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

How does Chinua Achebe show two different cultures in Things Fall Apart?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Chinua Achebe show two different cultures in "Things Fall Apart"? 'Things Fall Apart' is a novel that links two different cultures from contrasting backgrounds using many literary devices and a knowledge of traditions and ways of life. Chinua Achebe skilfully weaves these two cultures together to create a story full of diversity and understanding. The characters in this novel help the reader see the distinct cultures from various points of view. Okonkwo is a apt example for the Igbo culture as he has very negative views against the missionaries. When Okonkwo learns that the sacred python had been killed by a Christian convert, Okonkwo insist that his mother's kinsmen and himself must retaliate : " Everyone in the assembly spoke, but in the end it was decided to ostracise the Christians. Okonkwo ground his teeth in disgust." Okonkwo is extremely bitter after this decision. This extract shows that Achebe wanted to outline Okonkwo's opinion from the rest of his mother's kinsmen. Because Okonkwo represents what the European missionaries see as a stereotypical masculine African native, blood-thirsty and savage, the missionaries are seen from his negative view throughout the book. ...read more.

Middle

An example of a direct culture clash is when Enoch, a Christian convert, rips the mask off an egwugwu, one of the greatest crimes a man could ever commit: " Enoch had killed an ancestral spirit, and Umuofia was thrown into confusion." This shows a major difference in cultures as the Umuofians had never experienced such an atrocious act before in their relatively harmonious village. Using this, Achebe puts across the naivety of the Umuofians by presenting something as simple as taking off someone's mask into something so utterly abhorrent as shown by the egwugwu's reaction later in the text. The ways of life are the most distinct characteristics between the Igbo and the European cultures. In the Igbo culture, the Umuofians live alongside nature and are heavily reliant upon it. Many villagers depend on the harvest for titles, to gain wives or even their lives: " That year the harvest was sad, like a funeral, and many farmers wept as they dug up their miserable and rotting yams. One man tied his cloth to a tree branch and hanged himself." ...read more.

Conclusion

Most villagers are also humorous as seen in a clash of languages. The different languages make it difficult for cultures to communicate with each other, often poor translation leads one another misinterpreting each others thoughts and actions. This tends to lead to each culture making assumptions about one another. For example, during Chapter Fifteen, the missionaries speak to the Umuofians through an interpreter. Although he is an Ibo man, his dialect is from a different region and he used words incorrectly: " Many people laughed at his dialect and the way he used words strangely. Instead of saying 'myself' he always said 'my buttocks'." This quote shows that although the missionaries believe that the Igbo language and the Igbos themselves are native, savage and strange, by displaying the Igbos sense of humour and their extensive language, Achebe shows that the Igbos are much more sophisticated than the missionaries could comprehend. By unravelling these two cultures from each other, The reader can begin to see the colourful characteristics that define them. But when they are woven back together, Chinua Achebe forges a narrative where the cultures work in harmony to enlighten the reader of the complexity of our world and its cultures. ...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 Miscellaneous 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 Miscellaneous essays

  1. Adrian Mole Chapter Notes

    February 26th Adrian has mixed up the posh and tabloids and Adrian didn't understand why people wouldn't want a change. February 27th Adrian saw Pandora riding, he looked at Pandora's house and it is much bigger than Adrian's house. February 28th Pandora has a horse called Blossom, Adrian watched Pandora riding it, and according to Adrian she looked 'sexy'.

  2. Things Fall Apart (District Commissioner Passage Analysis)

    This complete contempt for their culture, even in ignorance is angering. Okonkwo has 'thrown himself [into achieving title] like one possessed,' and as a reader seeing that struggle and then seeing the messengers ridicule the leaders is sad. 'At night the messengers came in to taunt them and to knock their shaven heads together.'

  1. Comparative Essay, Things Fall Apart vs. The Persimmon Tree

    The narrator does not provide us with any elaboration as to the stools, for example their design, colour etc. are not described. What is most striking about Achebe's writing style, however, is that there are also instances in which detailed accounts of the setting do appear, the most telling example being the beginning of Chapter Fourteen.

  2. Cultures and Traditions

    For example, "his head hanging by a strip of ashen flesh." The conversation between Halabi and Ines shows Ines does not have much respect for the authorities, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," She seems to think along the terms that someone killed her son and she is going to kill the murderer.

  1. What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Truman show?

    Truman was brought up by people he never knew as his own parents, but were really actors. He made friends with Marlon, who also wasn't real. He was just an actor. There is a scene in the film where Christof is seen talking to Marlon in an ear piece, while

  2. The Truman Show

    which is a star more commonly known as the great Overdog. While going to work in his car Truman hears on classical FM that a plane had started shedding parts all over Seahaven "but luckily no one was hurt" also his radio was almost having a conversation with him.

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