Things fall apart 3

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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In Things Fall Apart, the author Chinua Achebe shows the struggles of a village strong man, Okonkwo to achieve eternal greatness and keep the traditions of his village, Umuofia, alive. Okonkwo is portrayed as a person who strongly believes in the importance of showing one's strength and masculinity, and brands 'feminine' and 'weak' anything that does not come up to his standard. As the book progresses, he develops a severe animosity for the Christian missionaries who instate the 'white man's' law in Nigeria, and cause deep rifts between the African people. Upon reading the novel, the reader gets a strong sense of how Achebe develops his story and characters, along the lines, of Irish Poet, William Butler Yeat's "The Second Coming". Achebe repeatedly emphasizes the theme of one entity being impacted upon by another, and ultimately being destroyed or changed drastically. Herein, lies the thrust of his book, that of things falling apart.

This is the extract from W.B. Yeat's poem, "The Second Coming" wherefrom Chinua Achebe chose the title of his book, and with good reason: Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

These lines form the epigraph of the novel, and are a conduit for expressing Achebe's main theme i.e. the destruction of one being by another. They also help in focusing the reader throughout the narrative to the underlying idea of the poem. However, before proceeding it is necessary to elaborate on the basic implication of the poem. The image that comes to mind upon reading the first sentence is that of an outward spiral formed by the falconer moving around the forest in search of his prey, the falcon. One can almost see the bird...