Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart Essay

Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” leads the reader to reflect on his own traditions, society and religion, and examine the revolution of the Ibo culture into today’s Western culture. Close analysis of this books reveals that Achebe is working using a parallelism system- he is reflecting today’s society in the complex form of Ibo culture. The book discusses the struggle in Umofia between change and tradition, which is a question often pondered by those today. Those who do question what is traditional are often shunned in both cultures. While these cultures may contrast and appear to be wildly different, they both share the same message: Conform to what is standard, with regards to traditions, society, and religion, or else risk being alienated.

The social class system today, in comparison to Ibo culture, is arranged differently, but the principles remain the same. Although we no longer formally have “ranks”, it can be argued that the same system remains today, sans the names. In a way, Western culture appears to be more cowardly than Ibo culture in regards to this. In Ibo culture, ranks are not something they are ashamed of. They embrace the fact that they have a solid social class system. In modern times, society likes to pretend that everyone is free to be how they are, when in reality, it is just the same, but hiding behind the notion that there are no labels. The principles are similar; if a person is born into a certain family, that is the class that they must spend their lives struggling to break free of, with little or virtually no way to escape. While reading “Things Fall Apart”, at first thought, the reader might think that the Ibo social system is harsh and severe, but with closer examination, is it evident that really, Western culture is the same.

Traditions are something that are quite different today, and have revolved from an entirely different beginning. Festivals like The New Yam Festival, similar to today’s...
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