Things Fall Apart

1010 Words3 Pages

In the 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe’s omniscient narration allows the reader to determine their own opinions about the subjectivity of morality, as depicted through the characterisation of the novel’s groups and characters and the cultural ideals present in the novel. The way these groups and characters differ on their moral views shows the fluidity of morality, which is shown to be moulded through environmental and social environments.

Each culture, however similar, will have their own moral views, and the blending of two separate cultures will result in a clash of opposing moral views. For hundreds of years prior to the arrival of the European missionaries, the Ibo culture had their own customs and traditions that they followed. …show more content…

This difference in individual’s moral standpoints is one of the main factors in causing a conflict. Achebe tells his story through the tragic hero of Okonkwo, who is a traditional man who believes in the Ibo culture as it had been established during his life. One of these traditional views he holds is the weakness of femininity, which is disputed by his uncle in his motherland, Uchendu. Uchendu’s dispute of Okonkwo’s views “your mother is there to protect you...and that is why we say that mother is supreme” when Okonkwo gets exiled from Umuofia to his motherland highlights his limited knowledge of these traditional values he believes in, as Okonkwo was fairly clueless as to the importance of women prior to Uchendu’s teaching. Okonkwo’s blind trust in traditional Ibo values, and his unwillingness to adapt to changes in these values results in the climax of the novel. He refuses to accept that the culture has become more accepting of the Europeans within it “I will fight alone if I choose” and this reluctance causes him to misjudge what the town will do, and kill one of the missionaries. In the ultimate act of individual thought, Okonkwo’s only real straying from his preconceived actions that were based on traditional Ibo values, he hangs himself when he realises he no longer belongs in the clan that has changed so much from what he believes is right. Description of the Reverend’s individual thought “a district commisioner must never attend to such undignified details as cutting down a dead man from the tree. Such attention would give the natives a poor opinion of him” reveals a character detail of the Reverend that Okonkwo believed throughout the novel, that he didn’t care about the individuals or the culture of Umuofia, only advancing his culture and religion and eradicating theirs. The dramatic contrast between Okonkwo and the Reverend’s moral views highlights the sole

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