Theme Of Exile In Things Fall Apart

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What happens when someone is exiled to a place with a culture vastly different from their own? Cultural critic Edward Said said “[Exile’s] essential sadness can never be surmounted,” but it can become “a potent, even enriching” experience. Whether the sadness of exile can give place for enrichment depends on the character’s ability to adapt to the culture. In the books Things fall apart and The Poisonwood Bible, the main characters face challenges when they are forced from their homeland into a place they are not familiar with, and feel out of place because everything differs from what they are used to. Their ability to find happiness depends on their ability to adapt to a new culture.
In the Poisonwood Bible, the Price family moves from
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He is comparable to Nathan in The Poisonwood Bible because he is unable to adjust to the new culture. He is a strong headed Native American who believes that his chi controlled his destiny. At the first of the book Okonkwo thought, "When a man says yes, his chi says yes also." He was a hard worker driven by the fear of becoming like his lazy, shameful father. Okonkwo thought if he worked hard his chi would reward him. When Okonkwo accidentally killed a clan mate, he was exiled from his tribe for seven years. Okonkwo started having self-doubt, thinking his chi was not meant for great things. When his seven years of exile was over, Okonkwo went back home to find that his tribe had been overrun by white men who brought with them a new culture and a new religion. He is furious that his tribe would allow people to continually insult their ancestors and gods. Everyone in his tribe had conformed to this new religion. They not only survive but thrive because of the new trading ect. that the white men offered. However, Okonkwo doesn’t take to the white people as easily as the rest of his tribe. He tries to lead a revolt against them that ultimately fails, leaving Okonkwo stripped of his dignity and his position in his tribe. While exiled, he changed from having a position of respect, influence and power, to no longer believing in his chi and taking his life because he could not let go of his old culture and conform to the new one…show more content…
Everyone always hears the limited view of the white person. Hearing how Okonkwo took his own life, a deed looked at by his tribe as shameful, offers a new perspective. Suicide was so shameful that nobody in his tribe would take his body down from the tree that it was hanging from. They asked the white men to take it down. The commissioner that took Okonkwo 's body down was writing a book and sized up Okonkwo’s life to a paragraph. This furthers the author 's point that not only did white people force a new culture on the natives, but those like Okonkwo, who fought to preserve their way of life were silenced and their cause was forgotten by future generations.
In both The Poisonwood Bible and Things Fall Apart, the characters that are able to grow in their exile by adapting to new cultures are better off than those who attempt to change the culture instead of themselves. When exiled, initial sadness seems unavoidable. But, the characters who adapt to the new culture or take the best qualities from it, are enriched and have a broader perspective with which to view the
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