African Oral Traditions In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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American talk show host and political commentator, Rush Limbaugh, once acknowledged, “When you talk about change, you know what makes it really tough for people is, on the one hand, you’ve got tradition, and one the other hand you’ve got change; in many people’s mind, change equals modernization” (Rush Limbaugh Quotes). This quote accurately depicts the struggle that occurs in Chua Achebe’s 1958 novel, Things Fall Apart. This novel embraces African oral traditions and how they are subject to change. The story depicts life in Nigeria at the end of the 1800’s and the “falling apart” of indigenous cultures. Much of the novel is told through proverbs and folklore which explain the morals of many characters. The protagonist is Okonkwo, a hard-working clan leader and the physical, mental, and emotional struggles in his fictional village of Umuofia. While Okonkwo is a conservative …show more content…
They succeed in this through trading posts government and religion to draw villagers to try new things and forget their old customs and traditions. To conclude, Okonkwo found it very difficult to break his fellow men of the persuasive white missionaries. His fatal flaw was his desire to not be like his father, Unoka. This led him to live his life in a harsh and closed minded way which shut him out from the positives of modernization. Overall, the citizens who ended up converting were happier with how their lives turned out. Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son, was able to obtain education and become knowledgeable, Nneka was finally able to keep her children, and the outcasts were finally accepted by God and his followers. The Rush Limbaugh quote accurately depicts Things Fall Apart because it explains that “change equals modernization,” which causes the villagers to leave behind their old habits for a more dignified, moral, and contemporary lifestyle. Modernization does not preserve cultures but enhances

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