Analysis Essay on the Things Fall Apart
Chinua, in his work titled Things fall apart, depicts the era and civilization of early twentieth and late nineteenth century beautifully. The book was a winning piece of literature in the market in the late 1950’s. The success of this novel was not only reliant on the way Chinua depicted things but also the depiction of pre-colonial Nigeria and the influence of Britain leadership on their lifestyle highlighted its importance for the wider population.
The narrator was a native Igbo, born in 1930 and became skilled at English language in his school. Chinua, as a result, amalgamated the teachings and happenings of two different cultures and provided the reader with differentiating characteristics of both. For instance he provides that they “sacrifice a cock to Ani, the owner of all land” and “kill a cock at the shrine of Ifejioku” as they believed in the sacred practice (Chinua p 13). Hence, depiction of African civilization is evident throughout the novel and remains a major theme of Chinua’s work.
Prior to colonization, Igbo had no concept of cohesiveness and recognition with a single political inspiration. They were divided and recognized as different broken down groups having their individualistic characteristics, beliefs and rituals. The Mau Mau rebellion, however, brings in the concept of unity with the introduction of guns made by them. This was the era when civilization appeared in their society. The time duration from 1878-1898 is termed as the era when Europeans took over major regions of Africa. With their entry in the region, the invention of modern weapons and techniques were introduced in Africa but control was not transferred to the native leaders for political purposes and aims of Europeans (Nicola & Rainer, 2007). The character of Okonkwo in the novel represents that struggle to bring cohesiveness and unity among the people. He struggled and was determined to keep natives away from the influence of Europeans. His belief that pre-colonial era tied the natives together to an extent due to marriages, business, trade and rivalries between Igbo groups. The novel further depicts the changes in individual characters after colonization and its collapse as Okonkwo was depicted as an altered character compared to his father who was lazy and lacked courage. The novel provides that a thousand kingdoms existed before Europeans entered the region and were known as ‘hunter gatherers’ (Gennaioli and Rainer, 2007).
Colonization brought in the benefit of accumulated wealth that took most of the Igbo population in its trance of wealth and power. They brought in the religious beliefs and principles that seemed more just than the previous uncontested judgments of the natives. Hence, the novel reveals a number of effects that colonization brought to the African society (Johnston, 2007). The education mechanisms were changed with the modernized ways taught by the Europeans. The Europeans were politically sensitive and wise holding a position to defend different groups against each other winning their confidence by their just and fair attitude. Furthermore, the effects of colonization were evident in their weapons, farming methods, medical practices and the like. Colonization further brought more inclination toward learning English, regulated state affairs and freedom from the conventional slaved mindset. It must also be noted that it negatively influenced Africa’s traditions by distribution of the culture into different groups and changes in the customs. The Africans were further ruled over by the Europeans and were involved into tough physical labor with lands taken away from them to weaken them financially (Bertocchi, Graziella and Canova, 2002). Hence, colonization affected Africa in both positive and negative manner.
Bertocchi, Graziella, and Fabio Canova, “Did colonization matter for growth?: An empirical exploration into the historical causes of Africa’s underdevelopment.” European economic review 46, 10 (2002): 1851-1871, Online.
Chinua, Achebe. “Things Fall Apart” New York: Anchor, 1994, Print.
Gennaioli, Nicola, and Ilia Rainer, “The modern impact of pre-colonial centralization in Africa” Journal of Economic Growth 12, 3 (2007): 185-234, Online.
Johnston, Harry, A History of the Colonization of Africa by Alien Races. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011, Online.