Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart Essay

Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart Essay

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Chinua Achebe was recognized for defining a modern African literature by publishing one of his first novels, Things Fall Apart. Achebe publishing this novel made a major contribution to world literature and is often compared to the great Greek tragedies. Things Fall Apart is a simple story of a “strong man” that goes by the name of Okonkwo. He was an influential clan leader in the village of Umuofia. His life is tragically dominated by fear and anger due to the reflection of his father’s life. In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe portrays fear as a theme, which affects the characters in an unfavorable way.
Okonkwo was very well known throughout the nine surrounding villages. He rose to fame from his personal achievements. When he was just eighteen years of age he brought honor to his village by winning a wrestling match against Amalinze, who was a great wrestler due to the fact was had not a match for seven years. After about twenty years, Okonkwo’s fame grew quite tremendously. Okonkwo was a man with no patience, which included having no patience for the memories of his father Unoka, who had passed away ten years ago. Unoka is portrayed as being lazy, improvident, and a great failure in the eyes of his son Okonkwo. He was poor, which meant he did not have enough to provide for his family to eat. Due to the way Okonkwo’s father was viewed by the village, Okonkwo lives his life in fear of being a failure like his father. Although he also wishes to not be considered weak, Okonkwo’s desire to be strong fails due to being haunted by fear. Okonkwo, unlike his feminine father, has absolutely no fear of violence, and essentially celebrates it. “He was not afraid of war. He was a man of action, a man of war. Unlike his father he could stan...


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...ness only showed on very rare occasions” (Achebe 44). Though he favors Ezinma, he fears showing emotion towards her because it will make him feel less masculine and appear more feminine, potentially resulting in losing respect from the village.
In conclusion, fear plays a huge role in Okonkwo’s life; as well as it can be seen in the other characters lives in Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo, being the main character faces fear all throughout the novel. In addition, the people of Umofia were victims of fear too. The people of Umofia continue to live their lives in fear worshiping their various gods and constantly make sure that no one fails to abide by the rules. Upsetting a god can lead to the harm or death of a tribe member or a family member. In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe portrays fear as an element of theme that affects the characters life in an unfavorable way.

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