Essay on Investigating Why the Book is Entitled Things Fall Apart

Essay on Investigating Why the Book is Entitled Things Fall Apart

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Title Analysis of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

I believe that the title Things Fall Apart refers to the fact that
without proper balance, things do fall apart. The notion of balance in
the novel is an important theme throughout the book. Beginning with
the excerpt from Yeats' poem, The Second Coming, the concept of
balance is stressed as important; for without balance, order is lost.
In the novel, there is a system of balance, which the Ibo culture
seems to depend upon. It is when this system is upset that "things
fall apart." Okonkwo, the Ibo religion, and ultimately, the Ibos'
autonomy were brought to their demise by an extreme imbalance between
their male and female aspects. These male and female aspects can be
generally described as the external, physical strength of the male,
and the internal, passive and nurturing strength of the female. It was
an imbalance toward the male side that led to the destruction of the
people and their culture.

Okonkwo, the main character in the book, was the son of Unoka, who was
a loafer. Unoka was too lazy to go out and plant crops on new, fertile
land, preferring to stay at home playing his flute, drinking palm
wine, and making merry with the neighbors. He had to borrow money in
order to maintain this lifestyle, and was never able to pay it back.
Okonkwo perceived this trait as an imbalance toward the female side in
his father's character; staying at home and not using one's strength
to provide for the family is what a woman does. In reaction, Okonkwo
completely rejected his father, and also his own feminine side. It was
this deep-rooted antipathy toward anything considered weak or femini...


... middle of paper ...


...In the evening, they return home to the
comfort of their wives' cooking and their beds. In contrast, it is at
night that the priestess of Agbala is most active. The men fear the
night and all of the unknown things that dwell there, but in the night
the priestess fearlessly walks the woods, practicing her profession.

This book is aptly named, as I cannot think of a more appropriate
title for it than Things Fall Apart. The author definitely suggests
that there is a balance to all things, and that when that balance is
lost, the system is reduced to chaos. The balance in the case of the
Ibo society was one between masculine and feminine forces, with an
imbalance on the masculine side eventually turning order to entropy.
For Okonkwo, things literally fell apart: his hopes and dreams, his
family, his culture, and his life.

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