Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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What is the conflict in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe?

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The conflict at the heart of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is culture clash. There are different types of conflict in literature: sometimes it is a conflict between two parties; other times, it is a protagonist against nature. In this story, however, the conflict is the future against tradition.

Igbo cultural traditions play a major role in the novel—for example, the parades, the sacrifice of Ikemefuna, and ritual exile of Okonkwo . However, the arrival of Christian missionaries changes the culture. Achebe clarifies that it is not the religion that is the enemy, as the first leader of the missionaries is well received and attempts to interact with the culture instead of destroying it. However, after a new missionary comes, the society unravels. The Igbo people are encouraged to give up traditions and customs. This threatens their cultural identity and incites a violent response. The climactic revolt and attack on the mission house shows the tradition and modernity conflict come to a...

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