Sunday, July 26, 2009

Things Fall Apart

Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, portrays many of the struggles and problems that arose during post colonialism. The changes the characters goes through clearly depicts the western influences in their society. A post colonial critic such as Edward Said would be interested in how this western power dominated these cultures and effected them. Said believes that “Africa [ is ] politically independent but in many ways dominated and dependent as when ruled directly by European powers.” This can be proven through many of the parts of this story because there were so many changes within important rituals that is crucial for their survival. For example, the techonology these Europeans brought threathened the harvesting and farming skills these people have developed over many years. This makes them potentially very dependent on the European's techonology because their skills and techniques will be forgotten and less deft with time.

Language is another danger that arises with post colonialism.. The Igbo language is an importantpart of their identity because it is a product of their history and their ancestry. It is something beautiful that was made within their people that is sacred and sentimentally valuable. As the Europeans arrive, English threathens the Igbo language. However, throughout the book, it can be seen that Okonkwo tries to perserve and use Igbo. Achebe purposefully writes beautiful lyrics of Igbo songs to show the beauty of their language and the struggles to perserve it. "Eze elina, elina! Sala" [p. 158].

A post colonial critic would also question the stuggles these dominated people go through to maintain their national pride and identity. He writes, "they do not simple accept what goes on in the imperial idea; they think about it alot, they worry about it, they are actually quite anxious about whether the can make it seem like a routine thing. But it never is." [p. 377]. Said recognizes that these people are constantly in crisis find their identity and maintain their innerself. This can be seen clearly in this novel whereas the main character Okonkwo is constantly challenged to have be strong for himself and his motherland. In the midst of all this technology, Christian, and language reforms, Uchendu asks what motherland means. Uchendu answers by "But when there is sorrow and bitterness, he finds refuge in his motherland." [p.133]; he considers their country to be their comfort and a big part of their hearts. He tells Okonkwo and his problems are nothing compared to what is about to come and what happens among other people during this time; he challenges him by asking him "you think you are the greatest sufferer in the world?...i have no more to say to you." [p.134]. A post colonial critic would be interested in these identity and cultural issues like these people face as European power arises within their society. They would recognize this techonology, language, and identity issues.


  1. Interesting to note how the post-colonial issues in this book occur both for the characters and for the writer, as you suggest when you point out that 'Achebe purposefully writes beautiful lyrics of Igbo songs to show the beauty of their language.' The issues of post-colonialism, like those outlined in our feminism unit, are often not just about characters, but about writers themselves (to the point where some post-colonial writers abandon writing in English entirely)

  2. i would like to learn more about this novel actually,is anyone would help me what should i do if i want to analyze the cultural changing in this novel?thanks before