In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the author tells the story of a man, Okonkwo, and his Ibo tribe during the age of imperialism. Achebe does this in order to give a perspective on tribal life in Africa to those who know nothing of it. The quote by Obierika which says, “He [the white man] has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart” is entirely significant because it completely summarizes the novel as well as the overall effects and consequences of the European occupation of areas in Africa and other countries.
This quote is very significant because it summarizes the whole purpose of the novel in the way that it uses a metaphor to show how the whole story leads up to this point of division and destruction of the tribe’s culture by the white man. Essentially every action of the novel can tie into what Obierika explains here; either leading up to or having association with the white man creating conflict. Achebe simply built the characters up to show their reactions to the imposing occupation of the white man, and the overall effect is summarized in a simple sentence. This sentence by Obierika also even includes the title of the book in it, which is a common way to emphasize a significant or important phrase in literature. This sentence can also summarize the effect that European occupation and imperialism had on Africa as a whole. Achebe’s book was based on this time period and the influence of the European culture so clearly a one sentence explanation of this effect is very significant. This sentence shows the impact by explaining how the white man asserts dominance over the Africans which consequently had terrible outcomes for the tribes, namely, the Ibo tribe. Not only could this apply to the tribe focused on in Things Fall Apart, but also to any culture which imperialism was imposed upon. So really this sentence is significant to both the entire novel and the era of imperialism as a whole. This small piece of dialogue...
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