Achebe's Things tr. de Fernando Santos. 5. THINGS FALL APART.  by. Chinua Achebe. ANCHOR BOOKS. 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. The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others,” writes Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart PDF.
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Download full-text PDF. Book Review. Title of the Book: Things Fall Apart. Edited by: Chinua Achebe. Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd in the. Things Fall Apart: Chinua Achebe. Chapter (PDF Available) · January with 19, Reads. DOI: /_7. In book. PDF | On Apr 15, , Remy Ilona and others published Review of 'Things Fall Apart' By Chinua Achebe.
While living with Okonkwo's family, Ikemefuna becomes very close to Nwoye, sharing folktales and encouraging him to enjoy masculine tasks. Okonkwo approves of his influence on Nwoye and grows fond of Ikemefuna himself. Soon, Ezeudu passes away, and his funeral celebration draws the entire clan. During the burial, Okonkwo's gun explodes, killing Ezeudu's year-old son. Having killed a fellow clansman, Okonkwo has no choice but to flee the clan with his family. During their time in exile, Okonkwo and his family work hard to start a new farm in Okonkwo's motherland, Mbanta.
His mother's kinsmen treat them kindly, but Okonkwo is extremely discouraged by the circumstances. He plans for the day he can return to his rightful place in Umuofia.
While he works in Mbanta, the white men begin to appear among neighboring clans, causing stories to spread about their power and destruction. When they finally arrive in Mbanta though, the clan is fascinated but finds their religion ridiculous. Nwoye, however, is captivated by the hymn he hears on the first day, and soon joins the Christians to get away from his father, who is outraged.
When Okonkwo finally returns to Umuofia, the white men have changed his clan as well.
Things Fall Apart Summary, Analysis, Characters and Quotes
Brown, a white missionary who is popular for his patience and understanding approach, has built a school and hospital, and many clan members are enrolling their children in the school so that they can one day become clerks or teachers. However, soon after Okonkwo's return, Mr.
Brown leaves the country due to health reasons, and Reverend Smith replaces him. Reverend Smith is uncompromising, encouraging acts among the converted clan members that provoke the rest of the clan.
When Enoch, a fanatical convert, rips the mask off of one of the clan's masked egwugwu during a ceremony, the clan retaliates by burning down the church. So if the community says that we will have a meeting in the market place to- morrow, everybody should go there, or could go there. And every- body could speak Granquist , Culture in Achebe's Things Fall Apart Since Achebe is not the first to write of Africa, he must dispel old images in order to create a true sense of his people's dignity.
Works such as Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness see Africans as primitives repre- senting Europeans at an earlier stage of civilization for example, Conrad , or imaging all humanity's primal urges which civi- lization hides Conrad , Firsthand European accounts of the colonial period, such as the district commissioner's Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger in Things Fall Apart, reduce the African experience to an anthropological study told from the white man's point of view p.
Perhaps the most important mistake of the British is their belief that all civilization progresses, as theirs has, from the tribal stage through monarchy to parliamentary government.
On first arriving in Mbanta, the missionaries expect to find a king p. Since the natives from other parts of Nigeria feel no loyalty to the villages where they enact the commands of the district commissioners, the British have superimposed a system which leads to bribery and corruption rather than to progress. The Igbos, on the other hand, have developed a democratic sys- tem of government. For great decisions the ndichie, or elders, gather together all of Umuofia pp. The clan rules all, and the collective will of the clan can be established only by the group.
Further, as is appropriate in a democracy, each man is judged on his own merits, "according to his worth," not those of his father, as would be appropriate in an aristocracy or an oligarchy p.
Within this system the Igbos as a whole reveal themselves more tolerant of other cultures than the Europeans, who merely see the Igbos as uncivilized.
In other words, the Igbo are in some ways superior to those who come to convert them. Uchendu, for example, is able to see that "what is good among one people is an abomination with others" p. Unlike the Europeans, the Igbos believe that it "is good that a man should worship the gods and spirits of his fathers" even if these gods are not the Igbos' gods p. While the European tradition allows men to fight their brothers over religion, the Igbo tradition forbids them to kill each other: Further, the long history of Crusades and holy wars and of religious persecution in Europe occurs because men can fight for gods, but it is not the Igbo "custom to fight for [their] gods.
At times the oracle forbids the Umuofians to go to war p. The Igbos do not fight each other because they are primitive. Achebe implies the existence of the conditions in Nigeria which his- torically led to the need for war as a matter of survival.
The land, con- sisting of rock underlying an almost nonexistent topsoil, was very poor and thus would not support large numbers of people. Planting soon depleted the soil, and so villagers were forced to move further and further afield to find land which would yield a crop to support them. Okonkwo's father, the lazy Unoka, has little success planting yams be- cause he sows on "exhausted farms that take no labor to clear.
As the population of Nigeria increased, land and food were insufficient to provide for everyone. The novel seems to make the turning point in the alteration from plenty to scarcity some time between the generation of Okonkwo's Uncle Uchendu and that of Okonkwo, for Uchendu speaks of "the good days when a man had friends in distant clans" p.
