Things Fall Apart Analysis

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Results Outweigh Intentions It is both wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one's acts. Such a statement carries great weight, hence it is the underlying principle of the American justice system, Greek philosophy, and primeval human nature. The excuse has grown to be the social norm for escaping accusations of guilt; regardless, excuses are often transparent fabrications created to manipulate other individuals. However, in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, such simple attempts at acquittal are utilized to excuse actions; both the Umuofians and the Europeans use their cultural identities as well as their purportedly positive intentions as defenses to perform violent, immoral, or otherwise off-putting acts. In the cases of both the Ibo and the Europeans, actions of adverse nature are inexcusable, regardless of both culture and prior intent. In the West African heartland of Nigeria resides our protagonist Okonwko, an affluent man of his Ibo tribe. Through great success in battle and sharecropping, he has clawed his way to the top of his tribe’s political and economic hierarchy. Somewhat in adherence to [with] tribal law and due to his inflated stature, he often evades the ramifications of his own wrongdoing through careful manipulation of the leaders. By western ideals, the book’s target audience views his actions of rage and violence as depraved and wholly penal. Okonkwo’s first inexcusable act occurs early in the narrative, as “he beat [his wife] very heavily” (Achebe pg. 47) when she came home; such an act is considered domestic violence by western ideals, and is therefore punishable by law. However, Okonkwo’s high status protects him, as does the cultural normalcy of beating one’s wives in Umuofia. He also r... ... middle of paper ... ...penalized [unpunished]. Okonkwo ultimately hangs himself in what is his last desperate act to escape the reality in which he lives. He [has] lost the respect of his tribe, his family is in pieces after Nwoye’s conversion and Ikemefuna’s murder, and he has lost his chance to become a tribal leader. All that he holds dear is gone, which is the Earth’s way of forcing him to repay for his actions, no matter his intentions. Although the concept that one is fully accountable for one’s actions despite cultural identity or prior intent is a subject of debate, Achebe communicates this concept and defends its merits through his writings in Things Fall Apart. Regardless of culture or intentions, all individuals must be held responsible for any act, whether it is criminal or negligent; one’s punishment can only be determined by the society against which the acts are committed.

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