Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe?s Things Fall Apart is a narrative story that follows the life of an African man called Okonkwo. The setting of the book is in eastern Nigeria, on the eve of British colonialism in Africa. The novel illustrates Okonkwo?s struggles, triumphs, and his eventual downfall, all of which basically coincide with the Igbo?s society?s struggle with the Christian religion and British government. In this essay I will give a biographical account of Okonwo, which will serve to help understand that social, political, and economic institutions of the Igbos. At the beginning of the novel Okonkwo was a fairly wealthy and well-respected member of the Igbo society, but it had not always been that way for him. Okonkwo?s father, Unoka, had been a lazy man who would rather play his flute than take care of his crops. Unoka was said to be a charming man, and was able to borrow large amounts of money from his friends, but was never able to pay it back. As a result, Okonkwo has grown up very poor and ashamed of his lazy father. At one point in the book, Okonkwo remembers hearing one of his playmates calling his father an ?agbala,? which was the word for woman, but all described a man who had taken not titles (13). Okonkwo never forgets this, and actually develops a deep-seated fear that people will think that he is weak like his father. As I mentioned, Okonkwo became very well known, and his wealth and prestige rested solely on his own personal achievements. Okonkwo had received no inheritance from his poor father, no land and no money. As a young man, Okonkwo had been very successful wrestler, and as he grew older he became a well-known warrior. He was said to have brought home five human heads, which was a great achievement even for men who were much older that he was. At the beginning of the story, Okonkwo had obtained two titles, and had the respect of every man from all nine villages of Umuofia. Symbols of his wealth and prestige were his family and his compound. As I mentioned earlier, Okonwo had received no inheritance, and at the time of this story Okonkwo is still fairly young, and the fact that he had three wives, several children, and a very productive piece of land showed that Okonkwo was a very diligent worker. ?Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially... ... middle of paper ... ... a meeting, Okonkwo, knowing that his clansmen would do nothing to drive the white men away form their villages, killed a messenger. He then went home and committed suicide. Okonkwo is often described as being similar to characters in Greek tragedies. Okonkwo knew that the end of his clan was coming, and that they would do nothing to prevent it from happening. He took his life out of desperation. He had struggled his whole life to become a respected member of his community, and suddenly his world is turned upside down and changed forever because of an accident. Okonkwo sees that he is fighting a losing battle, so he quits. Suicide was one of the biggest offenses that could be committed against the earth, and Okonkwo?s own clansmen could not bury him. Okonkwo?s death symbolizes the end of patriarchy in Umuofia. The last page of the book is from the point of view of the white Commissioner, who notes that he wants to include a paragraph on Okonkwo?s life in his book entitled The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of Lower Niger. Okonkwo?s struggles, triumphs and defeats are all reduced to a paragraph, much like his culture and society will be reduced.

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