Commentary on Passge (Page 124-125) of Things Fall Apart by Chnua Achebe

Topics: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, Igbo people Pages: 3 (1146 words) Published: May 30, 2008
In this passage of Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, the protagonist and main characters of the novel, Okonkwo, has just been sent into exile away from his land of Umuofia , Nigeria . The crime he has committed to receive such a punishment is the sin of murder. While he is attending a funeral for a man named, Ogbuefi Ezeudu, Okonkwo’s gun accidentally explodes and kills Ezeudu’s sixteen-year-old son. Killing a clansman is a crime against their earth goddess, thus, Okonkwo and his family are sent into exile, being forced to go back to his motherland of Mbanta. The men of the family who have experienced the loss in this accidental death burn Okonkwo’s houses and kill his animals to cleanse the village of his sin of murder. They do this to follow the commands of tradition. But, Obierika, a very good friend and fellow clansman of Okonkwo, questions why Okonkwo and his family should suffer so much for an accidental killing. This leads him into thoughts as to why he was forced to commit such a crime himself. He was forced to throw away twins, born from his wife. What crime had they committed? Okonkwo is the protagonist and tragic hero of the story and this is emphasized by the title of the novel, Things Fall Apart, because Okonkwo’s village, Umuofia, has the ability to be flexible and adapt to changes, while still preserving their own traditions and beliefs. However, Okonkwo consistently test the limits of his society’s fidelity and follows his own stubborn will, not tradition. Hence, this tale is not entirely focused on the breakdown of a customary African society, but it demonstrates the personal misfortune of a single character, whose life collapses. Though this killing was accidental, it could be a form of punishment for his earlier disobedience against his people and gods. His previous killing of an innocent boy Ikemefuna damaged the harmony of the traditions of his clan and society. His condemnation shows the importance of customs within the community....
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