Things Fall Apart Book Review

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From the on set of the novel “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe stresses the importance of culture and traditions of the indigenous Igbo people before European influences. Achebe portrays his protagonist Okonkwo as a prime example of one African individual who was unable to adapt to the changes brought by the European missionaries.

“Things fall apart” is a novel about the conflicts brought by Nigeria’s white colonial government and the true cultures and traditions of the Igbo people. Chinua Achebe studied history and theology in an English university where he was exposed to European customs and to the stereotypes of African cultures. Having his own experience with a multi cultural upbringing he had a different viewpoint. Achebe was not willing to accept the European judgments on Africa so he wrote this novel as an inside voice to show how the traditions and changes in the Indigenous Igbo tribe affected the individuals of their society (Enzemwa 1997). He does a good job of showing us that when the missionaries came into the country they did not understand the African cultures, specifically Igbo traditions and religions. Achebe uses his main character of the book, Okonkwo, to represent an inability to adapt to social changes. Achebe has a provocative viewpoint from the perspective inside the turmoil that was created by the European presence in Africa. He portrays Okonkwo as stubborn when he is faced with the series of changes. Okonkwo’s strong view that adapting to the changes would not be masculine is a key aspect to his demise.

Okonkwo lived in a society where males dominated and by embodying the values of manliness, he took on his own approach to life and how he dealt with problems in society. Through out the novel Okonkwo beats his wives and son, as well as partaking in the murder of Ikememfuna to prove his masculine quality. Many of these are debatable as to whether they affirm Okonkwo’s masculinity or if they bring out his true weakness and...
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