In modern times, however, the villagers have no recourse when they are starving: Achebe implies here that the modern Nigerian government is not an improvement on the destroyed past culture. In Anthills the president spends lavishly on himself while refusing money to the Abazons because they did not vote for him. The Christian missionary, then, is mistaken about the perversity of the Igbo religion: Religion is a factor both in limiting war and in supporting it when it is just.
In the latter case war might be seen as a deterrent to future crimes against Umuofia. Neighboring clans try to avoid war with Umuofia because it is "feared" as a village "powerful in war" p. In fact, the Igbo have a highly developed system of religion which works as effectively as Christianity.
To the Christians it seems crazy to worship wooden idols, but to the Igbos it seems crazy to say that God has a son when he has no wife p. Both systems of religion look to only one supreme god, Chukwu for the Umuofians p.
Both supreme gods have messengers on earth, Christ for the British and the wooden idols for the Igbos. Both religions support humility; the Igbos speak to Chukwu through messengers because they do not want to worry the master, but they deal with Chukwu directly if all else fails p.
Both gods are vengeful only when disregarded. If a person disobeys Chukwu, the god is to be feared, but Chukwu "need not be feared by those who do his will" p. The Igbos have a well-established and effective system of justice which the British replace with the system of district commissioners and court messengers.
Disputes in the tribe which cannot be resolved in other ways come before the egwugwu, the greatest masked spirits of the clan, played by titled villagers. Hearing witnesses on both sides, for example, the tribunal comes to a decision in the case of Uzowoli, who beat his wife, and his indignant in-laws, who took his wife and chil- dren away.
In this dispute the egwugwu try to assuage each side. They warn Uzowoli that it "is not bravery when a man fights a woman" and tell him to take a pot of wine to his in-laws; they tell Odukwe to return Uzowoli's wife if he comes with wine. The system helps to dispel hard feelings by refusing "to blame this man or to praise that"; rather the egwugwu's duty is simply "to settle the dispute" p.
Although the conditions in Nigeria require warlike men for the survival of the village, the Igbos have realized the danger of such men to their own society. Warriors must be fierce to their enemies and gentle to their own people, yet spirited men can bring discord to their own so- cieties. The tribe has institutions to control the anger of its own men.
For instance, there is a Week of Peace sacred to the earth goddess. Moreover, as indicated earlier, killing members of one's own clan is for- bidden, and even inadvertent death such as Okonkwo's killing of Ezeudu's son must be expiated.
Recognizing the need for Okonkwo to dis- tinguish between friends and enemies, Ogbuefi Ezeudu calls on Okonkwo to tell him to have nothing to do with the killing of Ikemefuna because the boy is too much like a family member: The entire Igbo society is based upon the combining of the male and female principles5 The male is strong and warlike, and the female is tender and supportive in times of adversity.
It's true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fa- therland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland.
Your mother is there to protect you p. In the Igbo system the earth goddess acts as a counterbalance to male strength.
Things Fall Apart 50th Anniversary Edition
If the Igbos have not achieved the ideal balance of male and fe- male, they d o seek to limit a male's abuse of his control over the female, and there are even indications that elements in the society see their wives as equals. While the tribe does denigrate the womanly by derisively call- ing fear and sensitivity agbala, or "woman," it also includes men like Ndulue who treat their wives as equals: Ndulue and his wife were al- ways said to be of "one mind," and Ndulue "could not do anything without telling her" p.
Achebe suggests that not only does Ndulue's example exist, but it is also passed on in a song about this great warrior whom the rest of the tribe can admire p. His harshness be- comes sacrilege. During the Week of Peace he will not stop beating his wife, "not even for fear of a goddess" p. And Obierika sees Okonkwo's part in Ikemefuna's death as a crime against the Earth: Ultimately, Okonkwo's destruction is tragic because, although it is brought about by the unjust system of the white man, Okonkwo is responsible in part because of his defiance of the sacred laws of the clan.
As Robert Wren asserts, ozo re- quires that every ambitious man of wealth periodically distribute his excess , In order to take any of the titles of the clan, a man has to give up a portion of his wealth to the clan. As Achebe explains in Arrow of God, long ago there had been a fifth title among the Igbos of Umuaro-the title of king: But the conditions for its attainment had been so severe that no man had ever taken it, one of the conditions being that the man aspiring to be king must first pay the debts of every man and every woman in Umuaro , Along with the representation of the viability of Igbo institu- tions in a world without Europeans, Achebe gives a sense of the beauty of Igbo art, poetry and music by showing how it is interwoven with the most important institutions of the clan and by creating a sense of the Igbo language through his own use of English.
The decorating of walls and bodies or the shaving of hair in "beautiful patterns" recurs in vari- ous ceremonies. Music and dancing are a part of Igbo rituals which call for talent such as that of Obiozo Ezikolo, king of all the drums. Stories become the means of inciting men to strength, of teaching about the gods, and of generally passing on the culture.
Okonkwo tells "masculine stories of violence and bloodshed," but the mothers talk of the tor- toise's "wily ways," the techniques available to the weak, and of the pity of the gods pp. To show how conversation is respected, Achebe throughout illustrates how careful the Igbos are in their choice of words so that they can make a point without offending their listener or listeners.
