Five Main Aspects in Things Fall Apart

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One of the earliest aspects of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is concept of wealth. We see this economic aspect reflected through the main character Okonkwo, and the mirror version of it of his father Unoka. Okonkwo’s father was very poverty stricken ‘he was poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat.” Not only was he poor, but he was very bad at managing his money “If any money came his way, and it seldom did, he immediately bought gourds of palm-wine, called round his neighbors and made merry.’

Because of these things he is viewed by the tribe as being irresponsible and lazy, and by his own son as being a failure. He was not respected by the other villagers, ‘people laughed at him because he was a loafer.” He had a reputation for borrowing large sums from various people, and he rarely if ever repaid his debts, villager “never lend him any more money because he never paid back. But Unoka was such a man that he always succeeded in borrowing more, and piling up his debts.” By doing so, Unoka’s son Okonkwo rejects everything for which he believes his father stood. Unoka was poor, and cowardly. Okonkwo consciously adopts opposite ideals.

Okonkwo achieves great social and financial success, he is considered to be a great person because of his achievements ‘although Okonkwo was still young, he was already one of the greatest men of his time.’ Okonkwo is also described as being wealthy, ‘he was a wealthy farmer and had two barns full of yams.’ Here we can see the idea that, even though their society and culture are different in many ways, they respect wealth in the same way many other countries do. Oknonkwo’s father was terrible with money, and rarely pay his debts. As a result, people were hesitant to lend him money as time went on. In contrast, Okonkwo is seen as a great person. Even though age is usually one of the most important things that the tribe respects. He is young, but very wealthy.

Another great aspects of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is concept of Social. We see the previous economic aspect reflects through the main character Okonkwo, and the mirror version of it of his father Unoka. However, the concept of social revolves around Okonkwo and his family. Okonkwo hold great power in his clan, “the first cup went to Okonkwo, who must taste his wine before anyone else.”

This explains, if Okonkwo does not do anything, no one would and when the group drank, it begins with the eldest man showing respect. In the book it also states the importance of family Ethnographic. “Her husband and his family were not unduly perturbed when they found she had fled to join the Christians.” This showed how Nneka’s family became worried, because her child had fled to join the Christians and disappointed at Nneka because at first, not a lot of people was satisfied with her and most of the villagers did not approve her to become a wife. When Okonkwo’s cousin, Amikwu hear the fact that the woman fled to the Christians he was super surprised and went straight to Okonkwo’s hut and told him what he had seen, “but Okonkwo sat unmoved.’’

From this we can predict, he did not care about people who have left the tribe. Last example of social is Bride Price and The Kola Nut. “We had not thought to go below thirty. But as the dog said, ‘If I fall down for you and you fall down for me, it is play’. Marriage should be a play and not a fight; so we are falling down again.” He then added ten sticks to the fifteen and gave the bundle to Ukegbu.” In this way Akueke’s bride price was settled. In the Igbo Society, bride price was used to help ensure a marriage’s stability. The Umuofia also follow a tradition by Breaking The Kola Nut. According to the narrator this is a guests tradition used to symbolize intimacy.

The third aspect of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is concept of Cultural, which revolves around tradition, identification, and spirits. To begin with, during their time, when people call them from the outside they will not answer them like nowadays instead they will answer “Is that me?” Ekwefi called back.” This is also one of the ways they identify if they are from their clan. “They never answered yes for fear it might be an evil spirit calling.” In other words, answering “Yes” to a call from outside one’s hut could have very bad consequences indeed. During their time, they often believed in the Spirit of good and the Spirit of Evil. For example, “Ancient silk cotton tree.” For example, “on ordinary days young women who desired children came to sit under its shade.”

The narrator observes that the ancient silk-cotton tree that stands behind the elders functions as a symbol for fertility, and that women sit in its shade to improve their chances at getting pregnant, The feast of the New Yam, a year round tradition to foreshadow Ani. It was also an occasion for giving thanks to Ani. The Feast was held every year before the harvest began and it began the season of plenty “Before I put any crop in the earth, I sacrifice a cock to Ani, the owner of all land. It is the law of our fathers.” The narrator also stated, because of the law of their fathers, every crop they put in the earth shall be cooked to Ani for sacrifice. Another example of Spirit is The Week of Peace.

