Things Fall Apart Essay

Submitted By anniebel2016
Words: 562
Pages: 3

I feel like there is three overall themes in this novel. Language as a sign of cultural difference, the struggle between change and traditions, and interpretations of masculinity.

This novel deals with how the prospect and reality of change affects various characters. The pressure about whether change should be privileged over tradition often involves questions of personal status. Okonkwo, for example, resists the new political and religious orders mainly because he feels that they are not manly and that he himself will not be manly if he agrees to follow them. To some extent, Okonkwo’s refusal of the cultural change is also due to his fear of losing his societal status. His sense of self-worth is dependent upon the traditional standards by which his society judges him. The villagers, however, are caught between refusing and embracing the change and they face the problem of trying to determine the best way to adapt to the idea of change. Most of the villagers are excited to experience the new opportunities and techniques that the missionaries have brought to their land.

Language is an important theme in this novel on so many different levels. In demonstrating the imaginative, often formal language of the Igbo, Achebe emphasizes that Africa is not the silent or incomprehensible continent that many other books have made it out to be. Instead, by using Igbo words in the novel, Achebe shows that the Igbo language is too complex for direct translation into English. Similarly, Igbo culture cannot be understood within the framework of European colonialist values. Achebe also points out that Africa has the variety of many different languages: the villagers of Umuofia, for example, make fun of Mr. Brown’s translator because his language is slightly different from theirs. On another note, the fact that Achebe chose to write Things Fall Apart in English, is extremely significant;he clearly wanted this novel to be read by the Western Hemisphere, rather than by his fellow Nigerians. His goal was to analyze and correct the idea of Africa that was made by so many writers of the colonial period. Doing so…