According to Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, how might tradition restrict a society's ability to deal with change?

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kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you look at Okonkwo as the embodiment of Igbo culture, which in many ways he is, he demonstrates some of the difficulties in dealing with change that the other members of the tribe also have.  His identity is tied so closely to the traditions of the tribe, the titles he wants to win, the ways of becoming a respected man, and the absolute necessity of appearing strong (of course amplified in his case) make it impossible for him to consider any of the merits or even possible good things about the entrance of the missionaries or the other aspects of white culture.

His complete inability to communicate or accept or break from any tradition actually led to him committing the gravest sin against mother earth in committing suicide, but he is so bound to tradition that he sees no other way.

At least in my reading of the novel, this is a metaphor for the way that the traditional culture was also broken down.

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Things Fall Apart

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