Achebe's novel "Things fall apart".

Essay by mathakanyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2004

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There are few things more dreadful than dealing with a man who knows he is going under, in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Nothing can help that man. What is left of that man flees from what is left of human attention."-James Baldwin. Respond to this quote in relation to Achebe's novel, Things Fall apart.

The quote by James Baldwin can be applied to Achebe's novel, Things fall apart, by understanding that the reference to man in the quote is actually a reference to the Okonkwo's village. Okonkwo is, in this sense, the outsider watching his village fall under the control of the white government. The villagers also know this but are unable to help themselves. Although Okonkwo tries to help, by urging his people to fight, his efforts are futile. In the end, Okonkwo, unable to watch the death of his village and culture as he knows it, takes his own life.

This quote thereby shows one of the major themes of the novel: the destruction of African culture due to colonization. The first example of this theme can be seen in part two of the novel where the first converts began to join the missionaries. Nwoye's conversion to the new faith can be seen as the first steps to the deterioration of the Ibo culture. He forsakes the Ibo family values and the cultural respect toward the father by abandoning his family and joining the missionaries. Thus the Ibo culture has now begun to realize that the water is rising and that if they do not fix things, they will drown. The water is therefore the problems caused by the missionaries while the act of drowning is a reference to their own death and destruction.

At Okonkwo's farewell feast an elder of the...