Things Fall Apart It is hard to imagine being invaded and forced to change virtually all of our ways by a foreign nation.Unfortunately for the Ibo society, imperialism was forced upon them.All they could do was sit back and watch as the English changed all aspects of their life.Everything from religion to family life was changed by imperialism.The title, Things Fall Apart, suits the book very well because that is essentially what happened to the Umuofia village.The cultural traditions of Umuofia eventually fell apart.
The main points of focus in Things Fall Apart are life inside the Ibo tribe, the struggle of one manâ€™s desire to succeed, and imperialism. During part one of the story, Achebe takes the reader through the daily lives of the Ibo people.The reader is exposed to different aspects of Ibo culture like the role of women in society and the process of growing food.The role of women in the Ibo tribe was very specific and minimal.When a man wanted to marry a woman, he had to pay the bride price to her relatives only if they accepted him.â€œMy daughterâ€™s suitor is coming today and I hope we will clinch the matter of the bride-priceâ€ (Achebe 65).
This is from a conversation between Okonkwo and a friend.Women were given virtually no rights and their only purpose was to give birth, cook, and clean.Women had no say in tribe meetings and never allowed to talk back to their husbands.
The agriculture of the Ibo society was also a main focus in Things Fall Apart.Yams were the main nourishment through every meal and they called these yams "the king of crops." Furthermore, people used the yams for every traditional celebration and used kola nuts to offer their "chi" or personal god. These foods, as Achebe had described, were sometimes related to or involved with the religion or ancestral spirits of the Ibo tribe. The main character of this book, Okonkwo, is a truly hardworking and ambitious man, but these characteristics are mainly driven by hatred and resentment for his father.His father was a lazy man who held no title in society and owed many debts.In fear of ending up like his father, Okonkwo makes a concerted effort to work hard and earn respect among his peers.Okonkwo earned respect through his farming and wrestling."His fame rested on personal achievements.As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat…Okonkwo was as slippery as a fish in water" (Achebe 1).Despite all of his personal achievements, things begin to go downhill for Okonkwo as the book goes on.He is banished from the tribe for seven years for a terrible accident caused by him and it was during this time imperialism begins.Okonkwo returns only to find his tribe overrun by the English.Okonkwo was a troubled character with a fear of failure and an inability to control his anger and swallow his pride.He was so focused on success he failed to realize his own personal flaws.This is what ultimately led to his demise.Okonkwo is outraged to find out that even his own son Nwoye is taken in by the new religion.