Analyze Achebe's point of view on African civilization. Does he approve of every aspect of their society?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Achube paints a very realistic portrait of African life with all of its strengths and weaknesses. However, he also paints the European culture with its strengths and weaknesses. His main purpose is to expose the problems that arise when once culture clashes with another culture. The African civilization is portrayed as a successful one. There is an organized society that propers on a diet of yams and other foods. There are institutions designed to deal with law breakers and a social structure that is adaptable. Any man can earn titles by hard work, in spite of his family background. This aspect of African culture is personified in the main character, Okonkwo. Although is father is lazy and occupies the bottom rung of Igbo society, Okonkwo is able to amass both wealth and titles because of his work. However, he is not perfect. He beats his wive, and children and has an inflexible view of the way society should work. Thus, he is not prepared when the Europeans come and bring their religion and government. This inflexibility leads to his demise. Achube also shows some aspects of Igbo society that many Europeans would consider "savage". For instance, many readers find the idea of throwing away twins and killing young hostages like Ikemufuna disgusting, especially given the detached way Acube presents these practices.

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Things Fall Apart

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