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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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What practice was an abomination to the Ibo but not to the Christians or British? What were some things the Christians or British saw was right but Ibos saw was wrong?

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One of the abominations is the nature of Okonkwo's death at the end of the novel.On one level, his death is his ultimate act of resistance against the white imperialists. He hangs himself to avoid being imprisoned and, ironically, his body is discovered by local leader of the white government who has come to take him to court. Although the British certainly see suicide as being "right;" they do see it as a form of justice for Okonkwo's murder of the white messenger.

His death, however, means something very different to the Ibo people. Throughout the novel, Okonkwo's flaw has been his fear of allowing others to see weakness in him. From witnessing his father's laziness and the way others spoke of him, Okonkwo made it his life's mission to be seen as a strong, hard working individual of high status within his tribe. However, suicide is completely taboo among his people and his hanging ruins the reputation Okonkwo worked so hard to create.

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