The Igbo Culture In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart, by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is a novel centered around the Nigerian Igbo culture during Nigeria’s British colonization in the 1800s. The novel published in 1958, is a broad, and objective illustration of the Igbo culture. Achebe also provides an insight into the prevailing Western perspective at the time during which colonialism was at it’s peak. One of Chinua Achebe’s primary motivations which led him to writing the novel, Things Fall Apart was the slanted perspective of his culture which was seen as primitive and savage. Prior to the publishing of Things Fall Apart, authors like Joseph Conrad published novels in which they discriminated and degraded African people and cultures. In Achebe’s novel, the struggle between …show more content…
These cultural values are embodied by the novel’s protagonist, Okonkwo: “He was still young but he had won fame as the greatest wrestler in the nine villages.” (Achebe 8) From an early age, Okonkwo has been proficient in the art of wrestling, which is of great importance in the villages of Umuofia as it illustrates a man’s strength and capability. Okonkwo’s early success in the sport added to his extreme masculine traits, which lead to him being viewed as an ideal male within his society. As the novel progresses Okonkwo illustrates the Igbo culture’s values through situations he faces; however, it quickly becomes clear that the values portrayed are taken to excess. “And when she returned he beat her very heavily...But Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half-way through, not even for fear of a goddess. (Achebe 28) Through Okonkwo's characterization the reader sees the more violent sides of the Igbo culture, which is ironic when considering the kind of man Okonkwo’s father was. “Unoka was never happy when it came to wars” (Achebe 6). Unoka was a man who failed to live up to his culture's expectations of a man. He “could not bare the sight of blood” (Achebe 6), and refrained from any violence in all aspects of his life. His softer, character left Unoka alienated from the mores of his culture. …show more content…
There are the strong ones; Okonkwo, and Obierika; and the ‘weaklings’; Unoka, and Nwoye. “As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat” (Achebe 1) By ‘’throwing’’ his opponent Okonkwo brought honor to his people, thus illustrating how valued strength truly is in determining a man’s masculinity and stature within his society. Furthermore, through Unoka’s passing and Nwoye’s conversion to Christianity the reader is able to see that superior males treat the more feminine ones with harshness, to a point where they exile them from their society completely.

In the novel, Things Fall Apart, Achebe aims to alter the unjust views of the Nigerian cultures by the Western world, and provide an objective insight into the Igbo culture. He offers an insight into the values of the Igbo people and shares the concept of an ideal man in contrast with the individuals who can be vilified, through the characterization of multiple key

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