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Conflict and Tradition in Things Fall Apart

The book Things Fall Apart successfully expressed how Chinua Achebe had succeeded in writing a
different story. It pointed out the conflict of oneself, the traditional beliefs, and the religious matters of the
Africans. Throughout the novel, Chinua Achebe used simple but dignified words and unlike other books,
he also included some flashbacks and folktales to make the novel more interesting and comprehensible.
Things Fall Apart was about a man named Okonkwo, who was always struggling with his inner fear
although he was known for being a strong, powerful, and fearless warior. He feared of weakness, and
failure more than the fear of losing and dying and that forshadowing the consequenses he got at the end.
Through this man that Chinua Achebe represented the deep and rich human characteristics and the
beliefs of one religion to another.

The agriculture of the Igbo society was different than other societies of today. Yams were the main
nourishment through every meal and they called these yams "the king of crops." Furthermore, people
used the yams for every traditional celebration and used kola nuts to offer their "chi" or personal god.
These food, as Chinua Achebe had described, sometimes related to or involved with the religion or
ancestrial spirits. Sometimes there were certain celebrations for each specific kind of food such as the
New Yam Festival. Chinua Achebe used agriculture to express certain characteristics of each festival and
celebration of the Igbo society.

There was not only agriculture that Chinua Achebe mentioned in the story but the role of women at
that time was also animportant factor. When a man wanted to marry a woman, he had to pay the bride
price to her relatives if htey accepted him. Each day, the wives had to prepare their own dishes for their
husbands and would have to obey them for whatever reason. Although their order might go against the
wives' will, they could not question their husbands because it's against the cultural traditions. When a
child was born, it belonged to its father and his family instead of the mother's because the man was the
head of the family and the wife was always supposed to obey his command. But when a man was in an
exile, he would have to return to his mother's kinsmen until the period of exile was over . Furthermore,
when a woman died, she was taken home to burry with her own kinsmen and not with her husband's.
Chinua Achebe described these customs clearly in the story because they revealed the distinctness of
the Igbo women at that time and these traditions made the story more appealing to the readers.

According to Chinua Achebe, the religion was one of the reasons that led to the death of Okonkwo at
the end. The clans of the Igbo society worshipped their gods, which made of stones and woods,
differently than other religions. They had a representative for each of their goddess such as the Oracle of
the Hills. The main god that they worshipped was Chukwu, who was believed had created heaven and
Earth. For some people who doubted his or her own religion would willing to convert to Christian to learn
a new belief. One of them was Nwoye, Okonkwo's son. "He has put a knife on the things that held us
together and we have fallen apart." (Page 176) In this statement, Achebe symbolized religion as "the
things" because as the clans found a new and accurate teaching, they began to doubt their own religion
and the Igbo society was no longer acted like one. Through this book that Chinua Achebe cleverly
described the complexity of each religion and how it affected the African community at that period of

The death of Okonkwo at the end was unpredictable to the readers because throughout the novel,
Chinua Achebe described him as a strong warrior who feared of nothing besides failure and weakness.
When Okonkwo committed suicide, he also committed the only thing he feared, and that was weakness.
Things Fall Apart was the book about power, strength, sentiment, religion and love; it also contained
several dramatic ironies. Although Achebe had written many books and novels, Things Fall Apart was
one of his finest work that got listed as the Classic Bestseller. His delicately African style furnished the
uniqueness as well as the prominence to the book.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Conflict and Tradition in Things Fall Apart." 12 Jan 2015