Intro For many authors, the theme of a book is the driving force of the book during its development. Even if the author does not knowingly recognize an intended style, the innovative process is directed by a minimum of one controlling idea– a concept or principle or belief or purpose substantial to the author. The theme– often several themes– guides the author by controlling where the story goes, what the characters do, what state of mind is represented, what style evolves, and what emotional results the story will develop in the reader.
Igbo Society Complexity From Achebe’s own statements, we know that a person of his styles is the intricacy of Igbo society before the arrival of the Europeans. To support this theme, he includes comprehensive descriptions of the justice codes and the trial procedure, the social and household routines, the marriage custom-mades, food production and preparation processes, the procedure of shared leadership for the community, faiths and practices, and the opportunities for virtually every guy to climb the clan’s ladder of success through his own efforts.
The book might have been written more merely as a research study of Okonkwo’s degeneration in character in an increasingly unsympathetic and incompatible environment, however consider what would have been lost had Achebe not stressed the style of the complex and vibrant qualities of the Igbo in Umuofia. Clash of Cultures Versus Achebe’s theme of Igbo cultural intricacy is his style of the clash of cultures.
This crash of cultures happens at the individual and social levels, and the cultural misunderstanding cuts both ways: Simply as the uncompromising Reverend Smith views Africans as “heathens,” the Igbo at first criticize the Christians and the missionaries as “foolish.” For Achebe, the Africans’ misperceptions of themselves and of Europeans need adjustment as much as do the misperceptions of Africans by the West. Composing as an African who had actually been “Europeanized,” Achebe composed Things Break Down as “an act of atonement with [his] past, the routine return and tribute of a prodigal on.” By his own act, he motivates other Africans, specifically ones with Western educations, to realize that they might misperceive their native culture. Destiny Connected to the theme of cultural clash is the issue of how much the versatility or the rigidness of the characters (and by ramification, of the British and Igbo) contribute to their fate. Since of Okonkwo’s inflexible nature, he appears predestined for self-destruction, even prior to the arrival of the European colonizers. The arrival of a brand-new culture only accelerates Okonkwo’s awful fate.
2 other characters contrast with Okonkwo in this regard: Mr. Brown, the very first missionary, and Obierika, Okonkwo’s good friend. Whereas Okonkwo is an unyielding male of action, the other 2 are more open and adaptable men of idea. Mr. Brown wins converts by first respecting the traditions and beliefs of the Igbo and consequently allowing some accommodation in the conversion procedure. Like Brown, Obierika is likewise a reasonable and thinking individual. He does not promote making use of force to counter the colonizers and the opposition.
Rather, he has an open mind about changing worths and foreign culture: “Who understands what might happen tomorrow?” he comments about the arrival of foreigners. Obierika’s receptive and versatile nature may be more representative of the spirit of Umuofia than Okonkwo’s unquestioning rigidity. For instance, consider Umuofia’s preliminary lack of resistance to the facility of a new religion in its midst. With all its deep roots in tribal heritage, the neighborhood hardly takes a stand against the trespassers– versus brand-new laws in addition to new religion.
What accounts for this lack of community opposition? Was Igbo society more receptive and versatile than it seemed? The absence of strong preliminary resistance may likewise originate from the reality that the Igbo society does not foster strong main leadership. This quality motivates individual initiative towards recognition and achievement however likewise restricts timely decision-making and the authority-backed actions required on short notification to preserve its integrity and well-being.
Whatever the reason– perhaps a mix of these reasons– the British culture and its code of habits, enthusiastic for its goals of native “enlightenment” in addition to of British self-enrichment, begin to intrude upon the existing Igbo culture and its matching code of behavior. A factor that quickens the decline of the standard Igbo society is their customized of marginalizing some of their people– allowing the existence of an outcast group and keeping ladies subservient in their household and community involvement, treating them as property, and accepting physical abuse of them rather lightly.
When agents of a foreign culture (beginning with Christian missionaries) get in Igbo area and accept these marginalized individuals– including the twins– at their complete human worth, the Igbo’s traditional shared management discovers itself not able to manage its whole population. The absence of a clear, sustaining center of authority in Igbo society may be the quality that chose Achebe to draw his title from the Yeats poem, “The 2nd Coming.” The crucial phrase of the poems reads, “Things fall apart; the center can not hold.” Underlying the previously mentioned cultural styles is a style of fate, or fate.
This style is likewise dipped into the private and societal levels. In the story, readers are often advised about this style in referrals to chi, the person’s individual god as well as his ultimate capability and fate. Okonkwo, at his finest, feels that his chi supports his ambition: “When a man says yes, his chi states yes also” (Chapter 4). At his worst, Okonkwo feels that his chi has let him down: His chi “was not produced great things. A man might not rise beyond the destiny of his chi.. Here was a male whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation” (Chapter 14).
At the social level, the Igbos’ lack of a unifying self-image and centralized management along with their weakness in the treatment of a few of their own individuals– both previously gone over– recommend the inevitable fate of becoming victim to colonization by a power eager to exploit its resources. In addition to the three themes talked about in this essay, the thoughtful reader will probably be able to recognize other themes in the novel: for example, the universality of human motives and emotions across cultures and time, and the requirement for balance between individual needs and community needs.