Symbolism In Things Fall Apart

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Chinua Achebe and Barbara Kingsolver create objects and characteristics in their novels that have great symbolic meaning. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s representation of a living flame and how yams are portrayed in Umuofia’s society are good examples of symbolism. In The Poisonwood Bible, an example can be found within the native language. The word bangala can mean dearly beloved if spoken slowly, but it also refers to the poisonwood plant if spoken quickly. Nathan was accidentally preaching about the plant, not about God’s love for us. Ruth May warns us how important her father’s rocking chair is, and how only he can sit in it. Both of these stories take place in Africa, and conflicts arise for many different reasons. These reasons and how they interact with the characters are also symbolic. The locusts arriving in Things Fall Apart can symbolize the arriving of the white missionaries, there to convert and “save” the African people. Okonkwo, the main character of Things Fall Apart, has the nickname of “Roaring Flame”. Okonkwo and his masculinity could symbolize and represent a raging fire, showing no emotion except anger because all other emotions portray weakness. Okonkwo does not show affection to his family, and…show more content…
Characters like Okonkwo and Nathan can represent different things or ideas. Objects like yams and a rocking chair can symbolize ideas like wealth and patriarchy. Both of these authors were very artistic in their symbolism, with even the slightest pronunciation failure making a preacher in the congo talk about death and pain instead of love and happiness. “Living fire begets cold, impotent ash”, the main character realizes his life and actions symbolically affect his family. Its novels like these that have so much symbolism and greater meaning, forcing you to constantly ponder what the author’s intent truly is, that make the read that much
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