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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - Book Report/Review Example

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

The novel also touches on the nature of man as we watch Okonkwo change because he cannot handle what the missionaries are doing his land to those around him. Things worsen as the missionaries seem to be gaining favor and Okonkwo seems to face more and more discouragement. Other issues Achebe explores include man's actions and how they determine his fate. All of these issues revolve around the nature of man and how mankind is a creature that rarely changes regardless of the society he lives in.
One of the most salient issues of Things Fall Apart involves the notion of change and how humanity is not generally open to change - especially when it is forced upon them. In the novel, the villagers are surviving quiet well without any interference. They face the strife and tension that any society faces on a daily basis but they are relatively undisturbed by any outside influences. They have existed this way for generations and for all intents and purposes, they are evolving in the way that they should. This changes when the missionaries arrive and, suddenly, the villagers are caught between two very different cultures. Things would not seem so tragic if these cultures were remotely alike. However, one is perceived as more civilized than the other and, as a result, better. However, this is the question that Achebe raises in the novel and this is the question we must answer. ...
The interruption of their lives is a symbol of how we are all blindsided by change at times and must do the best to adapt. As we watch the struggles that occur in the novel because of these missionaries, we must answer the question and determine if the villagers are any better than they are before the missionaries arrived. Of course, Okonkwo believes that his society will suffer because of this invasion but as time passes, he becomes more and more alone in his thinking.

Another of the salient issues Achebe alludes to involves personal issues with specific characters. One of these issues is the matter of proselytization. When we see things from Okonkwo's perspective, we might wonder if proselytizing is a good thing. The villagers are functioning well before the missionaries arrive. Certainly, there will be strife; this is not to say that the missionaries brought trouble and contention when they arrived, but it is safe to say that they only made things worse. They start trouble by literally taking things over by constructing churches. The next thing they do that sends a shockwave through the clan is convert people. When they send missionaries to other villages, we read that it was a "source of great sorrow to the leaders of the clan" (Achebe 143). The missionaries become more of spectacle to behold than something to be feared. This becomes evident when great attention is placed upon a white missionary and all of the villagers want to look at him. The missionaries are not perceived as a threat by the majority of the villagers because the villagers cannot begin to comprehend what they are trying to teach them about Jesus. Controversy begins when Nwoye begins spending tie with the missionaries. ...Show more

Summary

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel that explores that nature of man. The issues Achebe raises in this novel prove that man never actually changes over time. While society may undergo changes that influence man in how he lives, the nature of man remains constant throughout the centuries…
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