17 March, 2015
I enjoyed reading the book “Things Fall Apart”. The book allows readers to have a deeper understanding towards the native african culture. The rituals and folk stories are very interesting to me. The book is filled with festive atmosphere yet there is also underlying fear from time to time. To me it seems that Okonkwo and his clan are living under constant fear and insecurity. Unfortunate events can happen to anyone at any time without any warning. For example, the drought that goes on for eight weeks makes everyone suffer, and a farmer even hung himself due to the misfortune. The clan make a living by farming, which depends heavily on weather. Humans are very vulnerable in face of the natural forces. Also, their lives are inseparable from rituals and ancient traditions. They are powerless and passive when compared to their almighty goddess. For instance, they believe that twins is ominous and they must abandon their babies in the evil forest. People who fail to please the goddess will eventually be punished by the goddess. Due to the traditions, many innocent lives are killed and parents suffer from the loss of their children but they still remain passive. Nevertheless, the idea of justice is one of the causes for their misfortune. Okonkwo’s gun exploded and killed the kinsman accidentally. He needs to flee for his crime even when he committed it inadvertently. People destroy his compound to perform the righteous punishment to him. Okonkwo’s “crime” and the kinsman’s unexpected death show the unpredictability of life. Lastly, the blunt changes of atmosphere between chapters, from festive to dark and fearful, also serves to convey the message that life is capricious.
- To what extend do you think Okonkwo’s misfortune is caused by his own actions?
- Do you think the clan can do anything to avoid the white man’s intrusion?