Theme Of Control In Indian Horse And Things Fall Apart

1271 Words 6 Pages
The native traditions in both novels are crucial for the stability and the sense of control for both protagonists. The loss of stability and control is a focal point in the lives of the main characters in both Indian Horse and Things Fall Apart. In both works, the main characters experience life-changing events that cause severe loss and trauma; as a result of situations that are beyond their control. These circumstances lead to a loss on a personal and cultural level especially as both characters appear to be unable to resolve the conflicts that surround them. The inevitable result of a separation from their culture is that both Saul and Okonkwo lose control of their lives and their sense of stability; however, Saul begins a process of healing …show more content…
Saul is forced to sacrifice himself to Father Leboutillier to gain what he mistakes as love. He explains how St. Jerome is “hell on earth”(78) but through the reservation hockey, he is able to find stability and joy however, that is also taken away from him. Saul loses control which causes him to reach a point where he loses his identity . Similarly, Okonkwo deals with a physical separation during his exile from Umuofia which is a source of shame for him. This alienation leads to further loss of control over his life because he failed in his role of an elder. Okonkwo’s sense of failure is evident in the fact, that work which in the past has given him focus, no longer holds any pleasure for him as his exile has destroyed this ambition. This further shakes his sense of stability as he now believes that his chi is not destined for greatness. Another factor in Okonkwo’s downfall is the loss of his son Nwoye to the missionaries. When Nwoye declares that Okonkwo “is not [his] father”(Achebe 144), it is seen by Okonkwo as a betrayal on a cultural and personal level. The separation of a father from son leads Okonkwo to lose control and become even more violent by lashing out at the missionaries. Okonkwo’s stability becomes wholly shattered when he realizes that the missionaries are replacing his beliefs, values and the traditional Igbo way of life and most of his clan are not challenging this …show more content…
His need to escape from the endless spiral of addiction, influences him to return to God’s lake where he hopes that his ancestral heritage will help him become strong enough to move forward from the past. Saul “comes to learn to carry this place within [him]. This place of beginnings and endings” (205) as he feels he is being reborn again. This new beginning triggers a return to Fred and Virgil’s family to continue the healing process. At this point, he also realizes that he needs to give back to society in a significant way, namely hockey, to continue regaining his stable self. In contrast, Okonkwo's return to his ancestral village from the exile further shatters his identity and any hope of regaining his sense of security. Okonkwo’s return to does not reconcile him with his culture, unlike Saul. His traditional customs have been destroyed by the imperial culture that is intent on wiping out everything that represents Okonkwo's traditional values. Okonkwo is further isolated from his clan as his people refuse to stand up for their traditions which forces him to “ fight alone”(Achebe 201) against this eradication of his culture. Furthermore, Okonkwo’s action of killing the messenger seals his fate as an outcast. Instead, it is evident that he is holding on to traditional values that no longer exist and his culture has no place for someone like him within it. Overall, these events

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