Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe are two novels that revolve around the struggle of adapting to traditions. Both novels take place in areas where tradition is fundamental. Therefore, the characters act different than those around them and are unable to adjust to their traditional lifestyles. . The two main characters in both books, Tita and Okonkwo, find it hard to live up to their own traditions, and fail to adapt to them as they go against their people.
In the novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo the main character, refuses to accept the new traditions because he thinks they are not manly enough. He believes that the political and religious reforms are intolerable. Okonkwo supposes that he will loose his social status if he accepts these reforms. In the quotes below Okonkwo questions himself for going against his traditions and what he thinks is immasculine: "'When did you become a shivering old woman,' Okonkwo asked himself, 'you, who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed.’” Okonkwo’s self esteem depends thoroughly upon the standards that his society sets. On the other hand, the villagers are neither resisting nor accepting these reforms, however they are trying to adjust to the realty of change. Through out the novel, the author shows how the villagers, including Okonkwo, are extremely attached to their traditions and culture. The next quote shows how the people show politeness and sophistication as well as being knowledgeable in proverbs, which are an important aspect of their customs: “Having spoken plainly so far, Okoye said the next half a dozen sentences in proverbs. Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten. Okoye was a great talker and he spoke for a long time,...
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