Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe Essay

Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe Essay

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In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe incorporates a lot of African culture into the stories as a response to Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, because there are so much more to the people and the environment. The culture itself, is injected into the characters and setting. To fully appreciate the characters and their interactions with environment, readers have to comprehend the culture because these aspects are inseparable. It is basically tridirectional: culture can influence character(s) and the setting, setting can influence characters and the culture, and last but not least characters can influence culture and setting; this idea is interlaced into the way Achebe structures Things Fall Aparts into three parts.
The first part of the novel is set up to educate the reader about the African culture in the Umuofia tribe and its influence on characters in the novel and the setting. There are instances where the narrator makes a reference to a word in the Igbo’s language like “ogbanje” and further elaborate in relation to the word like how “ogbanje” refers to the “wicked children who, when they [die], [enters] their mothers’ wombs to be born again” (77; ch. 9). Without the narrator’s translation and explanation as to what an ogbanje is or where the term originated from after referring to it, readers will most likely be clueless because there will be this lack of context and background information like stories that are sometimes several pages long in Things Fall Apart; the context and background information for the term ‘ogbanje’ is nine pages long. This context and background information from the narrator are vital to the understanding the culture. It also gives rise to bits and pieces of characterization of different ch...


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...ng on the piece of land that has to do a lot with what the tribe believes, the image of the Evil Forest as a whole is not about the culture of the tribe as much anymore. That is the why the narrator’s focus is shift away from the elaborations that are so abundant in the first part of the novel.
In Things Fall Apart, Achebe structures the parts of the novel to depict this tridirectional relationship among culture, settings, and characters. The purpose of the narrator’s explanations abundantly throughout the first part of the novel is to show how culture is embodied in the setting and characters. The culture can influence setting and at the same time, different settings can influences what kind of culture readers come across and that in turns, affect how the characters respond to different settings. And with cooperation, characters can alter the culture and setting.

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