• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Giving Things Fall Apart a Rhythm: Achebe’s Method and Purpose of Manipulating his Novel’s Pacing

Extracts from this document...


Giving Things Fall Apart a Rhythm: Achebe's Method and Purpose of Manipulating his Novel's Pacing Josh Farr IB2 HL English Mr. M. Webb Final Word Count: 1,464 The perception of time in Things Fall Apart is governed by the lives and actions of the people it affects. Only after reading all three sections of the novel do we realize the various methods in which Achebe alters time's pace to support the tone of his narrative. As the story progresses, Achebe manipulates time with greater intensity. In doing this, he envelops his readers with a view of how quickly and easily a culture can be destroyed by Imperialism, and thus reinforces the underlying themes of this novel. Achebe meters the narrative as it would seem to Okonkwo, the story's greatest victim of the White insurgence into Umuofia. By examining time and how it affects Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, the novel's title's meaning becomes more profound than it could be without this perspective, and we reach a greater understanding of Achebe's message. Part I of Things Fall Apart, arguably an extensive exposition to the book's conflict, dominates the novel in terms of length. Surprisingly, although Part I is the longest section of the book, it does not accomplish much in terms of plot progression or character development, but rather provides the reader with a detailed overview of Igbo life. ...read more.


The second chapter of Part II begins with, "...in the second year of Okonkwo's exile." (Achebe 96) By this point, the rhythm of Things Fall Apart is defined only by the narrator's mention of it. By doing this, Achebe dispenses with the soothing background rhythm of his hero's mundane yet satisfactory existence in Umuofia, and introduces instead a more formless tempo punctuated only by significant events, like the visit of Okonkwo's friend, Obierika. During this moment of familiarity for Okonkwo, the novel's cadence slows again to that of Part I, and the dialogue accordingly returns to its former roundabout style. Uchendu recites a long fable about Mother Kite sending her daughter to bring food for dinner simply to make the point that it is unwise to trust someone who says nothing. (Achebe 98) By reverting to a high level of conversational detail in this part of the novel, Achebe establishes a correlation between the pace of Things Fall Apart and Okonkwo's comfort level. Thus, we understand that time is an indicator of regularity; and when it changes, Okonkwo's world changes too. By the time we come to Part III, we learn indirectly that much has changed in Umuofia since the White man's arrival. ...read more.


Part III throws the reader abruptly into the fragmenting world of the Igbo. Achebe is able to evoke shock from the reader by manipulating the narrative's pace. In limiting any superfluous language from the section, the reader is left with a "black and white" illustration of Okonkwo's dying world. After he alters his beat in complexity and intensity over one hundred and twenty pages, Achebe leaves his readers in the confusion of silence for Part III. There is no specific mention of any type of noise for the final two chapters of Part III since this is the time in which Okonkwo impulsively decides his own destiny and eventually meets his end. "The only noise [the District Commissioner and his men ] made," as they approached Okonkwo's final resting place, "was the sound of their feet as they crushed dry leaves." (Achebe 146) It is here in a sprawling vacuum of chaos that we truly understand the meaning of the novel's title. By comparing the pace of Umuofia from a traditional Nigerian village to its later existence as a White colony, the disparity is as conspicuous as the pace of a metronome whose timing weight has slipped from legato to allegro. When this transformation occurs, the reader fully understands how the defining boundaries of Okonkwo's life disintegrated, destroying his own world's metronome and sealing his inevitably tragic fate. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Chinua Achebe: Vultures section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Chinua Achebe: Vultures essays

  1. Chinua Achebe's main concern in "Things Fall Apart" is to portray the effect white ...

    in England at this time to rise to any kind of social stature in his society. Both of the above points show how Achebe effectively shows that the Ibo culture is a civilized and fair one. He even goes as far as to suggest that some of the Ibo customs and ways of dealing with disputes may even be superior.

  2. To what extent do you feel that Achebe intends the reader to be sympathetic ...

    He thought that a man should be strong and do typical male tasks. But Okonkwo's father, Unoka, did not fit that particular mould according to Okonkwo. He was ashamed of his father, and would tell himself that he would make a better life for himself and his family than his father ever did.

  1. Do you agree that Achebe shows an "awareness of the human qualities common to ...

    This is particularly odd since the narrative of the story is told in the past tense. Many have noted that the ability Achebe displays to allow the reader to empathise with his protagonists is one of Achebe's literary strengths. This is particularly illustrated in Achebe's portrayal of Okika, a relatively

  2. Chinua Achebe's novel of life in colonial-era Nigeria, "Things Fall Apart".

    Diane Thompson (Thompson 25). However, Okonkwo's will allows him to survive the rains in his first year of cultivation and continue and succeed. Okonkwo is a man possessed with the endless will to succeed. Achebe wrote, "'Since I survived that year,' he always said, 'I shall survive anything.'

  1. Examine Achebe's narrative techniques in the novel "Things Fall Apart" - how far do ...

    Images that are used in the book are entirely from the Ibo world as are the similes and comparisons (though these are not used as much). For example, 'Okonkwo's fame had grown like a bush-fire during the hamattan', '[Ikemafuna] grew rapidly like a yam tendril in the rainy season' and 'a lot of effeminate men clucking like old hens'.

  2. 'Dead Man's Path' by Chinua Achebe - A story about the clash of two ...

    He wanted Michael to reopen the path. You get the impression from the priest that he is a very frail and elderly man who doesn't wish to start argument, but merely get his opinion and thoughts across to Michael. The priest believed that the path was very sacred as 'our dead relatives depart by it, and our ancestors visit us by it.'

  1. Compare and contrast the poems "Vultures" and "Night of the Scorpion", analysing how they ...

    Comparisons and Differences Both poems are about creatures who are simply concerned with their own survival. With the vultures it is the need for food that causes them to be scavenges and with the scorpion its wish not to be squashed causes it to "flash its diabolic tail".

  2. Dead Mans Path and The Train from Rhodesia essay.

    Dead men do not require footpath ... our duty is to teach your children to laugh at such ideas' point to his narrow-minded ways. Furthermore, his lack of respect for his elders or authority figures and his careless choice of words, namely 'I don't suppose the ancestors will find the little detour too burdensome', which offend other

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work