Things Fall Apart Essay

469 Words2 Pages
The author of Things Fall Apart shows the complexity of Igbo culture before the arrival of the Christians. The book describes details of the community, family rituals, food preparation, marriage customs, religious beliefs, and the overall social structure. One of the messages in the book seems to be that all cultures believe their culture to be superior to other cultures. When the Christians arrive, they feel that the Ibo people are primitive whereas the Ibo people think that the Christians are “foolish” and are not a threat. A strong message throughout the book is the importance of custom and tradition. The Ibo tribe identifies itself through the ancient traditions it practices. Okonkwo's efforts to live up to standards of masculinity that he believes to be true, and his inability to adjust to the changes around him, explain the impact of custom and tradition. One of the traditions mentioned throughout the book was the men sharing of kola nuts and palm wine with the other men. Within this ritual, there were specific customs such as the oldest person taking the first drink. Another message in the book is that change is inevitable and the story deals with how the possibility and certainty of change affect various individuals. Okonkwo opposes the new Christian ways because he feels that they are not masculine and that he will not be manly if he joins them or allows them to stay. Another motive for Okonkwo's opposition is his fear of losing societal standing. His self-esteem relies upon the traditional standards by which the society that he knows judges him. On the other hand, the outcasts of the clan welcome Christianity since the Ibo cultural values place them below everyone else. In the Christian community, these converts enjoy a more elevated status. An additional point that shows that change is inevitable is when the clansmen decide to take

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