An Analysis of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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The Importance of Things Fall Apart

The novel "Things Fall Apart", by Chinua Achebe, was an eye-opening account of the life and eventual extinction of an African tribe called the Ibo. It focuses on one character, Okonkwo, who at a very early age set out on a quest of self-perfection. Coming from a family ruled by a man who was lazy and inconsistent with everything he did, Okonkwo vowed to never accept the fate of his father. Okonkwo and his family suffered through many hard times in their lives, but usually managed to come out on top. Through terrible crop seasons and bad judgement calls, Okonkwo usually prevailed, until the day came when he was faced with a situation that could not be resolved by his strength and character alone.

This novel also provided a very detailed, and seemingly accurate, account of the lives of the Ibo. The Ibo were an extremely spiritual people who answered to their gods daily. A hardworking people who based their personal worth on their community and crop achievements. Their yam crops were the backbone of the community and he who possessed the largest crops were usually respected by all in the community. The Ibo were a very gendered people. The men normally made all the rules and the woman were taught to respect their husbands decisions. In particular, Okonkwo ruled his household with an iron fist. He often beat his wives for small reasons and felt little to no remorse for doing so. While it was not uncommon for the men of the Ibo tribe to beat their wives if they disobeyed orders, Okonkwo was a character that oftentimes took it too far. In one point in the novel he badly beat one of his wives, Ojiugo, during the sacred week. During this time no one in the tribe is to commit such acts, as it is a time for peace. By beating his wife, he defied the gods and was forced to offer up animal sacrifices and payment to them. This one of Okonkwo's major character flaws, he is stubborn and self-righteous, and wishes to answer to nobody but himself. This even leads to eventual fate, when he refuses to join the Christians when most everyone else of the tribe gave in to their ideas.

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