A symbol found within Things Fall Apart is that of fire, and the burning flame that is Okonkwo’s anger towards the idea of change, and the colonials who are enforcing these altercations. In the novel, Okonkwo expresses the fact that fire has the tendency to destroy everything in which it consumes, which is much like Okonkwo’s actions as a result of his enragement. Much like a fire that burns and kills off anything in its path, Okonkwo’s anger caused him to act in a similar manner through physical destruction such as how he murdered Ikemefuna (Ogbuefi Ezeudu’s son). Also adding to this symbolic representation found between Okonkwo’s rage and that of fire is the fact that fire feeds upon itself until it eventually becomes nothing more than ash, laying lifelessly on the ground in which it destroyed much like the fate of Okonkwo who becomes so angry, that he grow to become far to overwhelmed with his rage to control it any further, and it ultimately destroys him, leaving him gray and lifeless such as the ashes of a fire.
“Living fire begets cold, impotent ash.” March 23, 2011