Explain possible consequences of not changing in Part Two of Things Fall Apart.

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this section of the novel, Okonkwo is in exile in his motherland. Quite literally, it is the village from which his mother came. Okonkwo is suffering under this punishment; as a hyper-masculine male with violent & abusive tendencies, he has difficulty grasping the necessity of the feminine balance in life. This is one area in which he might face consequences if he cannot change. If his personality has no balance, he will exist as a tyrant, shunned by the people of his village.

Another area in which he resists change is the coming of the Europeans. Although many of the British actions are inexcusably horrific (such as massacring entire villages, enacting brutal punishment, & forcing the Ibo to conform to Western culture and traditions), this is one case where the people of Umuofia suffer individually and as a community by not adapting.  Some ideas, such as rescuing twins left in the forest & accepting all members of society are beneficial, but the Ibo reject the British wholesale, most likely because of their cruel tactics.

However, Achebe does not seem to be advocating adapting in all circumstances, and completely rejecting tradition. Nor does he support upholding tradition at all costs. Rather, he is suggesting that societies rise & fall due to external & internal pressures alike, and that each individual must decide his/her own path. Failing to do this will result in unhappiness, societal disintegration, and possibly death.