The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe displays a strong significance based solely on Nigerian culture and how it slowly evolved due to European immigrants. Both culture and gender play a huge role in the way of life in the Ibo village. As it was a common custom in the past, the male was dominant in the family. Achebe tells of an Igbo tribesman, Okonkwo, and his prosperous life in the village of Umuofia. Being prized of personal achievements such as defeating Amalinze the Cat, Okonkwo is expected to accomplish much more in his lifetime, but will his actions turn out to ruin his reputation and furthermore? Throughout the novel, Okonkwo displays various actions in response to the European invasion of his culture and other villages. These actions include wanting to “fight these men and drive them from the land” (Achebe 176), killing the head messenger (Achebe 204), and him committing suicide (Achebe 208). Also, author Chinua Achebe chooses to end the novel in Okonkwo’s death and the inclusion of the District Commissioner creating his own novel. By doing this, Achebe creates irony to how the Commissioner’s views show how little knowledge he has on the culture that he recently evolved (209).
To begin, Okonkwo is a man of strength, wealth, and high status in his clan in Umuofia. Since childhood, he was embarrassed with and haunted by his father’s failures. “But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness” (Achebe 13). Being influenced by his father’s failures and weakness, Okonkwo strived to become the best and he definitely succeeded. He wanted to leave the Earth being known for his accomplishments and strength as a human, not for his worthlessness and failures like his fath...
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... and became a successful individual. With high respect, wealth, and strength Okonkwo was believed to accomplish more achievements in his life. Due to his actions, the unexpected came into play and drove him to his death. Achebe described a variety of culture and ways of life, and how suddenly it changed because of white men influence that was believed to be undamaging. For every one of his actions, there was a type of change in his village. Because of this and his absence, the original way of Nigerian life transformed whether Okonkwo liked it or not and he was too late to stop it. Faced with reality, he ends his life rather than being converted and in the hands of the white men. His life would not be recognized for his achievements and success but instead, a man with no understanding of the Nigerian culture would use this experience in an unprofessional manner.
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