UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DO CEARÁ
DEPARTAMENTO DE LETRAS ESTRANGEIRAS
INGLÊS VIII – LÍNGUA E CULTURA
Profª Dolores Aranovich Aguero
Joan Manuel Vasconcelos Diaz
THINGS FALL APART – A review.What measure is a man? What makes a man a man? And is man a social construction?
I feel these are some of the inferred questions made by Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart. The themes of a man as asocial being, the idea of "manliness" and adapatation to new cultures literally taking over the old visions are very present. But the one that caught my attention was about how society changes and howdifferent visions are bound to clash with each other.
One such culture is bound to be shoved aside to make room for the other, usually the one that started the conflict. This is seen when the whitecolonialists invade Nigeria and bring Christianism to the tribes.
The main character, Okonkwo, is not too happy with this. He was a traditionalist by heart, believing in the valor of a man alongsidehis enviroment. He, as a tribal leader, felt the need to prove his valor the old-fashioned way. If necessary, it would involve killing those who "needed" to die, even his surrogate son, Ikemefuna.Achebe doesn’t seem to take sides, despite showing very well his research about the Nigerian culture of ages past. In fact, the occurrences of tales, songs and descriptions of traditions held in suchtimes, especially those who are kept untranslated from the Igbo language, are there to remind the reader about the rich culture that once reigned sovereign in Achebe’s homeland. The colonialists comein and “force” the residents to convert to Christianism. While most take it for granted, some others resist fiercely, which is the case of the “conservative” Okonkwo. His vision of the world remainsunchanged throughout the whole story, and I see it as an obvious trait that led to most of his problems. To him, reasoning was out of question. In fact, a passage of the book describes the origin of...
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