Death Of A Nation Essay

1284 words - 6 pages

Death of a Nation

The 18th, 19th and 20th centuries were a time of great colonization in Africa. European explorers sieged the African continent, trying to acquire the most African land possible. These European explorers brought with them missionaries, who tried to convert the indigenous populations of Africa from their tribal religion to Christianity. Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, describes the white man’s transformation of the Igbo culture. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, exhibits an ineffective thinking process shown through his violent actions, Umofia’s negative reactions to his actions, and unnecessary dialogue between him and other Umofian citizens; this ineffective ...view middle of the document...

Acting violently and irrationally, Okonkwo again does not think about the best way to deal with the situation. Feeling that he will be supported by his clan, Oknonkwo decides to maim the messenger twice; however, unlike him, the citizens of Umuofia have changed, and he fails to recognize this fact by the time his second blow falls. As a result of his inability to change, Okonkwo has a death sentence on his head with no one to protect him. By the end of the novel, Okonkwo’s horrible thought process finally causes his demise. The novel ends with the District Commissioner, who has come to kill Okonkwo, finding “the tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling” (207). His last action shows how Okonkwo was unable think rationally. Alone and confused, Okonkwo decides to end his life in a horrible, disgraceful way. Traditional, aggressive Igbo culture, which Okonkwo once knew, has died and Okonkwo has the decision to change or die with it. Unfortunately, his inability to think sensibly makes it difficult for him to change, and he ends up choosing the latter.
Negative reactions of the Umuofia society to Okonkwo’s actions help to show the ineffectiveness of Okonkwo’s problem solving, which impedes his ability to change and causes his death. When Okonkwo learns that Nwoye has been sitting among the Christians, Okonkwo becomes furious and, when Nwoye arrives back to their home, he grabs Nwoye by the neck. Okonkwo is finally forced to “left hold of Nwoye, who walk[s] away and never returns” (152). Instead of talking with him as a sensible adult would have done, Okonkwo acts impulsively by smashing Nwoye with a rock and strangling him. Nwoye negatively reacts to his father by leaving him, for Nwoye knows that Okonkwo will never be able to accept him. Unable to tolerate new ideas, Okonkwo shuns everything unfamiliar to him, including this new religion. The loss of his oldest son becomes one of the reasons why Okonkwo kills himself. Later in the novel, the actions of others again demonstrate Okonkwo’s bad thinking skills, which cause his death. Achebe exhibits Okonkwo’s different views from the community when a Christian kills the python of Mbanta. A meeting is held to determine what should be done about the Christians. Some want to fight, but there are citizens who resist the urge to fight the Christians and “their counsel prevail[s] in the end” (158). Okonkwo wants to fight against the Christians, but other members in the village have adapted to the Christians living in Mbanta. They react negatively to Okonkwo’s ideas because they realize that the white men are strong and could win a battle if the two sides went to war. However, Okonkwo does not think that far ahead; he just wants to fight immediately against the Christians because, in previous years, a war would have broken out if an enemy...

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