Things Fall Apart

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The novel by Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart portrays a very determined leader of the Umuofia clan named Okonkwo. He lives in a culture that seems to be changing in a fast-paced manner right before his eyes. An important and reoccurring theme that I had noticed within the book was the role of customs and traditions. While people outside of the country of Nigeria would not generally accept a few of the things they do, they are perfectly normal in their world. For example, the tradition in which the spirits of the dead must be subdued or when a child should be murdered may bring upon one too many consequences for some people.

“Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness … it was not external but lay deep within himself. It was fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father” (13). As mentioned in the book he never in any way wanted to be compared to his father, Unoka. His father was someone who was seen publicly as a coward. Before he left the earth he left upon his son the many unsettled debts. Seeing as Okonkwo did not want to grow up and become just like his father, he continued his life and became a warrior, clansman, and family provider. He then has a twelve-year-old son named Nwoye who he finds out to be lazy; unlike one of his daughters, Ezinma, who is the only child of his who has won Okonkwo’s respect. Okonkwo secretly wishes to himself that she was a boy. To separate the comparison between Okonkwo and his father he has the reputation as a wrestler and a hard working harvester. He also earns more respect from his people and has gained wealth from it. Another success in his life was that he had three wives.

There are many deaths that occur within this novel. And Okonkwo seems to have taken a turn when he has accidently killed Ezeudu’s son and when he adopts a boy as his own from another village. “Umuofia has decided to kill him. The Oracle of the...
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