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

The traditions and values in a society or civilization are essential for its fate and future well-being. The author, Chinua Achebe explains this idea through the novel Things Fall Apart .

Extracts from this document...


The traditions and values in a society or civilization are essential for its fate and future well-being. Many times, a society's health is being reflected upon individuals and group attitudes toward the traditions and values. The author, Chinua Achebe explains this idea through the novel Things Fall Apart in which the Umuofian values of religion, personal achievements, and male superiority are questioned by many individuals. These questions spark conflict among the tribe and its people. As a result, the inflexible Umuofian traditions and values cause the culture's to fall apart. The religion in the Umuofian tribe has a dominant control over the social and political life of its people which caused the tribe to break apart. The head of the religious hierarchy in the tribe consists of the oracle which is perceived as the most "supreme" (Clayton 1). Being the most supreme ruler, the Oracle has the absolute power in making arbitrary decisions in both social and political issues. The Oracle is fixed in its decisions and not tolerant of any changes. Therefore, even the most far-fetched decisions are expected to be carried out in full obedience. In the scene where Ikemefuma is told to be killed, the messenger, Ogbuefi Ezedu confronts Okonkwo and says "The Oracle of the Hills and the Caves has pronounced it. ...read more.


Besides religion, the emphasis on individual values and achievement cause major downturn in the Umuofia tribe. The Umuofia tribe greatly focuses on the value of masculinity by demonstrating the significance of the wrestling match. In the beginning of the book, Okonkwo has a lot of fame by "throwing Amalinze the Cat" (Achebe 3). Since this society stress the value on physical strength, individuals have to prove themselves in order to receive a high position in the tribe. Thus, individuals will eventually become obsessed with strength and fearful of weakness. Okonkwo is one prime individual who is greatly impacted by this notion. During the slaughter of Ikemefuma, the author states that Okonkwo "[draws] his machete and [cuts] him down. He [is] afraid of being thought as weak" (Achebe 61). The action that Okonkwo made is rather irrational and rashful based on his fear of weakness. However, the cause of Okonkwo's attitude is influenced by the tribe's culture of achievement and masculinity. As individuals such as Okonkwo try to become strong, they become unnoticed that their downfall is right at their doors. As a result, the tribe's unity is broken as a whole due to individual downfalls in the society. ...read more.


Consequently, women are deprived of their natural abilities and a division among males and females occurs in the tribe. In addition to men's superiority, men could also abuse their power by beating their wives. The author states that "Okonkwo [walks] back to his obi . . . and when she [returns] he [beats] her very heavily" (Achebe 29). Since wife-beating is common in the Ibo tribe, women have a large opposition against the superiority of men. The form of opposition comes through passive questions and doubts which provide a further insecurity in the tribe. Fables and folktales told by women suggest the fact that female questions and ideas are implemented into the male culture of the Ibo tribe. The unequal rights of women and the disrespect for female virtues lead to the devastating fate of the Ibo tribe. The authoritarian attitude towards the questioning of traditions and values in the Umuofia tribe result in the downfall of the tribe. In fact, the dominant control of religion over individuals' life, the emphasis on the value of achievement, and the lack of feminine importance contribute to peoples' distrust on higher authority. When people doubt and seek change in a society, the welfare of a nation falls apart just like the Umuofian village in Things Fall Apart. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lau 2 ...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. Things Fall Apart (Essay)

    Okonkwo questions Nwoye of his acts, and in a rather coarse and frightful tone roars "answer me, before I kill you!" (107). Okonkwo is then said to have "seized a heavy stick ...

  2. WIT Essay_Zorba the Greek_Personification of Dyonisian and Epicurean Values in Zorba

    The interesting choice of the diction "harum-scarum" (127) accurately defines Zorba, Epicureanism and Dionysianism. Zorba uses this phrase to describe how his recklessness increases with age. "Harum-scarum" is defined as being a daredevil and lacking responsibility. This would mean that you are not worried about the past or the future

  1. a comperative essay about the gender issues in Things Fall Apart from Chinua Achebe ...

    "No matter how prosperous a man was if he was unable to rule his women, he was not really a man." (page 47) Another important cultural issue is woman sexuality. Looking at Okoknwo's household it can be easily inferred that, plural marriage is widespread and virginity is considered as a merit.(page 11)

  2. Identity & Community. In the two novels Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe ...

    Achebe is able to use these two characters to show the correlation between community and self. First with Nwoye, when Ikemefuna was killed "Something seemed to give way inside him, like the snapping of a tightened bow."(p. 232, Achebe). The snapping feeling is the snapping of his sense of self,

  1. Compare the father-son relationships in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe [Okonkwo & Nwoye] ...

    Nwoye is a failure to his father because he is to soft, and too lazy, ['Okonkwo's first son, Nwoye...constant nagging and beating' p.10] much more like Okonkwo's father.

  2. Robert Cormiers engrossing thriller We All Fall Down is one that effectively draws the ...

    The inclusive "we" demonstrates that the Jerome family is united. Cormier's didactic message is clear that family relationships are significant for personal growth, as this is exemplified through the symbolism of Jane rising above Buddy on the escalator, conveying that united families have a positive impact on their children as opposed to dysfunctional families.

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

    Gatsby assumes her feelings towards the party which reveals how the obsession concerning her approval causes him to feel apprehensive. As Gatsby awaits daisy's safe return into her home" He couldn't possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do.

  2. Reflection of Society in the "Grapes of Wrath"

    order to reflect the social issue of pregnancy rates during the Great Depression.? Rose of Sharon made a major impact to the ending of the novel. If she had not been pregnant, it might have been impossible for her to have the experience of having to give birth to a

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