When is militarism used in the book Things Fall Apart? 

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dashing-danny-dillinger eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Militarism crops up often in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Achebe uses scenes that depict the desire for military action throughout the novel to reinforce Okonkwo's bellicose nature. Indeed, early in the novel, Okonkwo first believes that the promise of war is the reason why all the important men in the village are called for a meeting:

“Okonkwo on his bamboo bed tried to figure out the nature of the emergency-- war with a neighboring clan? That seemed the most likely reason, and he was not afraid of war. He was a man of action, a man of war” (10).

Okonkwo hopes for the opportunity to be violent and prove his abilities as a warrior.

However, it should be noted that militarism in not only used to describe and reinforce Okonkwo's brutal masculinity, but is also used when white settlers begin to become pervasive forces in Umuofia. When Okonkwo returns from exile, he questions why his tribe does not simply overthrow the white settlers and run then from town. His best friend Obierika informs him of the violence these settlers are capable of:

“'Perhaps I have been away too long.... But I cannot understand these things you tell me. What is it that has happened to our people? Why have they lost the power to fight?

'Have you not heard how the white man wiped out Abame?'” (175).

Thus, militarism is used throughout the novel to show the violence and upheaval of both Okonkwo's life and Umuofia as a whole.


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Things Fall Apart

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