Things Fall Apart: The Igbo's Past and Its Cultural Value

             Chinua Achebe's, Things Fall Apart is a poignant novel about the Igbo of Southern Nigeria. An unfamiliar audience is transported to the "exotic” world of traditional African society. Achebe does not intend to write an ethnographic account of Igbo life. Although, many cultural and social aspects of the Ibo are revealed, the final message is much stronger. Achebe is attempting to remind his people as well as all people about the Igbo past and its cultural value which posses much cultural value. The breakdown of Igbo society is that message. Colonialism can be seen as the floodgate that opened this loss of culture and inferiority that "other” peoples are subjected to. There are a few initial hints towards the beginning of the novel that play an allegorical role in depicting the advent of colonialism. Colonialism is introduced towards the end of the novel but holds the last impression and gives one a wake-up call to the degradation of non-western cultures by Western culture. The very last sentence epitomizes this degradation. "He [District Commissioner] had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger”. The District Commissioner embodies the typical role of the rugged Imperialist who finds it obligatory to tame these "savage” peoples. The "duty” is not only to practice oneself but also to teach all Westerners to tame as well. This is revealed in his hopes of writing a book. .

             Colonialism and the struggle to maintain tradition are the main themes of the novel, but the audience is introduced to many themes regarding traditional African .


             society. Masculinity, religion, social interaction, marriage, folklore/proverbs all play introductory roles to the final revealing of colonialism. These aspects are pivotal to the novel and must be explore in depth. These traditional African institutions are fundamentals that must be understood and respected.

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