Tradition vs. Change in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2002

10 Pages, Grade: A (USA = 1)


Abstract or Introduction

[...] Things Fall Apart is a story about personal beliefs and customs and also a story about
conflict. There is struggle between family, culture, and religion of the Igbo people which is all
brought on by a difference in personal beliefs and customs. Finally, we see how things fall
apart when these beliefs and customs are confronted by those of the white missionaries.
According to Ernest N. Emenyonu, Things Fall Apart is a classic study of crosscultural
misunderstanding and the consequences to the rest of humanity, when a belligerent
culture or civilization, out of sheer arrogance and ethnocentrism, takes it upon itself to invade
another culture, another civilization (p.84).
Chinua Achebe is a product of both, native African and European culture. Achebe’s
education in English and exposure to European customs have allowed him to capture at the
same time the European and the African perspectives on colonial expansion, religion, race,
and culture. This has a great effect on the composition of the novel because he is able to tell
the story with an understanding and personal experiences in both cultures. He does not
portray the African culture and their beliefs as barbaric. He simply tells it as it is and how
things happened. Chinua Achebe states that neither of the cultures were bad, but they simply
had a difference in beliefs.
In the first section of this paper I would like to outline some important aspects of the
traditional Igbo culture as presented in Things Fall Apart. Achebe argues that the white man
has destroyed Igbo culture out of ignorance of the people’s way of life and the white man’s
inability to speak the people’s language. The second section deals with Christianity and the
colonizers. I will compare the Igbo systems to a certain ext ent to the new system the white
man brought to Nigeria. Later on, I will examine the effects of the colonizers’ arrival and their
religion on the indigenous culture, giving special attention to Okonkwo, the main character of
the novel.


Tradition vs. Change in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"
Southern Connecticut State University  (English Department)
The Contemporary African Novel
A (USA = 1)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
535 KB
This deals with a term paper i wrote in the USA for a M.A. Program. Good stuff...
Tradition, Change, Chinua, Achebe, Things, Fall, Apart, Contemporary, African, Novel
Quote paper
Anonymous, 2002, Tradition vs. Change in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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