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Things Fall Apart Theme Essay

  • Submitted by: queenxsalazar
  • on February 17, 2015
  • Category: History
  • Length: 357 words

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Below is a free excerpt of "Things Fall Apart Theme Essay" from Anti Essays, your source for free research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, is a powerful story about culture, society, and one man’s choices. The novel is set in Africa in the 1980s. The story follows the life of Okonkwo, who is driven to greatness out of his fear of appearing weak. Through his footsteps we also explore the culture and traditions of the Igbo people, free from prejudice or misunderstandings. Through the development of Okonkwo, the use of literary elements like symbols and archetypes, and detailed descriptions of Igbo culture, Achebe reveals many important themes. One of the most profound is the theme of fate and free will.
Okonkwo is also considered a tragic hero. A tragic hero holds a position of power and prestige, chooses his course of action, possesses a tragic flaw, and gains awareness of circumstances that lead to his fall. Okonkwo’s tragic flaw is his fear of weakness and failure. Okonkwo is impulsive; he acts before he thinks. Consequently, Okonkwo offends the Igbo people and their traditions as well as the gods of his clan. Okonkwo is advised not to participate in the murder of Ikefemuna, but he actually kills Ikefemuna because he is “afraid of being thought weak.”
Tradition was very important to Okonkwo as it was with most of the clan. Order was maintained by tradition and Ibo tradition was steeped in superstition. Various gods and goddesses who were associated with nature dictated life. In an effort to control natural calamities, customs evolved to keep the gods and goddesses content. Ibo traditional thought was that the uncontrolled natural events could be controlled by this method. For example, twin babies were promptly disposed of after birth so as not to offend a goddess.
Following Achebe through his footsteps we also explore the culture and traditions of the Igbo people, free from prejudice or misunderstandings. Through the development of Okonkwo, the use of literary elements like symbols and archetypes, and detailed descriptions of Igbo culture, Achebe reveals many...

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