• 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 - table of Ibo phrases and proverbs

    If represents unity of the kinsmen. Kotma Court messenger. Used in mockery of the white man. Derogatory songs were sung for the white-man as he was said to have ashy buttocks. IBO CULTURAL CONCEPT SIGNIFICANCE The consumption of Palm-kernels, kola nuts, palm wine and alligator peppers. All of these were signs of hospitality in the Ibo culture.

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

    In this passage Achebe introduces us to Mr. Brown and a stereotypical white colonialist, Reverend Smith. Mr. Brown is not ignorant and over-zealous like Reverend Smith. With reference to their names, Mr. Brown sees more than just black and white.

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

    His obsession for her love pushes Gatsby in a world that is not his own, and causes him to become disillusioned. Likewise, in Achebe's, Things Fall Apart, When Okonkwo stares at his new "son" in the eyes, his son says "My father, they have killed me!'

  2. Realism in "Tamas" and "Things Fall Apart"

    The characters are introduced and described in great details. The reader can feel them as the writers have given the life like descriptions of the insecurities, complexities, and weaknesses of the characters.

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

    They enhance each other?s chances on successfully surviving their way towards California. Steinbeck conveys the idea of the moral and humanitarian obligation to help others through this relationship that the Joads and the Wilsons build. According to Kennedy, as the egotism and individualism rose during the Great Depression, with more

  2. Beowulf and the Concept of Preternatural Fate

    God commends the hero for his loyalty to the warrior code that demands he avenge Aeschere?s death with that of Grendel?s mother and aids the warrior in his glory. Through the fabled force of fate, the Christian God of Beowulf abhors those who act in a manner that furthers their own welfare and portrays self-centeredness.

  1. An investigation of the significance of the chorus and nurse in portraying cultural values ...

    Thus, on the whole, there are some characters whose chief role is to convey cultural values. Both the nurse and chorus are involved throughout the drama, to help interpret meaning behind some characters actions. This in return helps the reader understand the drama, and allow the audience to relate the

  2. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is a novel that very effectively brings out the economic ...

    Further, the fact that the family never tries to find out what is really wrong with him, but just shuns him shows how inconsiderate they are towards him. They were too busy dwelling about their ?misfortune?, that they blame not being able to shift houses on Gregor.

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