Analysis Of The Book ' Things Fall Apart '

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Things Fall Apart was written from an African perspective about Africa to show the world a more clear perspective on Igbo culture than what had been written by European colonizers. The ways in which characters think and act in their cultural environment shows the complexities of their culture. Africans were not simpletons banging rocks and sticks together like many racist colonizers would like to portray them. They had their own society based off of complex religion, familial ties of kinship, and gender roles. Their interactions with white missionaries shows they were not savages all wanting blood, but a peaceful people that when pushed and feel their way of life threatened fight back. The savages in Africa were the people like James Smith in the story who refused to open their eyes to other people’s way of life and accepting that their way of life is their choice. Using the book as a way to see a portion of African culture, instead of just the internal struggles within Okonkwo, opens up a new perspective. Within the Igbo way of life there was a clearly defined feminine and masculine side. Femininity was looked down upon as weakness, especially by Okonkwo, who took these views to an extreme that many of his peers did not. For Okonkwo being masculine meant showing only one emotion, and that was anger, which he did so often and with gusto. He beat his wives and children as a form of showing that he was not weak. It is this type of scenario which colonizers would like to use to show African tribal life. This was not so with everyone by any means. There were men who loved their wives immensely and took great joy not from their looks, but from their companionship and personalities. Men beating their wives and children is not an Afr... ... middle of paper ... He never showed how deeply he cared for Ezinma or his wives. He lived a life of extreme masculinity in order to go beyond what his society expected of him in order to make up for the life his father lived. The society he remembered from his childhood was not the same in his adult life. This change in society ripped away from him the things he valued. In his last moments he tried to fight for the society he had cherished and wished for his sons to grow up in. He struck down the messenger in his violent masculine way showing his strength and at the same time seeing the world was changed and everything he had worked so hard to become was no longer valued. He hung himself, and was dismissed by James Smith as only being worth a few paragraphs or maybe a chapter. This dismissal of human lives as barely noteworthy summarizes European outlook on African tribes.
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