A very peaceful week, no work was done, no nothing. “If a man dies during The Week of Peace, he is not buried but cast into the Evil Forest.” However, Okonkwo disobey the law that was made by the fathers and killed one of his son during The Week of Peace, which means he will be punished after this week. In their culture, fathers are proud when their son grumble about women. In this situation, Okonkwo was proud of his son when he grumble about women. Okonkwo believes that grumbling about women will lead his son to become a more successful men and his son will have the power to take care of Okonkwo’s after he passed away. The narrator states “Grumbling about women, that showed that in the time he would be able to control his women folk.”

One of the main political aspects of the book revolves around the exploitation, colonization, and subjugation of Africans by white Europeans. To support this, the last line in the book the Minister decides the name of the book he wants to write ‘The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger’ (Chapter 25). We see conflicts between the missionaries and the tribe near the end of the book. The Minister sends people to break up the meeting of the tribes. ‘The white man whose power you know too well has ordered this meeting to stop’ (Chapter 24). And the conflict becomes violent when Okonkwo kills one of the messengers. ‘In a flash Okonkwo drew his machete.

The messenger crouched to avoid the blow. It was useless. Okonkwo’s machete descended twice and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body.” We see the white missionaries attempting to instill their own versions of government ‘But apart from the church, the white men had also brought a government. They had built a court where the District Commissioner judged cases in ignorance. He had court messengers who brought men to him for trial. Many of these messengers came from Umuru on the bank of the Great River, where the white men first came many years before and where they had built the center of their religion and trade and government.’ Also, the installment of ‘white man’s law’: ‘They guarded the prison, which was full of men who had offended against the white man’s law.’ The tribes mostly give in to the white man’s power for fear of being wiped out.

Okonkwo, who has just returned from exile is surprised that his people have lost the will to fight, but he is told by someone ”Have you not heard how the white man wiped out Abame?’ And ‘It is already too late,’ said Obierika sadly. ‘Our own men and our sons have joined the ranks of the stranger. They have joined his religion and they help to uphold his government. If we should try to drive out the white men in Umuofia we should find it easy. There are only two of them. But what of our own people who are following their way and have been given power? They would go to Umuru and bring the soldiers, and we would be like Abame.”

Last aspect of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is concept of Environment which revolves around trading, crop, and weather. First of all, during the year of harvest when Okonkwo decided to plant crops he believes he would make a fresh start by planting more and more crops and make good out of it. However, “rain fell as it had never fallen before”, rain washed away the yam heaps, trees were uprooted and “deep gorges appeared everywhere.” Another example is The last big rain of Okonkwo’s last harvest in Mbanta. “It was the time for treading red earth with which to build walls.” They waited until the last year because the rains were too heavy and “would have washed away the heap of trodden earth.”

The narrator explains weather was an important factor for farming, if it was sunny all year the crops will not have enough water yet they will all dry out. However, if it rains too much, the crops will not be able to survive because of lack of sunshine. So, back then planting was a really complicated decision. Another example is the Locusts. The time of year where “men, women, and children left their work or their play and ran into the open to see the unfamiliar sight” and only the old people had seen them before. “It was a tremendous sight, full of power and beauty.” The locusts was very rare because, there isn’t a specific time that locusts will arrive and it does not appear every year. Also, not a lot of people were familiar with this sight.

Cite this paper

Five Main Aspects in Things Fall Apart. (2021, Jan 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/five-main-aspects-in-things-fall-apart/



What are some elements of the setting of the novel Things Fall Apart?
The novel Things Fall Apart is set in pre-colonial Nigeria, specifically in the fictional village of Umuofia. The setting includes elements such as traditional African beliefs and customs, a patriarchal society, and the impact of colonialism on the community.
What are the five different types of conflict in Things Fall Apart?
The five different types of conflict in Things Fall Apart are: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. society, man vs. the supernatural, and man vs. himself.
What are the main points of Things Fall Apart?
The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, a leader and wrestler in the Igbo tribe in Nigeria during the late 1800s. British colonists have arrived in the area, and Okonkwo must grapple with the changes they bring, as well as his own personal issues.
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