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

Identity & Community. In the two novels Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and All Quite on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, both explore the notion of identity and how it is essential to have a community in order to have ones own ident

Extracts from this document...


Identity and Community In the two novels Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and All Quite on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, both explore the notion of identity and how it is essential to have a community in order to have one's own identity. Achebe is able to portray this through his character of Okonkwo and his relationship towards his Ibo culture and community. Remarque is able to portray this through the German soldiers who are fighting in World War I. Even though both stories come from two very different sceneries, both share a common ground when it comes to the relationship between Identity and Community. In Achebe's novel, we are introduces to the Ibo culture and the clan of Umofia. In the community of Umofia, their community is based on individual achievements and that every individual achievement makes the community stronger. These communities' highest respects are towards these achievements, which is why community members yearn to acquire achievements. Community is by far the most important aspect in Ibo culture, which is why they speak in proverbs as a way to indirectly get something across, rather than directly saying something, which can lead to offending another community member. ...read more.


By Okonkwo not being recognized, it means he doesn't exist meaningfully, which makes him have a sense of worthlessness. By having him having no sense of worth anymore, there is no sense of community either. The book further goes on to say "Okonkwo was deeply grieved. And it was not just a personal grief. He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking apart, and he mourned for the warlike men of Umofia who had so unaccountably become soft like women" (p.129, Achebe). The reason as to why he mourned for his clan is because it was now dead in his mind. If there is no community, there is no self. Therefore he is not only mourning for his community, but his self as well. It is not until he kills the messenger, that he witnesses his clan erupt in chaos and scatter in all directions. As the clan runs in all different directions, Okonkwo becomes aware they're individuals, therefore there is no clan. They individuals had neither meaning nor focus, which is exact opposite of the clans' values. The moment that messenger is killed, the clan as well as Okonkwo dies. ...read more.


Paul states his sense of feeling when he has just arrived home, "I cannot feel at home among these things. There is my mother, there is my sister, there my case of butterflies, and there the mahogany piano - but I am not myself there. There is a distance, a veil between us."(p.160, Remarque). Paul has lost all his attachments, which is why he feels no value towards being home. He has dehumanized himself to the point where home is not his home anymore. He has truly lost his identity. Being home in his old community, he knows he is not part of it anymore. He has no attachments now and therefore no community. The war has destructed him as a human and he has lost his identity. Just as Okonkwo lost his identity in the fall of his community, Paul did as well. Near the end of both novels both characters come to the realization of hopelessness. Okonkwo realizes his clan is hopeless in winning over the imperialists who have taken over his clan and Paul becomes aware of the hopelessness Germany has in the war. Both characters lose hope in the one thing that was keeping them alive. As the community around them demolished, their identity went with it. Before Okonkwo hung himself and before Paul was killed on the front, they both had been long gone. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Two poems that have captured the essence of emotional survival are Katrina by Bruce ...

    There are many connotations that can be drawn from this line such as; the baby is half way between heaven and earth and therefore is not alive but not dead either, she is in 'limbo'. This is also shown in the line "is your life opening again or closing finally?"

  2. THINGS FALL APART - table of Ibo phrases and proverbs

    A symbol of Enzinma's miraculous recovery. Superstition and blind belief is questioned through this term as Enzinma falls sick in spite of her Iyi-uwa being destroyed. Iba A fever. A common ailment which Enzinma is misconstrued to have. Leads to the tale of her Iyi-uwa. Jigida A chain of waist-beads.

  1. n the poem Africa explore how Tagore conveys the changes which have occurred in ...

    This is because religion was imposed by the missionaries on the native people, and to see the conquerors turn to religion degrades the solace that religion gives the Africans. This gives prayer an ironic image and illustrates the conquest as tragic.

  2. In both Things Fall Apart and The Great Gatsby, both protagonists, exhibit character flaws ...

    Okonkwo [draws] his machete and [...] cuts him down [...] He does not want to be though weak." (Achebe 61). Okonkwo's life revolves around the obsession of projecting the image that he is almighty and strong. The everlasting fa�ade of strength Okonkwo portrays along with his fear of becoming

  1. The extract from the Novel Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe, in chapter twenty-two ...

    It is important that Achebe does not stereotype the western society because this would make the African society just as ignorant as those who think that Africans are savages. Mr. Smith has a very distorted understanding of Christianity and the actions of Jesus Christ.

  2. During the entire novel of The Sorrow of War Kien is on a quest ...

    She do have a beautiful face, hair waving, and lovely long leg all description of her being beautiful and fragile. Phuong's innocence and youth is also symbolized by the lake, which suggest about her immense purity before the war. But because of the war and the events that occurred for

  1. The traditions and values in a society or civilization are essential for its fate ...

    A similar situation is shown by where "old people and twins are left in the Evil Forest to die" (Sarr 2). Both the killing of Ikemefuma and twins left to die in Evil Forest are highly related. All of these decisions are based on superstition in which individuals question their moral standards.

  2. In the novel The Wine of Astonishment, the writer Earl Lovelace makes us aware ...

    Stickfighting was soon prohibited and well educated men were emerging as society?s new leaders, for example, Ivan Morton. Society is not successful in breaking Bee as he still has the zeal to lead the Baptist Church even after all the trials and tribulations when the Ordinance has been repealed.

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