Culture in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel about a Igbo society in West Africa. It talks about their achievements but also how they fell as a community It explains how the “white man” came into their culture and took over. It shows you how the Christianity was the ultimate reason that made things fall apart. “In Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart Okonkwo’s identify is drastically changed by the introduction of Western Ideas specifically when Nwoye flocked to the acceptance of the church and this changes him by weakening their strength and economy no longer depended on gods or yams; this change affects the meaning of the novel by dividing the village and Okonkwo knew his culture was finished.

In the next section you’ll understand Okonkwo cultural collision.

Okonkwo feels that his culture is responsible for his life problems but does not want to show it because his culture represents him. Even though he feels that way he is a leader, and a leader must obey his cultural.

Okonkwo realizes that he has become a relic, no longer able to function within his changing society. “… as he ran towards him. Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak.” Okonkwo feels that he doesn’t want to show weakness, but his culture pressures him and forces it mentally upon him to kill a boy who he felt was a son. “Okonkwo was deeply grieved. And it was not just a personal grief.

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He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he mourned for the warlike men of Umuofia, who had so unaccountably become soft like women.” Okonkwo feels that if, the Igbo society have been changed from strong tough men to soft like women. This affects Okonkwo by causing him to feel anger that his culture has disowned hid religion. He believes they’re becoming weak and acting like women.

Okonkwo finds his village changed by the presence of the white men. After a convert commits a heinous act by unmasking an elder as he embodies an ancestral spirit of the clan, the village retaliates by destroying a local Christian church. “If Umuofia decided on war, all would be well. But if they chose to be cowards he would go out and avenge himself. He thought about wars in the past. The noblest, he thought, was the war against Isike. In those days Okonkwo was still alive. Okonkwo sang a war song in a way that no other man could. He was not a fighter, but his voice turned every man into a lion.” Okonkwo commits himself to taking vengeance. “Let us not reason like cowards,” (chapter 24) said Okonkwo. “If a man comes into my hut and dies on the floor, what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! I take a stick and break his head. That is what a man does.” (chapter 18) Okonkwo responds to other clansmen who say that Umuofia has never fought on behalf of its gods and shouldn’t do so now. Although Okonkwo was just trying to protect his culture from collapsing. In conclusion, the influence of Western culture drastically changed Okonkwo.

Okonkwo’s death is symbolic both externally and internally First, it represents the death of his own high standards of masculinity and the failure he experiences in trying to live out these standards. Secondly, it points towards the irrevocable death of the Ibo culture. “He was a man of action, a man of war…On great occasions such as the funeral of a village celebrity he drank his palm-wine from his first human head” This short passage shows what Okonkwo values in a man. A man works hard, fights well, and honors the dead by drinking wine from a dead man’s skull. “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness “Okonkwo fears turning out like his father, whom he thought effeminate and weak. Okonkwo’s mistaken concept of masculinity leads him to commit foolish acts and ironically causes his oldest son to embody the characteristics Okonkwo despises.” In the end, these are some of the main reasons that led him to kill himself.

Okonkwo was drastically changed after his son Nwoye switched to a different religion. That caused Okonkwo to loss strength and economy no longer depended on gods or yams, which changed the story by having the village split up and Okonkwo knew his tribe was gone. Okonkwo feels that his life was made by the tribe, but he does not show weakness to the tribe because his culture represents him. Okonkwo finds white men in his village and with that anger he destroys the church. Okonkwo deaths was hard for the village because he represents his tribe and showed that they were strong. The novel Things Fall Apart shows that worrying about something too much can get you carried away. “If you don’t like my story, write your own”

― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart .

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Culture in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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