Chinua Achebe 's Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a compelling story about Okonkwo, a wealthy and well-respected warrior of the Umuofia clan. He is haunted by the cowardly decisions taken by his father Unoka and when he dies, many of his village debts are left unsettled. Okonkwo’s relationship with his father shapes his strong and ambitious demeanor both characteristics coming from wanting to overcome his father’s legacy, which he views as weak and feminine. Another important aspect to understand is the concept of “Chi”, which plays a huge role in explaining Okonkwo as an unfortunately disastrous hero. Also as Things Fall Apart is a novel about a long-standing culture on the threshold of change, Okonkwo’s unwillingness to be apart of these changes brings up various questions. Lastly tying in with cultural change comes the biggest factor of this change, being the appearance of the Europeans along with their belief in Christianity and want to convert those of the Igbo religion. Chinua Achebe mentions in Things Fall Apart that a man who has not acquired any prestige indicating titles is an “agbala” or a “women”. Okonkwo’s violent character stemming from his relationship with his father causes him to be very masculine, in fact even too masculine for his clan. Okonkwo’s masculinity causes an excess of aggression throughout the novel and makes him feel like the only emotion that is appropriate for him to express is anger. Due to this he frequently beats his wives and even threatens to kill them. This brings up the theme of gender relations and how women are viewed in the Igbo society, and why it is so important to Okonkwo to appear strong and not feminine at all times. Obierika shows in the novel that you can not be feminine, which seems to be con... ... middle of paper ... ...palling fate at the end of the novel could have come from problematic “Chi”. Okonkwo shows when he is happy and fortunate that he is in control of his own destiny and “Chi” but when he is drowning in misfortune he repeatedly rejects responsibility and pleads to why he is so hapless. Not controlling his own “Chi” eventually led to Okonkwo taking his own life. Chinua Achebe shows many themes in Things Fall Apart, the most important of the themes being gender relations, culture, and religion. Through gender relations Achebe reveals the motivation Okonkwo endures to be strong, violent, and the complete opposite of feminine. Through culture Achebe reveals the external conflicts and self-evaluation Okonkwo faces as well as the people of his clan. Lastly though religion Achebe reveals the internal conflicts Okonkwo faces and how it eventually becomes his very own demise.

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