This Fall Apart
“Things fall apart” tells a story of an African tribe and it’s cultures. It tells the story of the life of a man by the name of Okonkwo, by his lifelong friend, Obierika. Okonkwo, a well-respected member of his village, had an undying desire to be manly at all times. He was a father and a husband of three wives and worked very hard to support his family; he began doing so at a very young age. Under no circumstances would he ever warrant the assumption by any man that he was either weak or afraid. The only fear that he did have was that any man think such of him. Okonkwo had a very short, violent temper that was immediately triggered in response to actions that he deemed to be weak of another. Unfortunately, almost every time that Okonkwo let loose his violent temper in his manly way, he brought trouble upon himself, as well as those around him.
Though highly respected in his village, Okonkwo was exiled and banished from the village for seven years. This was the result of the murder of a clansman. Although the act was truly accidental during the funeral of an elder in the village, to kill fellow clansmen was not accepted.
During the ceremony guns where fired, Okonkwo accidentally fired his gun, killing the son of the dead elder. Since this was done accidentally he was able to return to the village with his family after being banished for seven years.
During the seven years of his exile, the Ibo village started to fall apart. The downfall of the Ibo spiritually was the mechanism that triggered the downfall of the Ibo village and it’s livelihood. White missionaries emerged on the village bringing with them their Christian religion and beliefs that were totally different from the Ibo people. This was two years after one of their own was killed in the village. Although the collapse was primarily caused by three men, Mr. Brown, Rev. James Smith, and the District Commissioner, it was the passivity of the village (Umuofia), as well as the power of the mission’s government that led to the demise of the Ibo way of life.
Clearly this strengthened the credibility of the new white men and their religion. Futhermore, a major blow was dealt to the Ibo religion. Christianity provided an answer to the questions’ people had about their spirituality: the Ibo religion began to appear to be false by default.
The new religion’s validity and acceptance, coupled with the void created by the dissolution of the void created by the dissolution of the Ibo spiritually, left the remaining Ibo believers over powered by the Christian converts and their new followers.
A final illustration of Okonkwo’s rash actions leading suffering for himself and those around him occurs when he hastily kills the head messenger who comes to Umuofia to break up a town meeting. Okonkwo and his fellow villagers came together and were planning to kill the missionaries. The messenger stood up to Okonkwo demanding to get by. Able to speak only two short sentences, Okonkwo furiously assassinated him; taking his machete and cutting off his head. This did not produce a war of any type. The remaining three messengers continued their journey and the villagers never attacked. This brought the ultimate suffering to Okonkwo, who hangs himself, as well as the suffering for the rest of the tribe, who may not bury him and some of whom are brought to the court where Okonkwo and some others had at one time suffered.
In concluding I would say that Africans in their traditional beliefs and ethics, are very passionate about what I would consider supernatural, or mystical powers. Some of their beliefs I could accept in a spiritual way but not as a way of living my life. The beating of one’s wife is not condoned under any circumstances, and effects the community as a whole. This is regarded as totally unacceptable but not because it happened on the wrong day but because it’s morally wrong.
“Things fall apart” tells a story of an African tribe and it’s cultures. It tells the story of the life of a man by the name of Okonkwo,