Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

1111 Words3 Pages
The struggle between custom values and conversion is a universally applied theme to Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The fable like, tragic tone of the work was set off from the very first page. The verb FALL APART has 4 senses to lose one's emotional or mental composure, go to pieces, break or fall apart into fragments, and to become separated into pieces or fragments. These are all exemplified in the novel Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo is a tragic hero in the traditional sense. His fate was decided for him and was unavoidable. Okonkwo’s inability to act rationally and express his feelings in a anthropological manner leads to his inescapable demise. Okonkwo exhibits the characteristics of a tragic hero not only by encompassing an unexceptional flaw. Okonkwo not only developed this flaw because of his erroneous equivalence of masculinity with being filled with relentless fury, vehemence, and impetuousness, but also because he leads to his own self-annihilation.

Fury is defined by a violent anger and uncontrolled rage. The excerpt used by Achebe as the epigraph to the novel “Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” can be applied to Okonkwo himself. He is so blinded and deafened by his past memories and wanting to oppose them that mere anarchy is released in his life and upon his family. Okonkwo’s in fervent inner battles to be as dissimilar from his deceased father as possible bring him great status but could not assure his happiness. He still did not get all he ever wanted in life. Okonkwo felt great disappointment because his son Nwoye wasn’t into the masculine behaviors exhibited from him. ...

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...ociety so weakens and depresses Okonkwo that he takes his own life by hanging. Hanging is looked to as a very disgraceful death in today’s society and ancient societies.

Okonkwo crumbled under the newly developed society of the white man in Umofia. He could no longer act on his fury, vehemence or impetuousness, because acting in those non-compliant ways got him no further advancement and was frowned upon. Okonkwo lost his mental composure and everything in his life went to pieces because of it. His lack of sensitivity and understanding of those different from him handicapped his entire life. Okonkwo’s strength was further proven to have many fallacies because he was not strong in the important aspects of having composure and not acting on impulse. He could no longer control the people around him, nor his own life so he became misfortune of a classic tragedy.
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