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Fall Of Umuofia

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The Fall of Umuofia

Chinua Achebe's novel "Things Fall Apart" is a story that illustrates the effects of a new Christian religion in a tribal village in Africa. It is a well distinguished culture and has a value system that continued for many years as they trace back into their ancestry. However, a conflict arises when the culture suddenly starts to fade and modern tribesmen allow white missionaries to intrude on their system and convert many of the tribe's younger members to the Christian faith. The tribal system eventually falls apart because younger members are not able to remember people of the past or unable to relate to violence when they have lived in safety and peace. They then become uninterested in a faith that does not fulfill their needs for music, joy and love, instead of focusing on the obedience of a higher being.

Okonkwo could remember to another time when children, like his own son, were not lazy. He could also remember the laziness of his own father, Unoka, and that his father had not received any titles as a clansman. He was determined to be a respected farmer of yams to ward off the shame of his unsuccessful and dishonorable father.

"Fortunately, among these people a man was judged by his worth and not according to the worth of his father. Okonkwo was clearly cut out for great things. He was still young but he had won the fame as the greatest wrestler in the nine villages. He was a wealthy farmer and had two barns full of yams, and had just married his third wife. To crown it all he had taken two titles and had shown incredible prowess in two inter-tribal wars" (8).

Okonkwo becomes a man with great strength and personality, achieves his goal to

become rich and famous, a privilege that was unseen before in his family. Age was also an extremely important and greatly valued among his people, but success was honored. "As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings. Okonkwo had clearly washed his hands and so he ate with kings and elders" (8). This was Okonkwo's drive in life and so he remained successful and worked twice as hard to prove to others that he was not the same man as his father. Unfortunately, this was not a mutual feeling in the clan, and Okonkwo, in trying to make up for his father's mistakes, took on the responsibilities of an older man as a young boy which led to him having the mindset of an elder in the community.

Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, definitely did not have the same work ethic and was not working to prove his manhood to the rest of the village. So, for Okonkwo to expect hard work ethics from his son by nature was not realistic, because Okonkwo's work ethic was without doubt not one of an inherited result either. It certainly does not help when Ikemefuna moves in with them because Okonkwo sees quite a bit of himself in him, which makes Nwoye seem even less of a hard worker. This work ethic however, is an essential value in the community and when younger members of the generation do not feel that they are responsible for the tribe's lasting existence; they may not feel that taking part in the village life is needed. Then again, Okonkwo's work ethic is much stronger than the normal that is necessary for the tribe to continue to do well. As a result, leads to Okonkwo beating Nwoye for only giving the minimum amount of work expected of him. Perhaps Nwoye turns to Christianity because he feels that, in his tribe, he is looked at as a failure. Maybe he feels that he would not be an adequate member and would not be able to meet the standards necessary for the tribe to succeed, therefore turning to the missionaries who were accepting of everyone, even those who had been officially exiled from the village.

Okonkwo's father was always optimistic and even though he had been lazy; he assured his son that he would succeed in life. "Do not despair. I know you will not despair. You have a manly and a proud heart. A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone (24-25). However it is easy to see that in washing his hands entirely of his father's ways, Okonkwo also washed away the values of compassion, supporting the ones near to him and the love to take time out and relax.

In the book we saw that there are times when Nwoye would like to hear stories. He likes stories about life and the moral lessons they can offer him to keep himself from making the same types of mistakes. Okonkwo likes him to listen to stories of war and of fear, "[m]asculine stories of violence and bloodshed" (53), the blood of his past and of his ancestors. "Nwoye knew that it was right to be masculine and to be violent, but somehow he still preferred the stories that his mother used to tell, and which she no doubt still told to her younger children" (53). This type of violence had not occurred during the children's time in the village. Fighting for their lives and village was a thing of the past, extreme measures that were taken by their ancestors to hold on to and cherish. It was something that the children could not relate to and



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