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Based on your reading of the novel and on our discussion this week on character, craft a working thesis. Again, your thesis may address any character or element of the novel, but as we are focusing on characters this week, work to include specific characters in your thesis. You will revise this thesis throughout the term, so be bold now, and understand that you will revise more as we learn more about the novels and each other in the coming weeks. Please share the thesis statement first, noting any ideas or questions or thoughts you have about the future of the thesis statement. After the thesis, please share your reference page in complete APA format.Pay particular attention to formatting:Capital letter rules in APA are tricky, so be sure to focus on getting those in place.A good way to remember the rules:The first word in the title gets capital letters along with any proper nouns like America: And the first word after the colon gets a capital letter.Here are some formatting guidelines:First line of each entry must be flush with left-hand margin.Indent second and subsequent lines of each entry one tab, or five spaces.Reference Page:Use CSU-Global APA formatting found in CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. for each citation.Please choose at least three references from the CSU Global Library for this assignment. These may be book chapters, articles or other resources. Be sure to use APA style for in-text citations and terminal references.Remember to alphabetize the entries, A-Z.Double-space within and between entries.Format using hanging indents; see the image below.
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Running head: CULTURE IN THINGS FALL APART
Things Fall Apart
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CULTURE IN THINGS FALL APART
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In as much as change is in evitable, cultural changes causes conflicts and clashes
among different people especially when it is un expected making it difficult to embrace. In
Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, cultural argument is evident as the author
narrates the tale set in Umuofia village where the missionaries came to peaceful
communities to impose their beliefs, religions and introduce a new system of learning. The
missionaries believed that they brought a meaningful religion and better education system
while the people of Umuofia were adamant about changing and leaving their practices
which had for long guided the community. Since there was no better way to introduce new
methods while discerning their fundamental beliefs, several frictions and culture clash took
a better part of the novel. More casualties to the cultural interaction emerged as Chinua
Achebe uses various cultural scenarios to justify the title Things Fall Apart.
The culture of foreigners and people of Igbo makes things to fall apart. The
Europeans invading people of Igbo and imposing new ideas upon them clearly did not
augur well with most of them (Avoseh, 2009). As a result, Okonkwo who wanted fame
came out strongly to physically oppose their ideas. In this instance, it is the European belief
that their culture is dominant and worth practice that gave the story its title as it caused
things to fall out of control. As a result, the disrespect and ignorance that the Europeans
had towards the Igbo culture is the genesis of the entire quagmire (Bloom, 2009). The
destruction of the traditional religions and governance including the fundamental beliefs
explains the cause of disagreements. Generally, the cultural differences reveal the
foundation upon which the novel is built and the idea upon which the heading is driven.
The missionaries introduced Christianity at Umuofia. When the Europeans first
introduced their religion, it was optional and attending church was entirely at will for
CULTURE IN THINGS FALL APART
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everyone. However, with time, they became too aggressive and forced their faith on the
natives. The Europeans became more judgmental to the people of Igbo and their traditional
practices as well as religious beliefs. It is witnessed when they constantly undermine them
by reminding the natives that their gods are “not gods at all” (Chinua, 1958 pg.135) adding
that their gods are mere “wood and stone” (Chinua, 1958 pg.136). Generally, this shows
that by degrading one culture, the other had to rise to protect their clan and Okonkwo
resolved to violence in the better part of the novel making things to fall part hence giving
the book title and themes the relevance.
The members of the society felt that their clan was dying. Okonkwo upon returning
to Umuofia, after coming from his uncle where he took refuge, was astonished to find that
the missionaries had converted some people into their Christianity and some of the children
were forced to attend the missionary schools. Since Okonkwo did not like the idea, he
thought that the clan was losing its glory and ability to protect itself and independence, the
fact that made him demand war to drive away the missionaries who were invading their
territory (Avoseh, 2009). Clearly, this chapter shows that it’s the native’s cultural practice
that triggered the disagreement. The need to protect the community and its culture as most
people believed that the introduction of the new religions and doing away with their culture
will kill the clan. Many people opposed the introduction of new governance citing that it
caused the death of a once united clan with solid practices and with admirable cultural
beliefs (Chinua, 1958). Clearly, over protection of culture and being too conscious and
protective to the culture explains why the war and disagreement emerged.
Okonkwo was possessed with preserving the dignity of the clan. The main
protagonist resolves to war in ensuring that the Europeans do not interfere with their
CULTURE IN THINGS FALL APART
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traditions and beliefs. The character was bitter as the coming of white men did to him more
harm than good. He lost his son who converted to Christianity, and he suddenly lost his
fame and glory as he was not given a proper homecoming (Chinua, 1958). The war on
supremacy and seeking revenge for the white men’s interference led Okonkwo to
commence war on the whites. In a meeting arranged by the district commissioner, he
strikes men with a hatchet as others flee. Generally, the things began to fall apart following
the sudden change that the native was not willing to uphold. Clearly Okonkwo wanted to
protect his personal interest as he had mastered how to excel in the traditional culture and
could not entertain any new invasion that would render him worthless.
