How can we explain Things Fall Apart as a postcolonial text? Give examples also.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The traditional depiction of European Colonization of "the darker continents" such as Asia and Africa presumes that imperialism brought a sense of order, morality, and structure to a world where there was none.  It highlights that social organization and technological advancements were implemented to "backwards" societies.  Economic progress was introduced to a setting where it was not originally present.  Religion and spirituality were brought into a domain where moral darkness existed.  Yet, when we actually examine the result of colonialism on societies, we see that these visions represented a sense of fragmentation, where "things fall apart."  Achebe's text demonstrates to us that the world of the Ibo possessed a moral and judicial structure, a collective organization predicated on principle and understanding, as well as a society that stressed loyalty and honor to and amongst one another.  For example, a governing body declares that Okonkwo had done wrong and must be punished.   Additionally, there was a spiritual framework for its citizens, and an understanding of operating within the boundaries of respect of divinity. The Ibo understood the power of Gods and displayed a reverence for them.  Yet, these notions were compromised with the entrance of European society, who sought to replace traditional Ibo values with Western ones.  The forced conversion of Ibo citizens to Christianity and the controlling presence White society undermined the preexisting structure and values of the Ibo society.  Fraternity which existed in the Ibo was replaced by Western individuality, loyalty to one's tribe was replaced with external conversion to religion which broke the bonds of the tribe.  Indigenous life had become subservient to Western control:  "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."  Achebe's text operates as a post Colonial one because it raises questions to the traditional depiction of European entry through Colonization, asserting that while advantages might have been brought to areas such as Africa or Asia, there was significant damage wrought as well.  In seeking to expand the voice of those who had been silenced through colonization, Achebe's work operates as providing voice and authenticating experience that might not have been present under discourses praising Colonialism.

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