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Isabel Maria C.

Fernando August 4,
2012-24189 English 12


1) Chinua Achebe wanted to subvert the common perception of

Africans (or Nigerians in particular). He saw the lack of African
literature that portrayed the Africans as a people with their own
brilliant culture and wanted to rectify that. Most African literature
written by non-Africans tends to portray the race as one composed of
uneducated individuals "saved" by the act of colonization - an image of
Africa so over-used, we aren't aware that it is an image created by
someone who doesn't know the other side of the story. Chinua Achebe
knew this to be far from the truth, and so he came out with "Things Fall
Apart" which shows us the opposite - the image of Africa, and of its
colonization, from a native's point of view.

2) At first glance, the title seems to talk about how things fall
apart in the novel. And things do fall apart for Okonkwo. His beliefs are
tested by trial after trial, his downfall foreshadowed by each misfortune
that happens in his life (although, his downfall could have been caused
by his one-track mind when it comes to his culture and beliefs),
finalized by his suicide. Achebe actually takes the title "Things Fall
Apart" from William Butler Yeats's poem "The Second Coming", as seen
in the epigraph. "The Second Coming" is Yeats's opinion on the
aftermath of the First World War, which had greatly affected Europe.
Most people during that period of time would probably be glad that the
war was over and life could continue normally, however, Yeats believed
that the war had broken European society as they knew it. Taking into
consideration the original context of the poem, as well as his goal to
put into writing the Africa that he knew, Achebe may have used
"Things Fall Apart" in order to convey the similarities between the
crumbling society because of a war - something most of the Western
world has experienced - and the shaking of beliefs brought about by
the attempt convert and colonize.

3) The British colonized the Nigerians in 3 ways. First was

through Britain's military power. Slowly, they took over the different
villages in Nigeria and gradually imposed their form of government.
Those who rioted or did not comply were punished. Second was by
evangelization. The British introduced Christianity to the Nigerians and
urged them to let of their gods (which, essentially, is a way of "forcing"
them to let go of a dominant part of their culture as Nigerians). Finally,
the British educated them, teaching them English among other things.
This way, the "ideal African" is someone who was "African in blood,
Christian in religion and British or French in culture and intellect".