The Dangers of Change: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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Turning and turning in the widening gyre.
The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things
fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy
is loosed upon the world
This is an excerpt from the Poem "The Second Coming", which is the basis for the novel "Things Fall Apart". This title is significant to the many themes that are explored throughout the story. I feel that the story is broken into three different themes in order to arrive at the main theme. The themes of tradition, social appearance and belonging, and fear and anger, are blended in such a way as to bring to light the main theme of the story. This idea is that though throughout life one can train themselves to think that they have absolute control over all things in their lives if they will it to be so, they really don't. The author shows the reality that through these ideas, we brainwash ourselves to believe that if we master these things and gain control over them, life as we know it will always be the same. The danger of thinking in this fashion is that in doing so you never prepare yourself for change, and if you are not prepared for change everything in your life can fall apart. The conflict among these issues shows that though we may have momentary control of ourselves and or family and even our culture, we do not have complete control over change, it is inevitable.

The story is set within the Ibo tribe of Umuofia, which is one of the nine villages that combine to make one large clan in Nigeria. These tribes are ones that hold courage, strength, tradition and customs extremely high. The theme of tradition is examined by

The Dangers 3
showing that they are a prideful people, who rely solely on the will of "their gods" to direct their paths in life, which in turn brings them great strength and prosperity. This is evident through a dialogue that takes place in the text detailing what happens when a member of the tribe disobeys a law made by the gods,...
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