The notion of balance in Achebe's novel is an important theme throughout the book. Beginning with the excerpt from Yeats's poem, "The Second Coming," the concept of balance is stressed as important, for without balance, order is lost. In the novel, there are many systems of balance which the Ibo culture seems to depend upon. It is when these systems are 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 be described as the external, physical strength of the male; and the internal, passive, and nurturing strength of the female. Achebe uses a disbalance toward the male side to destroy the people and their culture.
Okonkwo, the main character of the book, was born the son of Unoka, who was a loafer. Unoka was too lazy to go out and plant crops on new, fertile land, and preferred to stay at home playing his flute, drinking palm wine, and making merry with the neighbors. Because of this, his father never had enough money, and his family went hungry. He borrowed much money in order to maintain this lifestyle. Okonkwo perceived this 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 the women do. In reaction, Okonkwo completely rejected his father, and therefore the feminine side of himself. He became a star wrestler and warrior in his tribe and began providing for his family at a very young age, while at the same time starting new farms and beginning to amass wealth. He is very successful, and soon becomes one of the leaders of his tribe and has many wives and children. His big ambition is to become one of the powerful elders of the tribe, for what could be more manly than that?
Unfortunately, everything is not perfect. His son, Nwoye, seems not to be showing the characteristics of a real man. He prefers to stay with his mother, listening to women's stories, than to listen to his father's tales of battle and victory. Later, when missionaries come to the tribe, Nwoye is attracted to their Christian religion because of its unqualified acceptance of everyone, much like a mother's unqualified love. Of this, Okonkwo r...
... middle of paper ...
... something different. However, I think it must be something analogous, something on a similar didactic scale, and something to do with order versus entropy. In the quotation of Yeats's poem, this comes into play with the falconer losing control of the falcon as it spirals up into the skies. It is difficult to say what the outcome might have been if these forces had been more in harmony: whether Okonkwo might not have offended the earth goddess and risen to the top of the clan, or whether his ambition might not in the first place have pushed him in this perilous direction; whether the Ibo religion could satisfy its constituents enough so that foreign influence was not a threat; or whether as a united whole the Ibo could have stood up against the external influence and military power of the Europeans. The author does seem to suggest, however, that things would definitely have been different, and that the Ibo could have been more receptive to the ideas introduced by the foreigners. He also suggests the converse. Achebe laments the death of this culture in spite of its weaknesses, and hopes for more compassion and less destruction in the dealings of the Europeans with other cultures.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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.... [tags: Papers Achebe Things Fall Apart Essays]
1150 words (3.3 pages)
- Rationality and sensibility are essential parts of human’s life. The explanation of rationality in the dictionary is “based on clear, practical, or scientific reasons; sensible and able to make decisions based on intelligent thinking rather than on emotion ”. And the explanation of sensibility is “an acute perception of or responsiveness toward something, such as the emotions of another ”. People always want to separate rationality and sensibility into two opposite things, even the dictionary says that rationality is “intelligent thinking rather than on emotion”.... [tags: Sense and Sensibility Essays]
2079 words (5.9 pages)
- The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, revolves around the strong and masculine tribesman, Okonkwo, living in a small village in Nigeria. In the first half of his story, it tells about Okonkwo's slow fall in his tribe's society. From being the amazing wrestler who threw the undefeated "Amalinze the Cat", Okonkowo had it all. Until the death of a boy who was like another son to him made him feel like an old, withering woman and changes his way of living. Things began to get much worse when European settlers began to colonize in his tribe's land and convert his tribe to their religion.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
613 words (1.8 pages)
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel written to highlight the intriguing lives and misconceptions that are often identified with African culture. Achebe writes Things Fall Apart from the African view, a foreign perspective that sees westerners as the outsiders and Africans as the insiders. Focusing on a clan in lower Nigeria, Achebe profiles the clash of cultures that erupts when white Christians colonize and spread their religious ideals. Achebe is able to make his book so popular to the entire world because of his expert use of symbols like drums, locusts, and fire.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
1172 words (3.3 pages)
- There are many differences between the Clan’s religion and the Christian religion. They never truly understood each other’s notion. Both had different views on which this one true god really is. The clan had trouble comprehending the Christians religion. As they have lived in a remote part of the world. They have only been aware of their own tradition, which makes it challenging for them to adjust to the Christian way of life. On arrival, the missionaries could barely comprehend the tribe. They had very little understanding of their culture, beliefs, and rituals the tribe admires.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
665 words (1.9 pages)
- For many people, religion is a very touchy subject. For most, it is a personal decision; people choose a faith that aligns with their beliefs, ideas, and faiths. Although people would like to think that religion is a personal decision, and they can adapt it to how they feel and what they believe, in practice, that is not the case. Religion represents a commitment to a set of principles that are not moldable, adaptable, or flexible. Religion, although it may be a personal belief, it is extremely defined, with little to no room for flexibility.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
1078 words (3.1 pages)
- “Tragedy arouses not only pity but also fear…” Things Fall Apart doesn’t tell you what “has” happened it shows you what is going to happen. In Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe is dramatizing what may happen and what was happening. The District commissioner suggested a book title at the end of the book. I think the book title’s main purpose was to suggest what may happen.”…The Pacification of the Lower Niger Tribes.” A tragedy has a protagonist, the protagonist is someone who is renowned or prosperous, and has a change of fortune from good to bad or vice versa.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
1011 words (2.9 pages)
- 3. Whites often referred to Africa as the “Dark Continent,” a place of evil. Considering Igbo traditional beliefs and the colonial encounter between Britain and the Igbo, where is evil located in this book. In the Things Fall Apart, Achebe (1969) portrays Nigeria at a time when the arrival of the British was intrusive as they crept within Nigeria’s borders and made an overwhelming influence while they claimed that Nigerians were ultimately evil and needed to be controlled. In essence, it appears that one of Achebe’s (1969) goals is to convey to readers what the British’s alternative motives were when British colonialism occurred.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
532 words (1.5 pages)
- Chinua Achebe is a well known contemporary writer from Africa. In his first novel, Things Fall Apart, deals with the conflict of cultures and the violent changes and values brought upon by the British colonialism of Nigeria. Critics say that Achebe book “Things Fall Apart” was influenced by Yeats’s view of history and time in his poem, “The Second Coming” and his use of Irish Folklore. A.G. Stock commented that Achebe was influenced by Yeats’s use of Irish legends to produce his understanding of the chronological process.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
1699 words (4.9 pages)
- Gender Relations in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart In Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, the Ibo people's patriarchal society has a strict system of behavioral customs according to gender. These customs strongly restrict the freedom of Ibo women and help to reinforce generation after generation the notion that Ibo men are superior to the women of their tribe. Among the people of this society, the condition of weakness is strongly associated with the state of being female. The worst insult that a man can receive is to be called a woman.... [tags: Things Fall Apart Achebe Essays]
1485 words (4.2 pages)