What historical relatated entities can we learn from the book Things Fall Apart?

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

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I think that one of the most profound history- based lessons that can be taken from Achebe's work is the idea that change is an intrinsic part of human consciousness.  Okonkwo struggles with change.  He is unable to recognize the world in which he lives and make sense of the world in which he used to live.  The element of change is presented as a part of existence, something that can be good or bad, but mostly is inevitable.  The ability for human beings to effectively adapt to change becomes one of the strongest lessons of the work.  Naturally, Achebe's narrative details how Colonialism can be seen as a force that is not entirely positive.  One of the lasting legacies of the work is to forever associate the idea of "Things Fall Apart" with Colonialism.  In a setting in which European exploits are praised as being representative of "Civilization," I think one of the strongest lessons out of the work is that historical consciousness involves detailing both strengths and weaknesses.  Outside of this, I think that a historical related entity that is gained from the work is the idea that human beings can be afflicted with alienation and loneliness as part of their condition, regardless of context.  Achebe displays how these elements are a part of what it means to be human.  Rather than see them as elements that exist in one domain or another, Achebe is trying to instruct the reader that they are universal entities that help to create the human predicament.  In better understanding them, we better understand ourselves.


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