Analysis Of Poisonwood Bible And Things Fall Apart

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With great power comes great responsibility—even if said power was not rightfully earned to begin with. In positions of power, humanity is prone to an overexertion of force to ensure those positions are secured, vying to push them to greater heights that cannot be overtaken. In Poisonwood Bible and Things Fall Apart, these tendencies manifest into ardent displays of cruelty; within itself, cruelty becomes a defense mechanism, a coping method, a disciplinary tool, rash and injust from fear of this superiority being lost. The driving point of this cruelty is that it festers within insecurity and is fed by greed. In the novels it reflects the presence of not only patriarchal dominance, but also religious, cultural, and racial puissance. Ironically, the reaction of oppressed to the oppressor tends to hasten rebellion instead of discourage it. Cruelty, in turn, highlights both the strength of different characters and societies and their points of fragility and misuse of power, and pushes its victims to break out of the boxes they have been forced in.

Things Fall Apart uses cruelty as a critical centerpiece to much of the novel’s events. Its main character, Okonkwo, is built off of it. The heart of his personality is shielded away from others; instead of showing his family his true colors and expressing himself, Okonkwo is cold and cut-off. Emotions, in his view, equate to weakness. It is from this belief that Okonkwo’s cruelty is born, stemmed from his interpretation of
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