Things Fall Apart

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The continent of Africa is considered to be the cradle of civilization. Yet today, Africa is less developed than most of the other continents. Many of its countries struggle with famine, civil war, corruption, poverty, debt, disease, and to a certain degree, ignorance. Nigerian born writer, Chinua Achebe, discusses the demise of the true Ibo culture in his novel Things Fall Apart. Achebe discusses the stringent beliefs and edicts of the Ibo culture and the consequences one must face when these rules are opposed. Achebe highlights the internal struggle of individual characters as each realizes the flaws within their community and how it leads them to a self-discovery.

Okonkwo constantly struggles to drift away from his fathers shadow, and in the process becomes more and more paranoid of his true identity. Okonkwo is extremely hubris, which eventually leads to his downfall. Okonkwo believes his society is heavily flawed and he thinks that all members of Umofia should generally be violent. Though he does not voice this opinion, it is evident because he sees reflections of his father in everything and he wants to make his family and society the opposite of his father. Okonkwo is represented by fire. In the novel fire represents Okonkwo’s frequent rage. He is simply overwhelmed by a society that he cannot change with his firey personality and kills himself. The most obvious instance when Okonkwo senses contradiction, is in his son Nwoye.

Nwoye is Okonkwo’s oldest son, who Okonkwo believes is weak and lazy. Okonkwo continually beats Nwoye, hoping to correct the faults that he perceives in him. This is not a valid way of changing Nwoye. If Okonkwo was not so blinded by hubris he could realize that he could influence Nwoye in the way that he wants by simply speaking to him. When influenced by Ikemefuna the “ill-fated”(pg. 96) youth, Nwoye begins to exhibit more masculine behavior, which pleases Okonkwo. However, he maintains doubts about some of the laws and...
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