Things Fall Apart Analysis

Things Fall Apart Analysis
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             Chinua Achebe is one of the great postcolonial writers from Nigeria. His choice of language and his themes always point to his fellow Africans and their struggles against the imperialist invaders from Europe.  The overlying theme of the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is the conflict between the coming of change and the resistance of the Igbo people to the white colonial government. Besides this, I also find some things that speak directly to me and that lead me to reflect on certain important issues in life. The first and most important issue is how and why things fall apart?

            Two dominant messages struck me to be the contributory factors that lead to the falling apart of things or the loss of control over life. One is that even today destiny is inevitable. The second one is that there is always the case of supernatural or divine intervention. In other words, a person is not totally responsible for his own life. There are other factors that are beyond his/her control that may affect the totality of his/her existence.

             The Chi, which refers to a personal god, plays an important part in the life of the major character, Okonkwo. This is evident in terms of links between the Chi and the concepts of destiny.  This personal god serves as a guide to the person’s decisions and fate. In the case of Okonkwo, the Chi has contributed to his errors and downfall. This personal god has become the symbolical scapegoat for a person can never be totally responsible for everything that happens to him/her.

             Moreover, when Okonkwo was told by the village sage that he is going to be part of the killing of the young man who is supposed to be under his protection, he wasn’t able to escape it despite his attempt at stopping it to happen. All these misfortune deepened his disappointment and depression. He just cannot be his own destiny’s master and captain.

             His errors and lack of self-control contributed to the falling apart of the life he so painstakingly tried to establish.

             The coming of the locusts speaks of a supernatural power that has come to destroy the village’s vegetation. The “feast on and exploit the resources of the Igbo” (Achebe, 1999).  The eating of the locusts by the natives does not even diminish its power because they were only able to eat them after the insects have devastated their crops. The Igbo were left at the mercy of these supernatural powers. These are described to be “so heavy they break the tree branches” (Achebe, 1999) is declared in the text, in which the locusts are compared to white men.

            The locusts, as well as the white men, were too strong and powerful to oppose. They have come and they dominate to establish what they think is to be done in the village without consulting their views and without considering their feelings.“Does the white man understand our customs about land?  How can he?”(Achebe, 1999).  Things fall apart because of the intervention of uncontrollable power symbolized by the locusts and the white men. The usual peaceful order of the culture and its tradition was tremendously disturbed and was broken.

            The title of the novel itself proves the aforementioned themes. “Things fall apart” signifies a person’s incapability to fully control and manage his/her own destiny. There is another force that makes things happen. A person, after all, is never the master of his/her fate nor is the captain of his/her soul. It can never be.  Certain things are destined to happen, and others are not.

Works Cited: Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York:  Hyperion, 1999.


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