Things Fall Apart and Its Themes

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Themes are the fundamental and universal idea in literature works and Things Fall Apart is no exception to this rule. This novel is presented to the readers from the point of view of a man who goes by the name of Okonkwo and the way he deals with the effects of colonization. Nigeria became colonized by Britain in 1901 where the novel sets in, while we are witnesses of the changes his village goes through as the colonization of his country begins and forced tolerance is set towards their intruders and forms of lifestyle.

Okonkwos life falls apart as he resigns himself to watch his family, values, and culture be threatened and not be able to fight against it. Things Fall Apart manages to depict a world from before and after said events by showing the reader how the people of Umuofia, one of nine villages located in a city in Nigeria, deal with the events and make an effort to defeat it while trying to keep alive the ideologies of both cultures.

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The tension and struggle between change and tradition is noticeable as we advance through the novel and discover how cultural beliefs and popular influence affect various characters. Chinua Achebe achieved to deliver the concept of culture suffering because of change and modern ways as he presents Unoka, father of the protagonist, straying away from the villages traditions and making an attempt to change them for personal benefit.

One of the traits Umuofia values is hard work and perseverance, none of which Unoka has. Unoka, for what was his fathers name, had died ten years ago. In his lazy and improvident was quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow (4 Achebe). This makes Okonkwo resist change and avoid any possible relationship to it, striving to keep the tradition within his family with the intention to follow it verbatim. The cultural belief of manliness that Things Fall Apart depicts is one of the main reasons for people to resist change at all costs and avoid the eradication of their traditions.

The protagonist himself believes that the new customs are not manly enough for them to follow. And, to some extent, he rejects change over his traditions because of fear of losing societal status, as proven in the text, Okonkwo wanted his son to be a great farmer and a great man. He would stamp out the disquieting signs of laziness which he thought he already saw in him (33 Achebe). As the mans great fear of change and modern ways strive, he condemns himself to not show any possible emotion towards anyone as a strategy to make his son a better person according to the norms and expectations they society they live in demands, forgetting any possible or slight change to said rules.

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