Thebook “Things Fall Apart” written by Chinau Achebe is about the tragic fall ofthe protagonist, Okonkwo and the Igbo Culture.Thestory took place in the village of Umuofia, in the eastern part of Nigeriaduring the late Nineteenth Century.Thingsfall apart highlights one man’s unsuccessful resistance to the devaluing of hisIgbo traditions by the British political and religious forces.
Ilike this book because it talks about a rich African history and highlights theexistence of some form of governance, a unique African culture, a judicialsystem and a system of belief before the white man came to Africa to introduceChristianity and the western culture. I SETTINGS The settingsof the book” Things Fall Apart” is in Umuofia and Mbanta Villages of the Igbotribe in eastern Nigeria, around the nineteenth centuryUmuofiaclan has religious systems largely based on their natural environmentsurrounded by dense and dark woods, the forest is both respect and feared as achief god, the Evil Forest. The god is also revered and feared. As farmers, theUmuofia rely completely on produce of land and are subject to drought andflooding. The earth goddess is seen as being in control of the weather and theproductivity of the land.
Fear of offending the earth goddess motivates thepunishment for many crimes, such as Okonkwo’s seven years exile for killing aclansman. II MAIN CHARACTER Okonkwois huge and tall with bushy eye brows and wide nose that gave him a tense andintimidating look. Also he has a unique spring like walking style because hisheels hardly touches the ground as though on constant alert to attack.
He isphysically stronger than other in his village. Okonkwotraits include, ruling his household with a heavy hand, a fiery temper,resentful of failures and weakness, and is fearless. III THE CONFLICT One of the main conflicts in the story is thedesire that Okonkwo feels to overcome or defeat the legacy of his lazy father, Unoka.
He was ashamed of his father and fought against this throughout his life. Heworked incredibly hard to build his fortune, became a great warrior andwrestler and refused to show any sign of weakness or emotion as he was terriblyafraid to show anything like his father’s personality.Another conflict which had to do withOkonkwo’s temper that it got him into trouble because he could not control it.He was unable to sit back and participated in the killing of Ikemefuna. Hefired a gun at one of his wives and even beat her during the peace week whichresulted in serious consequences. IV MAIN EVENTOkonkwocannot accept the changes that Christianity and westernization have brought tohis village.
He was already respected as a strong wrestler and by beingunfailingly willing to display traditional masculine behaviors.Whenhe is in exile for killing a man at a funeral by mistake, the town changes sothat Okonkwo values and traditions are no longer the accepted way of doingthings. Christianity draws weaker members of the village and Okonkwo retaliatesby burning down the church. The white man imprison the tribal elders, it isclear the whites have the upper hand in the conflict between traditional andnew values.
To resolve this conflict, Okonkwo hangs himself in violation of hisown tradition. Sadly, this is the only method he knows to extricate himselffrom the onslaught of western traditions in his village. V THE CONCLUSION Achebe’spurpose of writing this book was to inform his audience. He presents a complex,dynamic society to a western audience who perceived African societies as primitive,simple and backwards, unless Africans could tell their side of the story. Hebelieves that Africans experience would be mistold.
Achebe brings to life anAfrican culture with a religion, a government, a system of money and anartistic tradition as well as a judicial system. Achebe’s stereo type the whitecolonialist as rigid, most with imperialistic intention, whereas the Igbos arehighly individuals many of them open to new ideals. Achebe depicts negative aswell as positive elements of Igbo culture and he is sometimes critical of hisown people as he is of the colonizers. Effectsthis book has had on me made me feel so sad.
Most especially the story ofIkemefuna. Ikemefuna’s last words, in particular “my father, they have killedme”. He looked to his father for help but is only killed at his own hands. Iwould recommend this book to a classmate to read such works in order to betterunderstand the racism of the colonial era. Also it makes one to see Africa in adifferent light. We all too often forget what the whole continent has gonethrough and also how the coming of the white man has destroyed our ancestors’beliefs. VI WHOM AM I?I ama fifteen year old boy from a neighboring clan. From the beginning, I was theultimate victim; my fate is completely out of control, I am taken away from myfamily so early in life for a crime I did not commit.
Mynew life, I am the subject to the whims of my new father and the elders of hisvillage in whose hands my fate ultimately lies. Many days, I considered runningaway and often cried myself to sleep. But through the compassion and love of mynew father’s wife and the friendship of her son, I did not run away. Even mynew father, a man who fears emotions grows to love me.
He even prefers me tohis own son, considers me to be a promising hard working young man.Mymurder, in which my new father takes a part, haunts him throughout the book,whom am I?