Intro For many writers, the theme of a novel is the driving force of the book throughout its creation. Even if the author does not consciously determine a designated theme, the innovative procedure is directed by a minimum of one managing idea– a principle or concept or belief or purpose substantial to the author. The theme– frequently numerous styles– guides the author by controlling where the story goes, what the characters do, what mood is represented, what style develops, and what psychological impacts the story will produce in the reader.
Igbo Society Intricacy From Achebe’s own declarations, we understand that a person of his styles is the intricacy of Igbo society prior to the arrival of the Europeans. To support this style, he includes detailed descriptions of the justice codes and the trial procedure, the social and household rituals, the marriage custom-mades, food production and preparation processes, the procedure of shared leadership for the neighborhood, faiths and practices, and the chances for virtually every guy to climb up the clan’s ladder of success through his own efforts.
The book might have been composed more merely as a research study of Okonkwo’s deterioration in character in a progressively unsympathetic and incompatible environment, however consider what would have been lost had Achebe not emphasized the theme of the complex and dynamic qualities of the Igbo in Umuofia. Clash of Cultures Versus Achebe’s style of Igbo cultural intricacy is his theme of the clash of cultures.
This crash of cultures occurs at the private and societal levels, and the cultural misconception cuts both methods: Simply as the uncompromising Reverend Smith views Africans as “heathens,” the Igbo at first slam the Christians and the missionaries as “foolish.” For Achebe, the Africans’ misperceptions of themselves and of Europeans require realignment as much as do the misperceptions of Africans by the West. Writing as an African who had been “Europeanized,” Achebe composed Things Break Down as “an act of satisfaction with [his] past, the routine return and homage of a prodigal on.” By his own act, he motivates other Africans, especially ones with Western educations, to understand that they may misperceive their native culture. Fate Related to the theme of cultural clash is the concern of how much the flexibility or the rigidness of the characters (and by implication, of the British and Igbo) add to their fate. Since of Okonkwo’s inflexible nature, he appears destined for self-destruction, even before the arrival of the European colonizers. The arrival of a brand-new culture only quickens Okonkwo’s terrible fate.
2 other characters contrast with Okonkwo in this regard: Mr. Brown, the first missionary, and Obierika, Okonkwo’s buddy. Whereas Okonkwo is an unyielding man of action, the other two are more open and adaptable men of thought. Mr. Brown wins converts by very first respecting the customs and beliefs of the Igbo and subsequently enabling some accommodation in the conversion procedure. Like Brown, Obierika is also an affordable and believing person. He does not advocate using force to counter the colonizers and the opposition.
Rather, he has an open mind about changing worths and foreign culture: “Who knows what might occur tomorrow?” he comments about the arrival of immigrants. Obierika’s responsive and adaptable nature may be more representative of the spirit of Umuofia than Okonkwo’s unquestioning rigidness. For instance, think about Umuofia’s preliminary absence of resistance to the facility of a new faith in its middle. With all its deep roots in tribal heritage, the neighborhood hardly takes a stand against the intruders– versus new laws along with new religious beliefs.
What accounts for this lack of community opposition? Was Igbo society more responsive and adaptable than it seemed? The lack of strong initial resistance may likewise originate from the truth that the Igbo society does not foster strong main management. This quality encourages individual effort toward acknowledgment and achievement but also restricts prompt decision-making and the authority-backed actions needed on short notification to maintain its stability and well-being.
Whatever the factor– perhaps a mix of these reasons– the British culture and its code of behavior, ambitious for its goals of native “knowledge” as well as of British self-enrichment, start to trespass upon the existing Igbo culture and its matching code of habits. A factor that accelerates the decline of the traditional Igbo society is their custom-made of marginalizing a few of their individuals– permitting the presence of an outcast group and keeping ladies subservient in their household and community participation, treating them as residential or commercial property, and accepting physical abuse of them somewhat lightly.
When agents of a foreign culture (beginning with Christian missionaries) go into Igbo territory and accept these marginalized individuals– consisting of the twins– at their complete human value, the Igbo’s conventional shared management discovers itself not able to control its whole population. The absence of a clear, sustaining center of authority in Igbo society might be the quality that chose Achebe to draw his title from the Yeats poem, “The 2nd Coming.” The crucial expression of the poems checks out, “Things fall apart; the center can not hold.” Underlying the aforementioned cultural themes is a theme of fate, or fate.
This style is also dipped into the private and social levels. In the story, readers are regularly reminded about this style in recommendations to chi, the person’s individual god in addition to his supreme ability and destiny. Okonkwo, at his finest, feels that his chi supports his ambition: “When a guy states yes, his chi says yes likewise” (Chapter 4). At his worst, Okonkwo feels that his chi has let him down: His chi “was not produced fantastic things. A man could not rise beyond the fate of his chi.. Here was a guy whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation” (Chapter 14).
At the societal level, the Igbos’ absence of a unifying self-image and central leadership in addition to their weakness in the treatment of some of their own people– both formerly gone over– recommend the inescapable fate of ending up being victim to colonization by a power eager to exploit its resources. In addition to the 3 themes gone over in this essay, the thoughtful reader will probably be able to identify other styles in the book: for instance, the universality of human intentions and emotions across cultures and time, and the requirement for balance in between specific needs and community requirements.