Things Fall Apart

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1. How did prejudice and discrimination, racism and sexism, contribute to the collapse of the group?
In Part 1 of Things Fall Apart, The Ibo tribe was segregated in terms of gender roles. Only men could farm for yams and women could cultivate cassavas and beans. Men took part in the wrestling and women prepared for these events. Specifically, Okonkwo had rigid roles that he feels he should play, as well as his wives and his children. These roles contributed to Okonkwo’s fear of being weak, which leads to his exile and eventual killing himself. These differences alone, though, did not cause the group to fall apart. They just tolerated what we call sexism.

Religion was a major unraveling agent in Parts 2 and 3. The white Christian colonists felt that the Ibo are polytheistic and, therefore, pagan. The British knew that the tribe has one major god and many other gods doing his service. Conversely, the tribe has little religious prejudice against the Christians. At the beginning, the Ibo largely ignored the Christians because they have set up camp in the evil forest and, as a result, the Ibo felt the missionaries are going to be obliterated. The survival of the church and the converts obtained were a major contributing factor in the tribal split. The Christians exposed the tribe’s practice of killing twins and cruelty to outcasts.

Men against women discrimination contributes to Okonkwo’s tragedy. There is some white against black racism, but it is not as developed as the religious differences. White against black racism and Christian monotheism against tribal polytheism contribute more toward the collective unraveling of culture. 2. How did one achieve upward mobility in the tribe?

In Things Fall Apart, a person achieved upward mobility in the tribe by cultivating a large and prosperous farm, by dispensing practical wisdom or profound sagacity, and by acquiring a reputation as a fearless and noble warrior. Upward mobility depends up on prosperity, wisdom,...
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