Things Fall Apart
The theme of the book Things Fall Apart, which focuses on the breakdown of a society as well as the main character’s personal breakdown, stems from many conflicts of interests and misunderstandings throughout the book. There is not one single moment in the book where everything falls apart, but many times throughout. In the beginning a lot of problems arise from Okonkwo’s anger problems, and his inability to see other’s views. His ignorance is what ultimately leads to his exile from his clan. It’s not just the fact that he accidently killed a fellow clan member, but many other events that had angered the village. One of the first problems was when he disregarded the week of peace by savagely beating his wife. Wife beating was accepted in this patriarchal society but not on this week. Things begin to fall apart when the white missionaries come into the village to convert the people to their beliefs which divides the tribe. Okonkwo is angered when he finds out about the missionaries while serving his 7 year exile period. Although the first head missionary, Mr. Brown, was an understanding man who listened to the people and accepted their cultural ways his replacement, Reverend James Smith, was not. The reverend’s intolerance pushes the clashing cultures to the point of no return. Ultimately things fall apart in this book because of negligence, violence and cultural misunderstandings.
The first societal breakdown comes from cultural conflicts that divide the tribe into two groups and lead to major violence and suffering. One cultural conflict, the language barrier, proves to be a catalyst that sets off major instability. When the tribe wants to perform one of its cultural acts by cleansing the village, which involved burning buildings, the villagers try to explain to Reverend James that they need to burn the church down. The language barrier that is in place requires that they speak through Mr. Kiaga, who is the interpreter between the two...
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