Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer, things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosened upon the world.

“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” March 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — clareowens @ 2:10 am

A major theme of much confliction that is found throughout the novel, Things Fall Apart, is that of the struggle found between the traditional ways of the Igbo people and the possibility of a “change of wind”, so to speak. Obierika, Okwonko’s close friend who stated the quote found above, seems to be a reflection of Achebe himself, and his own thoughts/opinions towards colonialism and the possibility of change. For Achebe, although he is not completely resentful towards the idea of change, he feels that the way in which the colonists went about their altercations, and how the villagers seemed to completely abandon what they have known, and what has been for such a long time, was ultimately wrong of them, and that this degenerating of unfamiliar customs has caused the Igbo people to turn their backs on their brothers; an idea in which he is not okay with. After reading this quote and thinking about this overall idea of the struggle between change and tradition, I seemed to compare it to the colonization of America and how the colonists came here in search of a new life, and to practice freedom of religion and ended up taking over the area, while America’s natives, the Indians were forced to either change or get out, and the unhappiness in which many of them felt upon this abandonment of the “savage-like” life that they had known for so long. The colonists forced a change of custom upon the Indians so that they would come across as more civilized or more like them, much like the occurrences found within Things Fall Apart and the life experiences in which the book’s author, Chinua Achebe, underwent himself when the British took over Nigeria and encouraged the Nigerian people to drop their original religious beliefs to practice Christianity such as they did. This thematic struggle found within the novel, in my opinion, could be applied to all sorts of different topics found within our lives today, not just religious/colonial purposes, and is a struggle in which I think everyone experiences at some point in time one way or another; especially through the generations as new, more developed ideas are being introduced.


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