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Things Fall Apart: A Pessimistic Phantasm

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Things Fall Apart. The tragic novel by Chinua Achebe. It left me a lot of things to ponder on. After reading the whole novel, I wondered what drove Mr. Achebe to write such a book. It was different from the books I've read before. It's one of those books that leave one pondering about life and how harsh it could be. About how amazingly we differ form each other--from our simple appearance to as complex as our ideals and beliefs; the diverse culture each community possesses. About how a single move from others can lead to someone's downfall. About how big a role faith plays in societies; or how the mere fear of something can mold someone's whole personality.

Viewing Umuofia from an outsider's perspective, one could say that it could be another world. If not for the unmistakable humans that inhabit the place, one could soundly argue that that their place isn't part of ours. It just isn't possible that we share the same world: that we plant on the same soil; drink from the same stream; and look up at the same sky. Their beliefs are just...(insert horrible word here). Preposterous?... Just different. They have these rituals that innocent eyes may consider unquestionably ruthless. They strongly believe that social hierarchy and personal achievement are significantly linked to each other. And that war, religion, and arts play the biggest role in making a clan like Umuofia. They believe in gods who ask and require them to kill. They throw away twins believing they are cursed. They throw away people who they believe have somewhat forsaken their gods into the Evil Forest to die and rot. They even believe that the Evil Forest lives--that it will sort of kill those white men to whom they have given the Portion of land to build a church on.

Their culture might be 'slightly' different from ours, but what of their thoughts? How would they view our culture? There is the big possibility that they will laugh at our faces and say how ridiculous they find our practices. I know it's unfair to judge something hearing only one side of the dilemma. So, here I am, struggling to understand how it had been for these people when the white men came and changed everything. As readers, we may equate the arrival of the white men--Christians, to be more precise--to the actual downfall of Umuofia. They came, and what came next was chaos for the villagers.

One of the things I've learned after reading the novel was the importance of respect. If people just knew this virtue, we would have been saved from a great deal of dilemma. If people just knew it, they would have been rewarded in kind. Sadly, a lot of people don't. And it greatly pains me to know that some are bound t suffer for it.

The Igbo people must have felt that things were really falling apart. It's like imagining yourself to be suddenly told that you're not your mother's child or that you are, in fact, not human. These people were brought up to believe a certain ideal. All their lives they have been fed by the knowledge their clan had believed from the beginning.

"It seemed as if the very soul of the tribe wept for a great evil that was coming--its own death."

Yes, others who found the



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