The introduction of Christianity trimmed the power of Igbo that it had over the rest
of the clans. The conflict and war on supremacy among the families and African
communities seemed to end as the introduction of a new culture by the missionaries took
over (Shea, 2008). Christianity came with new rules. It both came to limit the war as well
as supporting it when necessary. The clash, desire to show supremacy, and need to
maintain various cultural beliefs and practices explain the real meaning and reasons why
the culture of multiple individuals clashed making things fall apart (Shea, 2008). It is true
that the fight for interests and need to maintain the Umuofia’s supremacy as it was feared
by the neighboring as “powerful in war” (Chinua, 1958 pg. 15), led to the setting and
plotting of the entire tale.
Unoka was lazy and did not like working. However, unlike his father, Okonkwo
became vigilant and worked extremely hard to surpass his father. He hated lazy men and
wanted to become the exact opposite of his father, and the only way he could be that was to
hate everything that his father loved (Shea, 2008). At a young age, Okonkwo was already
CULTURE IN THINGS FALL APART
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famous and commanded deep respect from all the nine communities due to the inter-clan
wars and when he threw and defeated Amalinze the Cat (Chinua, 1957 pg. 1). The coming
of white men is seen as the main cause and reason for the death of Okonkwo. The tragedy
that came as a result of a cultural clash. The community lost its hero, from depression and
anger that he could not control. Clearly, there is a cultural conflict between the people of
Igbo. As long as someone works hard and becomes wealthy, they automatically elevate to
social power as Okonkwo becomes too proud that perhaps defines his downfall.
Okonkwo becomes obsessed with his success and Masculinity. This is evident by
the fact that any tender emotions towards the feminism make him overreact to the female.
In a meeting, he called a fellow man who tried to interrupt his session a woman. He said
without looking at him “This meeting is for men” (Chinua, 1958). In addition, Okonkwo
thoroughly beats up his wife, Ojiugo, because she left the home compound without
cooking for him. When the act is cited as going against the peace and serenity which the
society is expected since the community had a ‘peace week’, he became unapologetic but
paid the fines he was taxed anyway. It is this pride that led to his downfall (Bloom, 2009).
Inability to control his anger, adamancy in accepting changes and agreed to maintain his
fame and social power among the people of Igbo that was altered with by the missionaries
led him to grow wild, become angry and later led to his failure and finally death. “When
did you become a shivering old woman, you, who are known in all nine villages for your
valor in war” (Chinua, 1958 pg. 56). Okonkwo started feeling unsafe that his popularity
and fame could be fading away.
Generally, the natives’ cultural practices led to the falling apart of things. In the
same manner, the European culture came along with various diversity and attempt to
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impose new religion and traditions to people that made the people feel intimidated and less
valued (Avoseh, 2009). The practice equally led to the emergence of a new type of war
while threatening the peace of the community members who thought that the white men
overpowered them and took their clan. Need to maintain safety, the fight to protect society
and need to instill better practices describe the title of the novel. Therefore, lack of proper
understanding and need to know that everyone valued their practice led to the conflict and
hence story line.
Okonkwo failed in his quest for leadership in his village. He worked hard to build
himself by becoming famous and socially wealthy. In as much as his farther failed, he
became successful by yielding much yams and wining several wars. Yet, Okonkwo killed
himself when he returned from his mother’s homeland and found that the missionaries had
changed almost everything in his society (Bloom, 2009). To him, the clan was no longer a
residence of warriors and when the rest of the people refused to stand against the white
men, he opts to commit suicide. A tragic ending that was caused by the white’s culture to
Igbo’s warrior making things fall apart.
In conclusion, Chinua Achebe presents unbiased stance of a novel where both the
culture that is in the novel have flaws. It is through the culture that the book receives its
entire relevance and flow. The reader is left to analyze all the instances as both have a
better and dark side. The people of Igbo are very adamant and strive to maintain their
culture while the missionaries feel that the culture of the people of Igbo is ignorant and
deserves to be discarded immediately. Due to the clash, a great threat to peace and a rift
between these two groups helps the author to develop the setting of the tale and hence
gives the title of the novel Things Fall Apart meaning. The people of Umuofia taste defeat
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due to their lack of unity. Some of them became easily converted to Christianity and
believes in the culture of the missionaries as they adopted their form of governance while
the rest resisted. On the other hand, the ministers were too insensitive. Invading into others
territory and trying to impose in them some form of religion and practices which they
never believed as much as they sounded better and excellent.
References
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Avoseh, M. B. (2009). A cross-cultural analysis of fighting poverty through education and
participatory development. International Journal of Case Method Research &
Application, 21(1), 10-18.
Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2009). Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart. Infobase Publishing.
Chinua, A. (1958). Things fall apart. Ch. Achebe, 1-140.
Shea, G. (2008). A Reader’s Guide to Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Enslow
Publishing, LLC.

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