21 June 2010
Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe writes a fascinating book, Things Fall Apart, where he talks about the struggle of a man, Okonkwo, who lives between the pride of his culture and the pride of his manhood. Achebe is from, where the novel originates, Nigeria. Achebe has been one of the most influential and important authors in African history. It is very important to get a view from a native African’s point of view: a person who has seen what has gone on and experienced the trials and wars of Nigeria and other African countries. The Igbo religion was the primary religion in the village where the story is set. Okonkwo who has been in the village of Umofia for his entire life, starts to see the tribe transpire and shift away from its normal beliefs. This happens when Christian missionaries arrive in the country to try and turn the people of Umofia and other tribes to their religion of Christianity. Nigeria during this time was in difficult times because they were under the rule by Great Britain. Achebe does a wonderful job in the book describing how much of an influence the outsiders had. The culture, religion, ethics, spirit, war, peace, and labor are some of the words that describe this book in a nutshell. Things Fall Apart is a book of knowledge and discipline. These two characteristics are an underlying occurrence in the book. Okonkwo is man who displays both of these qualities, thus, which leads to his downfall.
Chinua Achebe, known for his bestselling novels, poems, and essays, was born in 1930 in Ogidi, Nigeria (Gerard). Achebe has been known for five great books, but the most read and talked about has been Things Fall Apart. Achebe’s books have been translated in some fifty languages. Especially in Africa and his homeland of Nigeria, Achebe is looked upon like a God and somebody that people can look up to. Achebe was very bright in his early years as a child; he began to learn English when he was only eight years old (Achebe). In 1948, Achebe went to University College in Nigeria to initially study medicine, but something made him change his mind (Achebe). He changed his major to English literary studies to practice the skills of becoming a writer and learn about the practices of English culture. After graduating from University College, Achebe went on to become a producer for a Nigerian broadcasting company. It was not till after that, in London, that Achebe would truly find his talent of writing. One of his teachers in London had requested Achebe to publish and write the book, Things Fall Apart. The timing of the book could not have been any better because Great Britain had control over Nigeria and was severely pressured into colonizing the country. Within ten years of this conflict, Achebe published the book. It set off a vibe that usually does not go off when someone publishes a book. This book did just that. Things Fall Apart is the view from a small Nigerian village that sees its principles and doctrines taken over outsiders from another country. From a Nigerian who has probably seen this in happen in real life is very important to the people of Africa. For someone like Achebe to tell the story of Africans and how they live, eat, drink, and worship Gods tells the whole world how an everyday African lives. When a country rules over a territory or a certain land it can have a strangle on the people of that village, tribe, or colony. Chinua Achebe describes the setting of the story beautifully. In the village of Umofia men, women, and children are taught to be tough minded. This is the case for Okonkwo. A warrior who is tough, strong, disciplined, and well liked in his tribe. Achebe realizes the struggles and pains that Nigerians and other Africans go through. They struggle with money, time, and personal problems. These personal problems could be with a family member or it could be with their Gods or ancestors. This is...