Essay Example on Throughout Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe









Throughout Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe the author uses literary devices to give a deeper understanding of the text and convey the author s ideas and points The specific literary devices are irony foreshadowing and setting A combination of these literary devices emphasizes the themes of masculinity potential and life in the text Achebe uses irony within the book in situations of despair An example of this tragic irony is during Okonkwo s suicide at the end of Things Fall Apart Okonkwo is a proud and important man so he is not expected to commit suicide When Okonkwo dies it especially ironic when considering what he regularly said after the terrible harvest year Since I survived that year he always said I shall survive anything Achebe 24 By saying he could survive anything it is not expected for him to commit suicide Yet in the end his inflexible will causes his suicide because he cannot deal with the change brought by the missionaries Therefore his death is even more ironic because the very thing that he says can get him through anything is his will which is why he kills himself Then they came to the tree from which Okonkwo s body was dangling and they stopped dead Achebe 207 Achebe s use of foreshadowing is also evident when he talks about Okonkwo s death In Okonkwo s case the foreshadowing occurs when he is exiled to his motherland for accidentally killing a fellow clansman In a flash Okonkwo drew his machete 

The messenger crouched to avoid the blow It was useless Okonkwo s machete descended twice and the man s head lay beside his uniformed body Achebe 204 He does not deal with this change well and falls into a depression His family helps bring him out of it and set him back on track but the downfall of his character is still significant It illustrates that Okonkwo does not deal well with change and that depression is one of the effects that a major change has on him This event and Okonkwo's actions foreshadow his later death It shows us that despite what he says about surviving anything he can't deal with change and he becomes depressed So when the biggest change any clansman has ever seen occurs the arrival of the missionaries it is somehow less surprising that Okonkwo eventually kills himself as a result This foreshadowing helps make sense of what might otherwise have been an incredibly surprising ending Nigeria being the setting around the turn of the nineteenth century is critical to the plot Okonkwo's life straddles the pre and post European magnificent time Since Okonkwo encounters the two time frames Achebe opens a window into the emotional changes that happened in Igbo culture and society because of the Government 

There are two distinct behaviors in which violations of killing a clansman are dealt with Okonkwo is banished for a long time due to Igbo laws whilst another clansman named Aneto is ultimately hanged by the white court for a comparable wrongdoing Why is Okonkwo with us today This is not his clan We are only his mother's kinsmen He does not belong here He is an exile condemned to seven years to live in a strange land Achebe 133 These are two contrasting examples of governments In the established Igbo system of justice villagers take their complaints and worries to a group of nine elders dressed as worthy masked gods and the group promptly and publicly settles issues Each of the nine egwugwu represented a village of the clan Their leader was called Evil Forest Achebe 89 However when the white men arrive the European men create up their own court system that overcomes disputes in favor of the most noteworthy bidder

The Europeans are not like the respected clansmen who arrive at court to have a normalized discussion These are two proofs of concept showing how the temporal setting makes for an easy and clear contrast between the Igbo way of life before and after the Europeans arrive Most of the novel is focused on Okonkwo and he generally provides insight into the thoughts of other characters There are times when the narration is focused around different characters Ikemefuna Nwoye Obierika and Ekwefi The multiplicity of voices allows the reader to see different characters through a variety of lenses Some access to the internal thoughts of a variety of characters also gives dimensionality to the Igbo people as a whole Achebe never lets the reader assume that the Igbo people are homogenous and could be summed up in one single character In conclusion the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe uses literary devices such as foreshadowing setting and irony Achebe utilizes these literary devices to give the reader a deeper understanding of the text to convey the author s ideas about how Okonkwo only ever allows himself to show the one emotion of anger Eventually his uncontrollable anger overtakes him to a point of no return and he takes his own life Okonkwo's narrative explains how the misuse of masculinity potential and life does not lead to the power or success that he hopes for

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