colonialism. Colonialism is defined as political control over …

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Things Fall Apart and Distinctive World

The distinctive world in which the character abides by creates the distinctive voice. Each character is portrayed by their voice and actions. The characteristic of the distinctive world in which he or she inhabits shapes the character. Good_______ Mr turner and fellow students; I have …

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Things Falling Apart Essay

Insist dead, when they 2 first arrived, the white men seemed harmless and weak to the Bib people. ” ‘They want a piece of land to build their shrine,’ said Quenched to his peers when they con eluted among themselves. ‘We shall give them a …

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Proverbs in Things Fall Apart

In Chinua Achebels things fall apart, Ibo proverbs reveal Okonkwols character, especially his ambition, self-reliance, and respect for elders. Throughout the village of Umuofia, a belief the villagers have, is the belief in the earth, sun and rain gods. The villageris religious values are very sacred. …

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Things Fall Apart: Literary Analysis

In China Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the Bib culture is depicted as a civilized society although it is quite the contrary. The Bib tribe is first portrayed as a civilized society t o those who live amongst it with good morals, a safe environment along …

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FAQ

What is the main theme of things fall apart?
Things Fall Apart, a story about an emerging culture, explores the effects of change on various characters. Personal status is often a factor in the conflict over whether tradition should be valued more than change.
What is the moral lesson of the story things fall apart?
Things fall apart teaches us the importance of toxic masculinity, which we now refer to as toxic femininity. Okonkwo exemplifies this attitude, even though he causes damage to his family and friends.

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