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Essay on themes in Things Fall Apart and Second Coming

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Similar Themes in Things Fall Apart and The Second Coming

 

 

The novel "Things Fall Apart" examines African culture before the colonial infiltration. Achebe's novel forces us to examine the customs and traditions that make up an informal culture. At times we may find some their practices appalling, but Achebe makes us realize that the traditions and customs are what essentially hold the Ibo together. Achebe wrote 'Things Fall Apart" with the intention of changing the common view of African culture. He wrote the novel from an insider's perspective, revealing that African culture was not solely based on barbaric and mindless rituals. Achebe reveals the affects of the colonial infiltration on African societies. Through his novel he examines how colonization disturbed the unity and balance of a once strong cultural society.

William Butler Yeats, a renowned Irish poet, responded similarly to Achebe during World War II by writing the "Second Coming".

 

Yeats wrote his poem in response to the rise of fascism and communism which threatened to destroy Europe. Yeats believed that history revolved in two thousand-year cycles. The end of the cycles resulted in chaos and destruction. Much like "Things Fall Apart", "The Second Coming" addresses the idea of balance, interdependence, individualism, and community.  Achebe shows how the interruption of the cyles in the Ibo culture caused things to slowly fall apart. The poem addresses the cyclic movements of events and history. As a result, both can be seen as being intertwined.

 

Yeats opens his poem with a doom-like statement. He states "Turning and turning in the widening gyre." This enhances the cyclic image that Yeats is trying to portray. Here, Y...


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In many ways the changes that the missionaries brought upon the Ibo were unavoidable.  The rituals and cyclic view the Ibo had of time held their culture together.  The Ibo did not hold on to their ideas of interdepenence and community.  Therefore, they were more suspetable to surcoming to the ways of the white man.  The colonial infiltration caused the Ibo to not only loose their cultural identity, but their voice.  The missionaries alterations brought silece among the native dialect of the Ibo.  Achebe states at the end of the novel "even now they have not  found the mouth with which to tell of their suffering." From this quote it is apparent that there is little left of the Ibo culture.  The colonial infliltration caused the Ibo to fall apart, and break the vital cycle that once held their culture together.

 


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