Things Fall Apart, Thematic Essay:
Humans’ natural instincts are to deny a new aspect and stick to older ones. Nevertheless, old and new aspects are intertwined. Traditions and change are ever present in society, without them society would not prosper. Traditions are the foundations of society. However, just like any other foundation, sooner or later it must be altered or changed, even in the most miniscule way. The Umuofia Tribe, though prosperous only knew traditions. When change is mentioned and brought to the tribe, the tribe is dumbstruck, most do not know how to respond, while other embrace the change with open arms. In the novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, traditions and change are depicted as equally beneficial to society.
Traditions represent a pivotal and fundamental part of society. They provide a feeling of belonging, they brings families and communities together, and enable people to connect with each other. In Chapter three, of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is in need of yam seeds, so he seeks out the most prosperous man in his village, Nwaikibie. Okonkwo attempts to “bribe” Nwaikibie by, “[bringing him] this little kola [nut]” (19). By bringing him the “little kola” he symbolizes “As our people say, a man who pays respect to the great(s) paves the way for his own greatness”(19). Furthermore, in chapter one, the author is mentioning numerous attainments Okonkwo has achieved as a young man, illustrating that “Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered” (8). Achebe illustrates with the first quote that traditions and sayings of the elders dominate the Umuofia society by causing someone to alternate their actions to comply with the traditions of the elders. The sayings of the elders in the ...
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... haunted his young soul - the question of the twins crying in the bush” (147). Achebe illustrates two major aspects of the book through an on-going dislike between father and son. The father and son tension between Okonkwo and Nwoye symbolizes the hatred the Umuofia tribe feels for change. They see change as someone believing that they are better and wiser than their ancestors, which is unfathomable to most of the clansmen.
Most people favor tradition over change and vice versa however, in Things Fall Apart, Achebe perfectly portrays how change and tradition are equally imperative to society. Chinua Achebe wrote that he would be satisfied if, through his writing, he could show readers that his people’s past “with all its imperfections - was not one long night of savagery from which the first Europeans acting on God’s behalf delivered them.” Achebe is successful
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