Violence In Things Fall Apart Analysis

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Is violence ever the answer? The book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a fictional story about the Ibo tribe during the beginning years of the colonization of Africa. The protagonist Okonkwo is a quick-tempered and abusive man who leads a successful life in the village of Umuofia until he is forced into exile. While in exile in his motherland, European missionaries begin to show up to spread their faith. After returning from exile, the missionaries have grown in strength and control. Being the only one left who wants to overthrow the missionaries, Okonkwo is driven to kill himself. Many of the things Okonkwo does in his life tend to make things worse for him. Okonkwo’s actions before and after the cultural collision he experiences when…show more content…
In the beginning of the novel, Okonkwo has it all. Okonkwo has two titles in the village, has three wives, runs a successful yam farm in his compound, and is respected by all the village. The only flaw Okonkwo has is his temper. Okonkwo is quick to get angry and always releases his anger through violence. One of Okonkwo’s wives went to get her hair done instead of cooking for Okonkwo so “when she returned he beat her very heavily” (Achebe 29). This cruel action was uncalled for, especially since for every meal, each wife prepares a dish. This beating occurs during the Week of Peace, which is a sacred week in the Ibo culture for the earth goddess. Acts of violence are prohibited during the Week of Peace, so Okonkwo’s wives begged him to stop, “but Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating somebody half-way through, not even for fear of a goddess” (Achebe 30). If the fear of a goddess is not enough to control Okonkwo’s temper, then what can? His temper later causes him to beat another one of his wives after she cut a few leaves from a banana tree. Around the middle of the novel, Okonkwo’s gun explodes and kills a man during a funeral for a warrior. According to the Ibo laws, Okonkwo and his family are forced into exile for seven years. As a result of Okonkwo’s violent actions, his entire family is forced to suffer with him. His situation only got worse during and after his…show more content…
Things Fall Apart was written by Achebe in the years before the collapse of colonialism. Many people wanted the Europeans gone so things can go back to normal again. The effects of colonialism, though, were “not something from which you could recover, really” (Achebe Interview). This quote says that the policies and the influence the Europeans had placed on the Ibo have gone so deep that a revolt is not what is needed to save because nothing will. The Ibo would have to keep moving forward and adapt. Achebe says that “You had to learn a totally new reality, and accommodate yourself to the demands of this new reality, which is the state called Nigeria” (Achebe Interview). This quote shows that he believes that over time, this adaptation can lead to recovery and lasting peace for the Ibo society and the new nation of
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