Posted on February 8, 2016
Things Fall Apart
For the paper to conclusively answer the question following the Achebe’s novel, it is important to understand not just the background of the novel but the history of the Nigerian community. The Nigerian traditional society was subdivided into traditional kingdoms that were governed by kings and the council of elders (Bloom, 117). The society was such that the council settled any disputes, and thus they were an order that necessitated the community to follow the norms as set (Achebe, 62). It also celebrated its heroes, the traditions and many other events that were made significant to the community, for instance, warriors were the pride of the community while gas were used as a way of organizing and bring the community together (Bloom, 114).
In the novel, the community presents Okonkwo is who is both a warrior and a wrestle, he is valued as a community hero but in the event when the son of Ezeudu is killed, he and his family are forced into exile. “Unoka was never happy when it came to wars” (Achebe, 5). From a first read, it becomes difficult to understand why an accident such as this would create such heavy penalty and thus there is a need to understand the community from which the plot of the story is set (Jeyifo, 850).
There is also the issue of colonization and the introduction of Christianity in the community, which brings in a conflict between the community and the foreigners. Given the history of Nigeria, part of it was colonized by legislative power whereby the community leaders especially the emirs in the Northern part were made chiefs who ruled on behave of the British. The collected task and enforced the rules as they were given and thus there was bound to be a conflict since the leaders changed how they governed and employed British rules shunning away the traditional justice system (Jeyifo, 854).
The conflict in the book brings antagonism among the community that had accepted the Islamic religion, which had come from the British with leaders like Samori Tourre. However, the Christianity that was brought in by the colonial British as well as the traditionalists and thus to understand the concept, one must the Umoufia culture and compare I to the changes in the society as a result of the above reasons (Achebe, 20).
Ekwefi, who is the second wife of the main character, presents another paradox in the setting and the plot of the novel, for instance, she runs away from Okonkwo because she is too poor to pay the dowry. At the same time, she comes back to the compound that night gets beaten and talks back to the husband (Gikandi, 4). The idea of the community putting the value on dowry, and the idea of a man being able to pay, creates a concept that one must understand about African societies. This practice was applied as an indication that the ban could comfortably take care of the wife yet the man was a wrestler, and this would have been a selling point in most societies.
Wife battering is a tradition that is not acceptable though in most places in Africa it still happens, for a person from outside to understand this, one has to understand the concept of the African society where the community places the man above the woman. Consequently, it is imperative to note that the woman has to be submissive thus the women are supposed to obey the husband without question; hence, to understand beyond the fact the Ekwefi talked back to the husband, the reader must avail oneself of the idea of the African marriage concept (Achebe, 14).
Different scholars have looked into the book and given their point of view on the main characters and the plot of the novel. Based on all the scholar articles that have been reviewed, the paper takes a stand that the point of the book is to bring in the African society in the revolution and change to the modern society (Gikandi, 4). This is based on the effect of both the book and mist of Achebe’s works especially in poetry which significantly bringing the African society. The book, on the other hand, offers an entry of colonization and Christianity into Nigeria offering a conflict of interest in the West African communities (Achebe, 54). For instance, the need to hold the community together in their traditions while at the same time taking in a colonial way in order to avoid conflict (Jeyifo, 854). He tells a story in West Africa that tells of a true African man who works to support and defend the community but is faced by problems assisted with the rise in colonization (Gikandi, 5).The nations that surrounded Nigeria, for instance, were colonized by the French, who used assimilation and thus the need to fully do away with the African way of life and adopt the western way.
Looking at Arrow of God and Things fall apart, there are similarities in the way the writer portrays Africa as the home of traditions. This presents the narrative as a work that is easily differentiable and appealing to the rest of the people as well as teach the community and the rest of the world of the ways of Africans. Subsequently, the author reveals the manner in which the cultural practices of Africans were disrupted by colonization, corruption, and Christianity.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994. Print.
Bloom, Harold. Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart. InfoBase Publishing, 2009.
Okpewho, Isidore. Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart: a casebook. Oxford University Press, 2003.
Jeyifo, Biodun. “Okonkwo and his mother: Things Fall Apart and issues of gender in the constitution of African postcolonial discourse.” Callaloo (1993): 847-858.
Gikandi, Simon. “Chinua Achebe and the Invention of African culture. “Research in African Literatures (2001): 3-8.
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Type of paper: Argumentative essay
Citation style: MLA