As Achebe says, for the Igbos "proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten" p. Thus, for example, Unoka refuses to pay Okoye by asserting that "the sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them1'-in other words, Unoka will pay his large debts before his small ones p.
Achebe himself uses proverbs to explain his culture: And the proverbs help to establish the morality on which the tribe depends. Most villagers, for example, though respecting industry and success, dislike the pride which causes a man like Okonkwo to deal brusquely with other men: In addition to portraying the dignity of Igbo village life, Achebe makes it clear that the Igbos did not need the white man to carry them into the modern world. Within the Igbo system change and progress were possible.
When old customs were ineffective, they were gradually discarded. Formerly the punishment for breaking the Week of Peace was not so mild as that meted out to Okonkwo, an offering to Ani. But after a while this custom was stopped be- cause it spoiled the peace which it was meant to preserve" p.
Such changes were likely to be brought about by men who, like Obierika, "thought about things," such as why a man should suffer for an inad- vertent offense or why twins should be thrown away pp.
Although Achebe has the Igbo culture meet certain standards, he does not idealize the past. Probably the most troubling aspect of Igbo culture for modern democrats is the law that requires the killing of Ikemefuna for the sins of his clan. Achebe's description of Ikemefuna makes him a sympathetic character, and it is difficult not to side with Nwoye in rebelling against this act. Nevertheless, Igbo history does not seem so different from that of the British who think they are civi- lizing the natives.
Things Fall Apart
A form of the principle of an eye for an eye is involved in Mbaino's giving Mbanta a young virgin and a young man to replace the "daughter of Mbanta" killed in Mbaino. It is the Old Testament principle cast in a more flexible and gentler mold, for the killing of Ikemefuna is dependent on the Oracle and thus is not, like the Old Testament law, inevitable. Further, the sacrifices of the virgin to replace the lost wife and of the young boy become a way to "avoid war and bloodshed" while still protecting one's tribe from injustices against it p.
Achebe, then, seems to depict this episode in terms which relate it to the development of the British, while also sympathizing with the impulses to change in Obierika and with the revulsion of Nwoye against the sacrifice which to him is so like the abandonment of twins in the Evil Forest pp. The sacrifice of the virgin, of course, is also a reminder of the sacrifices of young virgins in the classical literature which is so basic a part of the British heritage.
Achebe presents the past as admirable, but not without flaws which can be eliminated. He does so both because he holds his own art to a standard of truth and because he sees that the history he is trying to re-create to give his people dignity will be credible only if it in- cludes faults: This is where the writer's integrity comes in.
Will he be strong enough to overcome the temptation to select only those facts which flatter him? If he succumbs he will have branded himself as an un- trustworthy witness. But it is not only his personal integrity as an artist which is involved.
The credibility of the world he is attempt- ing to re-create will be called to question and he will defeat his own purpose if he is suspected of glossing over inconvenient facts. We cannot pretend that our past was one long, technicolour idyll. We have to admit that like other people's pasts ours had its good as well as its bad sides , 9.
Further, these faults explain in part why the British are able to de- stroy the old Igbo culture.
Law of Success (21st Century Edition)
Culture in Achebe's Things Fall Apart Those who initially convert to Christianity are members of the clan who have not been fully incorporated into clan life. The first woman convert in Mbanta has had four sets of twins who have been thrown away. Once the osu, the outcasts, see that the church accepts twins and other matters seen by the clan as abominations, they join the new church. Nwoye, the gentle son who cannot accept Okonkwo's harshness and especially his killing of Ikemefuna, finds in the poetry of Christianity the promise of brotherhood.
Achebe makes it clear that the poetry rather than the rationality of Christianity wins Nwoye's "callow mind" p. The British also control the people through fear, trade, educa- tion and treachery. The Igbos fear the whites because the massacre at Abame and the ability to survive in the Evil Forest in Mbanta suggest that the white man's medicine is strong. Further, soldiers back up the rule of the district commissioners and the word of the court messengers.
Another incentive to accept the British is the desire for wealth: Finally, many come to believe Mr. Brown's argument that the leaders of the land will be those who learn to read and write. If the British cannot achieve their goals in a straightforward manner, they sometimes stoop to treachery: Okonkwo and the other key leaders in his village suffer their worst humiliation because the district commis- sioner tricks them into a palaver where they leave their weapons out- side, a British practice which Robert Wren finds reported in A.In fact, he starts loving him more than his biological son Nwoye, whom he believes to be weak.
Download a Mountain of Knowledge For those of you who want to learn something new daily, 12min App takes you on a personal development journey with the key takeaways from the greatest bestsellers. Okonkwo and the other key leaders in his village suffer their worst humiliation because the district commis- sioner tricks them into a palaver where they leave their weapons out- side, a British practice which Robert Wren finds reported in A.
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Embeds 0 No embeds. Achebe suggests that not only does Ndulue's example exist, but it is also passed on in a song about this great warrior whom the rest of the tribe can admire p.
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