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Things Fall Apart Essay

  • Submitted by: kgrimstad
  • on February 2, 2011
  • Category: English
  • Length: 815 words

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Below is an essay on "Things Fall Apart" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Okonkwo is a wealthy and respected warrior of the Umuofia clan, which is located in lower Niger. He is haunted by the actions of his father, Unoka, who was cowardly and died in shame, and left many village debts unpaid. Okonkwo’s comeback was to become a clansman, warrior, and a great farmer. In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, symbolism is used as a way of foreshadowing when he discusses the plague of locusts, fire, and animal imagery.
Achebe uses the locusts to foreshadow the arrival of the white men who come to convert the clan to Christianity.   These white men feast upon the resources of the Igbo. When the   Igbo eat these locusts, it shows how harmless they take them to be. Those Igbo who eventually convert to Christianity fail to understand the damage that the white men will cause to their people’s culture. “And at last the locusts did descend. They settled on every tree and on every blade of grass; . . .   Mighty tree branches broke away under them, and the whole country became the brown-earth color of the vast, hungry swarm.” (Achebe 56). The locusts, like the white men, came suddenly to Umuofia. The colonizers tried to convert the people by threatening them. They locusts come and use all their resources, just as the white men do.   “The Oracle . . . said that other white men were on their way. They were locusts.” (Achebe 138-139). Obierika and friends are discussing the arrival of a white man in the Abame village. They killed him in fear of what the Oracle had told them; that the white men had come to invoke danger on their civilization.  
The way Achebe describes the locusts shows their symbolic status. The way he uses the words “settled” and “every” give hints at the sudden arrival of these insects. These words also hints at the way the arrival of the white settlers will take the Igbo people off guard. It is also said that the locusts are so heavy that they break the tree branches, which may symbolize the collapsing of the Igbo traditions and culture...

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