Book Review: Things Fall Apart

Pages: 4 (1427 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] This kind of realism shows that the African society was not unlike our own. While they placed their meaning on different things, the society still functioned in the same way. It is not presented as a perfect world, it is presented as a real world.

By telling the story through the character, Okonkwo, the reader is also able to identify with the story more. It allows the functioning of society to be understood. The character of Okonkwo is also believable. We see that he is obsessed with success because his father was not. In his actions then, we see that he does not act for 'the good of society' but rather 'the good of himself.' In the end where he rises up against the Europeans, beheads a European and then kills himself, he does not do these actions for the good of society. He does them because he wishes to regain his place in society. There is a consistency here in that his actions are believable.

The Themes and The Tragedy

The theme of the story is the changing of the society by European civilization, the story essentially shows us how the African tribe did 'fall apart' with the introduction of the Europeans. This theme becomes evident because of Okonkwo. As we have seen, Okonkwo is a success in the society. However, after leaving for seven years while the Europeans entered the African society, he returns to find everything has changed. Unlike the other Africans, Okonkwo has not gone through any changes. He returns to find while he was once powerful, he no longer has any power. This is a sign of just how much things have changed. We see that many have converted to European ways. Even in the end, we see that even those that have not converted to European ways, do not take the action that Okonkwo does. While they are opposed to it, they do not have the conviction to carry out actions against the Europeans. This is a sign that the entirety of the African tribe has been changed by the events. While some have not been converted, the meaning is there that they all eventually will. Okonkwo believes that the African society will never be the same and the reader also agrees. It is the final tragedy that Okonkwo, the only person that is truly African kills himself, a sign that African society as a whole can no longer exist.

The Greater Meaning

By offering a realistic society, the reader can identify with the society, even though they are not part of it. They can see that while their society is not the same as the African one, it does operate in the same way. Those that are successful and powerful become leaders even though they may not be good people. We see then, that while societies differ in their beliefs, they remain the same in the way they operate. By recognizing this we can see that what happens to the African society can also happen to others. Essentially a more powerful one can effect it and very quickly make dramatic changes. In the end of the book we see that Okonkwo's actions will only be remembered as a single paragraph of the Commissioner's memoirs. This is a sign of just how quickly things can change. And in the process just how quickly a person's importance can change. From being a leader, Okonkwo is now worthy only of a paragraph. This nature of change relates not only to society as a group but to any group within society. As the beliefs of the group change, the perceived power of those in the group change. It emphasizes that power and success are only relative and can be lost in a very short time.

Conclusion

Through the story of Okonkwo we see how quickly society can change and how the African tribe lost its society to European civilization. As well as seeing the tragedy of this we also come to understand the relationship between those in power and the society. We also see how quickly society can change and power shift, and how this relates to any society or… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Things Fall Apart.  (2002, March 10).  Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/things-fall-apart-author/7440924

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"Things Fall Apart."  10 March 2002.  Web.  26 March 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/things-fall-apart-author/7440924>.

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"Things Fall Apart."  Essaytown.com.  March 10, 2002.  Accessed March 26, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/things-fall-apart-author/7440924.