Thursday, January 27, 2011

Structure in "Things Fall Apart"

By dividing the book into three sections, Achebe was able to deepen the characters as well as making the book less traditional than it was in the previous sections, as far as Nigerian customs. This worked because it went along with the plot as far as the audience seeing a physical change when the missionaries arrived, changing everything that we were already familiar with.

In Part One of the novel, Okwonkwo was in his home village and the writing was very dense, as far inserting traditional Nigerian words, and in general, just describing the customs, and everyday life of the Igbo people. While reading, I couldn’t help but feel like I was apart of the village with the way that Achebe described everything. I’m pretty sure that half of the text that was in Part One consisted of Nigerian proverbs. It was details like that, which added to the extremity of Part One.

There was a noticeable difference when it came to Part Two and Part Three because the language was changed so abruptly. Noticeably absent were the constant traditional beliefs that we were exposed to in Part One. This is where we also get a more unbiased view of the culture. To take away from the extremity that we experienced in Part One, this is where the missionaries make their debut and start converting people to Catholicism which weakens everything that the villages were, essentially built on.

Part Three was Onkwokwo’s return to his homeland. I think Achebe chose to have Onkwokwo return in Part Three because at this point, the missionaries had already converted a good amount of people, with even more believing in them everyday. He was meant to deepen the blow of the changes that the village was going through because he still had the picture of Umuofia as pictured in Part One, and Umuofia in Part One and Part Three are two very different pictures.

The framework of the book was parallel to the journey that Okonkwokwo went through. He went from being one of the most important people in his tribe to being exiled and not being familiar with the customs of his motherland. He then returned to his home village where he was completely removed from the logistics of the village because of the changes that happened via the missionaries. In the end, he ended up killing himself, which was done to keep the old traditions of his people alive, but this was ironic because it also meant that his people cut him off, because suicide was looked down upon in the traditional Umuofia.

No comments:

Post a Comment