Things Fall Apart

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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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By: hulseb

Things Fall Apart: An Evaluation In "Things Fall Apart," Chinua Achebe tells two different stories at the same time. One is of Okonkwo, the villager whose rise to power is halted because of all of his misfortunes. The other is of Okonkwo's village, Umuofia, and its struggle to hold on to its cultural tradition while facing colonialism from the West. The title, "Things Fall Apart," describes perfectly what happens to both Okonkwo and his village. Okonkwo's life falls apart and as a result, he commits suicide by hanging himself. The cultural tradition of Umuofia falls apart, and becomes influenced by the West. In "Things Fall Apart," Achebe uses Okonkwo and the village's falling out to show how African culture, as well as other cultures around the world, suffered as a result of Westernization. In the book, Achebe focuses mainly on the character of Okonkwo. Okonkwo's story follows the general pattern of a Greek tragedy. He experiences many successes in the beginning, but everything eventually comes crashing down on him. His early life is the typical success story. He starts poor, but works hard to earn everyone's respect. From the beginning he is disgusted with his father. He is a lazy old man who borrows money and never pays it back. Okonkwo realizes that he does not want to be like his father, and it is this hatred that drives him to work hard. After his father's death, Okonkwo pays off his debts, and starts his long journey to the top of the clan. In a short time, Okonkwo's hard work pays off and he becomes one of the village's most respected members. He earns three out of the four village titles. He is recognized as the greatest warrior in Umuofia. He takes three wives and has many children. He is almost to the top of the clan when his journey to greatness starts to crumble. Because of a scuffle with one of the nearby villages, Okonkwo is given a boy to take care of. The boy, Ikemefuna, shows many similarities to Okonkwo and they become very...
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