Review of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The main subject matter in Things Fall Apart entails missionary and colonial influence in Africa, with specific focus on the Nigerian context. The novel illustrates the events which occurred in Nigeria during the pre-colonial period of the 1890s. Great conflict emerged between colonialism concept and the traditional beliefs of the tribes. During the stay in Banta, Okonkwo gets information that the white people residing in Omuofia have the intention of introducing their religion, which is Christianity (Chinua 76).
Achebe illustrates several salient features and also auxiliary concepts.th salient argument is that Christianity led to the introduction of government, during the time of Okonkwo. The people were coerced into supporting the government by armed force (Keith 174). The white people had superior weapon and organization, which was necessary to establish a government in Africa. The auxiliary argument shows the rebellion of the Africans towards the British government. After exile, Okonkwo returns to the village and finds a well established white government. He shows his approval by burning the village Christian Church (Frazer 62).
The novel has supporting facts on the African traditional practices. The Umuofian tradition discourages cowardice. hence, Okonkwo advocates for war against the foreign settlers. He is however taken to prison, due to the rebellion activities against the colonial government. for instance, burning a church. The Igbo tradition discourages suicide. Okonkwo did not adhere to this tradition, because he hanged himself to escape trial in a court operated by the white men (Diana 71). Therefore, certain aspects of the African tradition were not followed in some cases and contexts.
The arguments and discussions illustrated in the poem are very convincing. Okonkwo is a strong traditionalist. He is a polygamous man with three wives. The wives have eight children. In the African civilization context, polygamy is an accepted practice. This is because a big extended family was considered as a sign of wealth. Africans who defied the colonial masters were subjected to inhuman punishments. Okonkwo was ashamed, despite being a native leader, through public beatings and shaving of the head (Keith 31).
Okonkwo is a village leader who has great desire to achieve in terms of wealth, family and leadership. The motivations for success are mainly because he desired to overcome the shameful life that his father led. His father died a poor man with a lot of debts and minimal societal respect. The African tradition greatly values family legacy. This is the main reason why Okonkwo strives to much to earn societal respect, even during his death time he showed a lot of courage and pride as an African leader (Gordon 25).
The reading organization is appropriate. This is because it is thematically divided into three simple chapters. The first chapter shows the personal and family life of Okonkwo. The second and third chapter illustrates the colonial and missionary influence in the African society. The novel is also written in simple English, and the language is presented according to the African perspective (Donna 91). The author applies a lot of imagery to illustrated traditional African practices like wrestling matches. The imagery enhances easy understanding of the poem.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994. Print.
Baldwin, Gordon. Strange Peoples and Stranger Customs. New York: W. W. Norton and Company Inc. 2007. Print.
Booker, Keith. The Chinua Achebe Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2013. Print.
Booker, Keith. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe [Critical Insights]. Pasadena, Calif: Salem Press. 2011. Print.
Frazer, Sir James George. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. New York: The Macmillan Company. 2006. Print.
Rhoads, Diana. "Culture in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart". African Studies Review. 36(2): 61–72. 2011. Print.
Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC Publishing Group. 2009. Print.