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The Story "Things Fall Apart"

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The story unfolds in a typical African setting more specifically Umuofia village early in the 1880’s right before the arrival of the Christian missionaries. The novel portrays the traditions and the customs of the Ibo clan where good leadership was attributed to commitment to the gods as well as good service to the clan.Okonkwo is portrayed as the main character that is highly respected due to the great number of things he had achieved. The irony in the story is seen when Okonkwo is to face the wrath of punishment following his hand in the death of a young man in the village (Chinua Achebe's).

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The main theme of change and conflicts comes out clearly when there is a clash between traditions and Christianity. This brings in a lot of divisions in the clan. The double tragedy that befalls the community is seen with the use of unique language. Chinua Achebe did not only write to his fellow Nigerians but to the entire African fraternity that lost their moral values due to the arrival of the western culture which they never understood well. The Ibo tribe is seen as inflexible people who could not immediately appreciate the need for change though the story is told through fiction. Yet another theme of headwork and sheer determination is seen through Okonkwo where his hardworking and great wrestling spirit is seen. His “chi” or energy drive makes it absolutely difficult for him to balance between the feminine aspect of love as well as the masculine ego of the society. The relevance of the novel came only after independence as the novel was seen as fiction in the early stages.Yer another instance when things are seen to fall apart is when Okwonko’s one and only son Nwoye disowns the traditions and commits to Christianity.

The man Okonkwo is seen as the almost perfect example that fits into Aristotle’s quote “Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all."Achebe himself diifers a great deal with the white man’s ideas (Matthews, 43-6). This is seen through one of his quotes “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."

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