Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
“Like many African writers, Achebe paints a sympethetic protrait of tribal life as it comes in conflict with European civilization. He fuses ancient proverbs and political ideologies to make his point.”
The novel “Things Fall Apart” has a fairly sympethetic and understanding tone. The words and sentances that he uses to decribe the feelings and emotions of some of the characters are very detailed and it seems that Achebe himself truely understands and relates to the charcters situation. When he describes how Nwoye felt when Oknonkwo came home after killing Ikemfuna, he says “…something seemed to give way inside him, like the snapping of a tighened bow.
He did not cry. He just hung limp.” To me, this seems like he actually sympethizes with Nwoye, and understands his pain. Achebe seems to truely understand the feelings and emotions of his charcters while placing no harsh or critical judgement on them. Because of this, I believe that Achebe can sympathize and indentify with these characters and these feelings. “Ikemefuna felt his legs melting under him. And he was afraid to look back.”
This is another example of Achebe’s sympathy. It seems that most of his sympathy and understanding is directed more towards the charcters unlike Okonkwo, who suffer not because of their own actions, but because of others, or even more so the Ibo culture itself. With Okonkwo, Achebe does not seem to sympethize or try to justify any of his actions. He only says what is done and goes on with the story. He does not try to give reasons for these actions, such as when he kills Ikemefuna.
He only says, “He was afraid of being thought weak.” He does not justify Okonkwo’s killing the boy who has lived with them for over 3 years and who calls him father. This leads me to believe that Achebe may even disagree with Onkonkwo and his very impulsive actions. It seems to me as if Achebe has almost sided with some of the charcters, such as Ikemefuna, and Nwoye.
He describes their hurt and pain so vividly, that you may assume that he himself has been hurt in a similar situation, whereas with Okonkwo, he shows no sympathy, and even no understanding towards his actions and some of the things he has chosen to do throughout this novel. Achebe seems to identify with Nwoye more than the others.
Nwoye is more sensitive than most of the men in this novel, so much so, that he is actually considered woman-like by his own father. Nwoye is more open-minded than most of the characters as well. This is what Achebe can relate to. He truely seems to relate to and sympathize with people who have been hurt and has felt the pain that Nwoye felt on two separate occasions, and explains how this feels so vividly and well that you can’t help but assume that he himself has been there also.
He has felt the pain that Nwoye felt when he realizes that his best friend had been killed. This is why I honestly think that Achebe truely sympathizes and understands some of the horrible things that people go through in the Ibo culture.