Destiny in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Essay

Destiny in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Essay

Length: 708 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Famous French fabulist, Jean de La Fontaine, astutely stated, “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” People, both in real life and literature, seal their fate through their own actions. The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe captures the cultural life of the Igbo people before and after the influences of British colonialism by focusing on a representative hard-working character named Okonkwo. The Igbo believed that Chukwu, lesser gods, ancestors, and their own personal gods were responsible for determining the destiny of one’s life. Through proverbs regarding motivation, achievement, and respect, Achebe communicates that destiny must eventually be accepted.
Achebe utilizes proverbs concerning motivation to illustrate the concept that destiny must eventually be accepted. The proverb “As the elders said, if a child washed his hands, he could eat with kings” (8) is the first to prove this concept. The proverb implies that motivation is important to successfully achieve a goal. No ordinary child would eat with kings; therefore the child must have motivation. Since it is referring to Okonkwo, it shows that Okonkwo was truly motivated and successful since he “had clearly washed his hands and so he ate with kings and elders” (8). The additional praise “if ever a man deserved his success, that man was Okonkwo” (27) suggests that Okonkwo believes that he can control his destiny. People are motivated to succeed and are also motivated by success. Okonkwo’s destiny seems to coincide with the prosperity of his village. However, at the end of the novel, things seem to have “fallen apart” (176) and Christian missionaries divide the village. Since Okonkwo finally realizes that he has no control ov...

... middle of paper ...

...t should not forget to be humble” (26). The proverb means that one should remember to be demure because they are nothing compared to the controllers of their destiny. The man who has become successful due to his destiny should be grateful. Okonkwo believed that “he had cracked them himself” due to his “grim struggle against poverty” and hard work (27). This goes against respect and implies that Okonkwo rejects the concept of immutable destiny. Yet his own hard work came from his fear of his father’s qualities, and his father was the way he was because of his destiny. Okonkwo’s father chose to accept his destiny of being perpetually indebt and having “taken no titles at all” (8), as seen by the numerous opportunities he had to change his ways. Since Okonkwo was destined to have Unoka as his father and become who he was, he accepted his destiny by working hard.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay examples

- Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart The last chapter of Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" concludes with the sentence: "He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger." This refers to the District Commissioner's chosen title for a book he has written that would have the African people, the Igbo tribe specifically, as the main subject. From the title itself, one can say that the writer has an unfavorable bias against his subject....   [tags: Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart]

Better Essays
1060 words (3 pages)

Essay about Fate and Free Will in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

- Fate and Free Will in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart     The tragic story of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart offers many examples of Igbo beliefs regarding free will and fate. Religious life for the Igbo was thoroughly intertwined with secular life. According to the text, the Igbo believed in fate; that nothing happened by chance as every happenstance was the result of Chukwu or God's will. Yet the Igbo also believed that ancestors, lesser gods, and their own chi or personal god also influenced the lives of the living....   [tags: Things Fall Apart essays]

Better Essays
1240 words (3.5 pages)

Theme Elements in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essays

- Theme Elements in Things Fall Apart Achbe, in the novel Things Fall Apart, conveys a flavor of traditional African culture in the 1800`s. But despite this, it seems the tragedy of okonkwo that embodies the theme of the novel. Many of Achebe`s themes are not limited to the events in his novel, but relate to SITUATIONS, in which traditional values are questioned and people from different cultures meet, the most profound impact being related to the themes of religion and justice.              Like any good religion, the Igbo religion comes with many superstitions....   [tags: Things Fall Apart essays]

Free Essays
1354 words (3.9 pages)

Masculinity vs. Femininity in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

- Masculinity vs. Femininity in Things Fall Apart  If viewed on the surface the story line of Things Fall Apart is a tragedy, but when viewed in a wider perspective it is a story of deeper conflict. The main issue is that the British have come to establish a mission and receive converts. Less evident is the conflict this intrusion inserts between the Ibo and British. The underlying issue is masculinity versus femininity. By this I mean to say that the Ibo are an agrarian people who are a patriarchal and see any sign of weakness as being less than desirable....   [tags: Things Fall Apart]

Better Essays
1274 words (3.6 pages)

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Essay example

- In Chinua Achebe’s Classic 1959 novel Things Fall Apart, we are faced with the foreign ways of the Ibo people of present-day Nigeria. The story is told through the experiences and often times thoughts of protagonist Okonkwo, an imperfect but respected clansman whose fear of appearing weak drives every decision he makes. In the peak of conflict, Okonkwo is exiled for seven years, loses much of the esteem he had gained and finds his bad Chi to be to blame. Eventually, this leads him to commit suicide....   [tags: ibo people, nigeria]

Better Essays
1397 words (4 pages)

About the Igbo Tribe in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Essay

- ... Okonkwo is a man of wealth and status and believes in working hard to achieve his goals with a strong fist and a harsh tongue. His tragic flaw and downfalls comes from the fear of being weak and the fear of failure like his own father was. So he puts on a strong image. He was ashamed of his father, and worked hard not to turn out like him. His fear leads him to treat his family harsh, especially his son Nyowe . Okonkwo thought that, "No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man" (p45)....   [tags: warrior, hero, culture]

Better Essays
558 words (1.6 pages)

Things Fall Apart versus The Things They Caried Essay

- Within the novels Things Fall Apart, written by China Achebe, and The Things They Carried, written by Tim O'Brien, characters are faced with their destiny. Howard Thurman once said, "Fate is the raw materials of experience. They come uninvited and often unanticipated. Destiny is what a man does with these raw materials." Fate is an inevitable event that is predestined for a person. One character from each novel is faced to deal with that fate. Both characters deal with this quite differently. Okonkwo, the protagonist in Things Fall Apart has the grueling memory of his father stuck in his head....   [tags: Comparative Literature]

Free Essays
1788 words (5.1 pages)

Essay about Things Fall Apart

- Things Fall Apart Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. -W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming" It is from this excerpt of the Yeats' poem that Chinua Achebe chose the title of his novel, Things Fall Apart. The story is set in turn of the century Nigeria, at the lbo village of Umuofia. It is at the time of the British colonization of Nigeria, a time when life for some members of the lbo people did begin to fall apart....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
648 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about Things Fall Apart By Chinua Ac

- Chinua Achebe wrote the novel, Things Fall Apart, which is a great piece of African literature that deals with the Ibo culture, society, and history. One place where the Ibo religion is practiced is in the village of Umuofia in Africa, where the story takes place. On the other hand, Christianity is a very common religion that is practiced all over the world. Although Christianity and Ibo are both types of religions, they have many differences. One way the religions are different is the Ibo practice polytheism and Christians practice monotheism....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1025 words (2.9 pages)

A Comparison of the Culture of Things Fall Apart and Western Culture Essay

- The Culture of Things Fall Apart vs. Western Culture Many societies have beliefs rooted deep in ancient religion. Some beliefs include polygamy, polytheism, and patriarchy, or rule by men. One such culture is that of Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Polytheism and polygamy are custom in the clan, and the role of each family member is very defined. The men are overly domineering. The women and children are treated poorly and often beaten. Life in Achebe's Umuofia would seem very different to someone living in modern day America....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
2311 words (6.6 pages)