Things Fall Apart
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Things Fall Apart
“Things Fall Apart” is written by Chinua Achebe in 1958. It was one of the first novels that were written by an African author. It is important to consider the fact that “Things Fall Apart” got worldwide fame as the book documented a spiritual history of Africa. Chinua Achebe had written this novel to demonstrate the experience of Africans with Europeans. A critical examination of the themes presented by the author is highly considered to understand the attentions of the author. The author demonstrated the struggles of African between change and tradition. Moreover, the novel also presented the idea of varying interpretations of Masculinity. The development of characters in the novel assisted the author to make a strong argument. The major focus of this paper is to conduct a literary analysis of “Things Fall Apart” to understand how Achebe strengthen the development of his message in the novel.
The author presented the experience of a warrior named Okonkwo in his novel to demonstrate the struggles of Africans between change and traditions. At the beginning of the novel, it seems to be written for a specific audience such as academic scholars who are well aware of the traditions and cultures of Nigeria. Literary elements are effectively used by the author to present the clashes of cultures after the arrival of Europeans. The author used the traditions and narratives to exploits the religious rituals of Africans in an effective manner. It can be seen through the use of various literary elements that how the author illustrated two cultures in a highly indicative way. A critical examination of the novel illustrated the evaluation of Okonkwo’s life regarding European influence on Africans. The author explicitly narrated the life of Okonkwo depending upon the traditional values of Christians and Igbo.
The author demonstrated the entire story on the basis of the struggle between change and tradition. The novel illustrated how the reality of change had significantly impacted certain characters. The story of this novel revolved around the struggle of people to adopt the reality of change. The author effectively demonstrated that people of Igboland were facing the dilemma of whether to adopt the reality of change or not. It is notable to mention that cultural changes can be highly difficult for an individual to accept. Same was in the case of Okonkwo as he was afraid about losing societal status after the arrival of European. The author illustrated that fear of losing social status had a detrimental impact on the psychology of individuals at that time period. Furthermore, different people of Igboland had different perspectives about new cultural values that were brought by the missionaries (Whittaker, David, and Mpalive-Hangson 11). Some of the villagers of Igboland were even excited that missionaries had provided them with new opportunities to thrive in society.
Chinua Achebe effectively described the character of ‘Okonkwo’ in his novel “Things Fall Apart’. With the character of Okonkwo, the author presented the values of manliness. The author illustrated that Okonkwo strived in his life to make his way in the considered society. The author effectively demonstrated the idea that Okonkwo rejected believes of his father. The author presented various principles that proved to be effective for Okonkwo. Okonkwo managed to achieve financial success in society by adopting certain morals such as brave, violent, productive, and thrifty (Hargraves 7). In the novel, Okonkwo is a classic tragic hero due to his tragic flaw that brings about his own devastation. The author demonstrated that Okonkwo mixed the idea of manliness with violence, anger, and rashness due to which he had to suffer from tragic loss. Bad-tempered of Okonkwo always made it hard for him to separate his “manly” values from his “unmanly” values.
This novel was written in the final decade of the 19th century in Igboland. The author presented the narrative of the precolonial norms of Africans in the Igboland. The author wanted to demonstrate the social and political norms during that time period. The author used literary elements in the “Things Fall Apart” to illustrate that clusters of villages bound together in Igboland in order to survive in the cruel world. Furthermore, the idea of the gendering of geography is one of the most important aspects of the novel. The author built the cultural and traditional values of Igboland by presenting the gendering of geography. For instance, Okonkwo’s fatherland was Okonkwo as it was the home village of his father. However, he was sent to his mother’s homeland when he committed manslaughter. Moreover, the author presented the idea of British imperialism in the region that was started with the help of religious dominance.
It has been analyzed that the character ‘Okonkwo’ was frequently associated with a burning fire in the entire novel. A critical examination of the character of Okonkwo illustrated that his association with the burning fire is based on his vigorous anger. Okonkwo had been shown as a person of complex emotions in the entire novel. The author symbolized Okonkwo as fire due to the fact that he was both physically destructive and emotionally destructive.
In a nutshell, Chinua Achebe had effectively used various literary elements such as symbolization, setting, and characterization to strengthen the development of his message in the novel. The development of characters in the story helped the author to present his message in an appealing way.
Chinua, Achebe. "Things fall apart." Ch. Achebe (1958): 1-117.
Hargraves, Orin. Chinua Achebe's Things fall apart: a casebook. Oxford University Press on Demand, 2003.
Whittaker, David, and Mpalive-Hangson Msiska. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: A Routledge Study Guide. Routledge, 2007.
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