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Rather, he has an open mind about changing values and foreign culture: "Who knows what may happen tomorrow? Obierika's receptive and adaptable nature may be more representative of the spirit of Umuofia than Okonkwo's unquestioning rigidity. For example, consider Umuofia's initial lack of resistance to the establishment of a new religion in its midst.
With all its deep roots in tribal heritage, the community hardly takes a stand against the intruders — against new laws as well as new religion. What accounts for this lack of community opposition? Was Igbo society more receptive and adaptable than it appeared to be? The lack of strong initial resistance may also come from the fact that the Igbo society does not foster strong central leadership. This quality encourages individual initiative toward recognition and achievement but also limits timely decision-making and the authority-backed actions needed on short notice to maintain its integrity and welfare.
SparkNotes: Things Fall Apart: A+ Student Essay
Whatever the reason — perhaps a combination of these reasons — the British culture and its code of behavior, ambitious for its goals of native "enlightenment" as well as of British self-enrichment, begin to encroach upon the existing Igbo culture and its corresponding code of behavior. A factor that hastens the decline of the traditional Igbo society is their custom of marginalizing some of their people — allowing the existence of an outcast group and keeping women subservient in their household and community involvement, treating them as property, and accepting physical abuse of them somewhat lightly.
When representatives of a foreign culture beginning with Christian missionaries enter Igbo territory and accept these marginalized people — including the twins — at their full human value, the Igbo's traditional shared leadership finds itself unable to control its whole population. The lack of a clear, sustaining center of authority in Igbo society may be the quality that decided Achebe to draw his title from the Yeats poem, "The Second Coming.
Underlying the aforementioned cultural themes is a theme of fate , or destiny. This theme is also played at the individual and societal levels. In the story, readers are frequently reminded about this theme in references to chi , the individual's personal god as well as his ultimate capability and destiny. Okonkwo, at his best, feels that his chi supports his ambition: "When a man says yes, his chi says yes also" Chapter 4.
At his worst, Okonkwo feels that his chi has let him down: His chi "was not made for great things. A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation" Chapter At the societal level, the Igbos' lack of a unifying self-image and centralized leadership as well as their weakness in the treatment of some of their own people — both previously discussed — suggest the inevitable fate of becoming victim to colonization by a power eager to exploit its resources.
In addition to the three themes discussed in this essay, the thoughtful reader will probably be able to identify other themes in the novel: for example, the universality of human motives and emotions across cultures and time, and the need for balance between individual needs and community needs.
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Things Fall Apart
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