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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

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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.

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