Things Fall Apart Book Report

1534 words - 7 pages

Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” is a twentieth century work of art that serves the purpose of conveying the intricacies of African culture while at the same time giving voice to the underrepresented and exploited inhabitants of Nigeria. This work was written in response to Western writings on African culture, which treated Africa in a cultureless and subhuman light of view. “Things Fall Apart” portrays the conflict between the White colonial government and the indigenous Igbo people in Nigeria, illuminating the European and African perspectives on Colonial control, race, religion and culture.
The Igbos believed that each man was responsible for his fate or destiny. They believed that a ...view middle of the document...

He sees him as weak, for he would turn to his mother for comfort and compassion, showing little promise in becoming a great warrior like his father had wished. Okonkwo’s grief would soon be ridden with the introduction of Ikemefuna, a boy given by a neighboring tribe in a deal to stop war. Ikemefuna was sent to live in Okonwo’s home, and he immediately brought more masculinity into the family. Nwoye began to admire Ikemefuna, who showed Nwoye that one could be masculine while having emotions. Sadly, Okonkwo had been informed that the oracle decreed that Ikemefuna, his new son, must die, and that he must have no part in it. Okonkwo broke this order to try to show his manhood in front of his fellow clanspeople. Okonkwo’s character helps describe the practices of Igbo culture and the sociological mindsets of the people who followed it. Achebe begins his novel by offering an in-depth depiction of Nigerian societies and to illuminate the complexities of their culture and language, in an attempt to show that there are other ways to brand a culture as advanced than from a technological standpoint.
A major, recurring theme in Things Fall Apart is Ethnocentrism, the concept in which one applies his or her own cultural standards when judging another. This concept was commonplace throughout the colonization in Africa. In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe portrays the white missionaries’ quick dismissal of the local religion and culture of the Igbos as inferior to Christianity and their culture, all the while showing goodness out of some of the colonizers, such as Mr. Brown, who agreed with Akunna on the similarities of each of their respective cultures. Cultural norms played a major role in Igbo people’s lives. In Things Fall Apart, Onkonkwo’s life is portrayed by his biggest fear of being unsuccessful and, therefore, an outcast, which is by what is commonly accepted in the Igbo society. Okonkwo commits many violent acts, including wife-beating, reasoning that these acts assert his manhood and status in society. Okonkwo’s religious exile, which was causes by his accidental murdering during the week of peace, showed how his intense ambitions to be successful has led him to this aggressive masculine state, causing him to break the norms of the society in which he thrives for status. His abandonment of newborn twins was deemed intolerable by the European colonizers, who decided that the act is illegal, showing the differences in cultural beliefs resulting in bitter conflict between the local inhabitants and newcomers. The Europeans’ challenging of the Igbo’s ideology and theology represents the challenge to the Igbo way of life, alarming and enraging Okonkwo.
Although the missionaries were viewed as the enemy to most Nigerians, some thought differently, and this was noted in Things Fall Apart. The missionaries were first given land in the Evil Forest, where the twins were sent to die. They began to slowly convert the population. Similar to the locusts that...

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