Things Fall Apart 7 Essay Research Paper

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Things Fall Apart 7 Essay, Research Paper After the stock market crash of 1929, hundreds of people ended their lives because they just couldn t cope with the fact that they had lost such a great deal of money. Some had lost their life savings – but most hadn t. In fact, most of them still had enough to live better than a lot of lower-class families. But why had they committed suicide? Many prisoners who have been institutionalized for thirty or forty years have been known to commit suicide not long after they are released. Why? Isn t freedom a better alternative than imprisonment? The answer to both these questions is the same: CHANGE. Even if the change is for the better, a good number of people can t handle it. In the novel Things fall Apart, the main character Okonkwo is

driven to suicide by change he can t handle. The book is written by Cinua Achebe, a twentieth century author. Born in Nigeria, Achebe grew up in a transitional culture much like the one described in the book. He is currently a professor of literature at the University of Nigeria. Many factors can be attributed to the cause of Okonkwo s demise, But the three most drastic ones are: hisson s conversion to Christianity, the change in daily life the new religion brings, and his frustration caused by his apathetic clansmen. Nwoye s conversion to Christianity was a sharp blow to Okonkwo because the Christians are looked down upon as being insane. The missionary tells them that all of the Ibo s gods are false images of wood and stone, and can do them no harm. Upon hearing this, the men

of Mbanta decide that these men must be mad [for] how else could they saythat Ani and Amadiora were harmless? And Idemili and Ogwugwo too? (146) The missionary goes on to tell them about the Holy Trinity. At the end of it Okonkwo [is] fully convinced that the man [is] mad. (147) Also, the first members of the new church were the clan s rejects, like Nnka who [has] had four previous pregnancies and childbirths. but each time she [bears] twins, and they had been immediately thrown away. Her husband and his family were already becoming highly critical of such a woman and [are] not unduly perturbed when they [find that she has] fled to join the Christians. It [is] a good riddance. (151) The other group of people that join are the osu, or outcasts. The changes the new religion brings

almost pushes Okonkwo to the edge. He is worried that the religion will spread, destroying the traditional moral values that the clanhas had for generations, and that it will cause everyone to forget about the ancestors. Okonkwo also suddenly has to adjust to the new government, the new laws saying such nonsense like twins couldn t be properly disposed of and dead infants couldn t be mutilated. Now, if the evil ogbanje wasn t taught a lesson, what was going to prevent it from coming back and dying again? And what was this deal with hangings for minor crimes? Beforehand, even if you murdered someone you were only banished from the village, certainly not put to death! Okonkwo [is] deeply grieved. And it [isn t] just a personal grief. He mourn[s] for the clan, which he [sees]

breaking up and falling apart (183) right before his very eyes. But the thing that really gets to Okonkwo is the fact that there [are] many men and women in Umuofia who [do] not feel as strongly as [him] about the new dispensation. The white man [has] indeed brought a lunatic religion, but he [has] also built a trading store and for the first time palm-oil and kernel [has become] things of great price. and much money [is flowing] into Umuofia. (178) Thiswould of course seem to be a good thing, like freedom over imprisonment, but is change nonetheless and Okonkwo is not happy about it. Another factor contributing to Okonkwo s death is the frustration that was caused by the apathy of the other clansmen. Okonkwo is a warrior by nature and whenever he [is] angry and [can] not get his