Colonialism in "Things Fall Apart"
In Things fall Apart, Chinua Achebe tackles the subject of colonialism fairly and firmly. From the novel, it is visibly clear how colonialism affected people and how it succeeded in pulling the people in different directions. Colonialism succeeded in destroying family relationships, friendships and also made tribes fight against themselves. Even though the novel is a fictional book, there is the clear truth on how colonialism has affected people to the level where the life of the affected becomes destroyed and results into his own death.
The novel can be seen as a one way narrative on the life and events of a single member of a tribe in Africa, but on a wider view, it represents the collective life of the African people at a time when outsiders are trying to change the traditional practices carried out by the people. Okonkwo is the main character and we are shown the different struggles in regard to his tribe and also the changing times. Oknokwo is known as a talented farm from Umuofia clan, and also recognized for having good and appreciated traits.
Nevertheless, he has a difficult time as he tries to stop himself from becoming like his father, while at the same time trying to keep up with the culture and traditions practiced by his people. Okonkwo, in the end, realizes that he cannot keep up with the new developments that the English colonizers are trying to instill in his people. The developments include a new religion, and other modern practices. He takes his own life while his people embrace the new developments brought about by the white man.
Though colonialism can be viewed as a bad thing that has completely destroyed the traditions and culture of community, it can also be seen as having good effects since it helped remove the cultural violence that was practiced. This included acts like punishment for crimes, and ritual sacrifices that were viewed normal by the communities but were seen as inhumane by the missionaries.
In conclusion, there are different sides of how colonialism can affect people as seen from the novel. Economically and socially, colonialism brought with it increased opportunities given to the people. This made them more prosperous and opened avenues for people to make more profits. In terms of religion, culture and traditional practices, colonialism completely changed the people’s practices, which in turn led to other people rebelling. It is, nevertheless, important not to lose one’s sense of identity in the process of change and still maintain the culture and traditions while embracing modernity.
Below you will find three outstanding thesis statements / paper topics for “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe that can be used as essay starters. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in “Things Fall Apart” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements for “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe offer a short summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay. Before you begin, however, please get some useful tips and hints abouthow to use PaperStarter.comin the brief User's Guide…you'll be glad you did.Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Tragic Hero and “Things Fall Apart” as a Tragedy
“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe follows the classic model of a tragedy and can be compared to several works, particularly works from antiquity such as Oedipus the King and stories from Shakespeare such as Macbeth and Hamlet. One of the reasons why this is a tragedy and can be related to so many other tragic works is because the main character, Okonkwo, fits the classic example of a tragic hero. A tragic hero is, by short definition, someone who falls because of a tragic flaw and not necessarily because he is a “bad” or evil person. For this essay, do a character analysis of Okonkwo and map the ways he is a tragic character. For help with this essay, you might want to look back to other works or find ways Okonkwo has good intentions but because of his flaws (pride, anger, etc) cannot see a positive resolution to his troubles. For more assistance with this topic, check out this article on the tragic nature of Okonkwo compared to another tragic character from literature, Oedipus.Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: The Importance of Customs and Traditions in “Things Fall Apart”
Throughout “Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the role of customs and traditions is incredibly important and decides the fate of men, women, and children. Some of the customs practiced in this culture would certainly be frowned upon in the West yet are perfectly acceptable. For instance, the idea that a child should be murdered or that the spirits of the dead must be appeased can have grave consequences for some characters. For this essay, examine the role of customs and traditions in “Things Fall Apart” and consider why these might be important to this culture (for instance, think about how they all have to do with the natural world and natural forces—appropriate since they live in the open and are prone to threats). Furthermore, this essay might also want to integrate how these customs changed after the whites and colonialism came. For an essay that changes this theme slightly, you might also want to consider the question of whether the customs and traditions of Igbo society do more harm than good. If you follow this route for an essay, remember not to be ethnocentric and not make value judgments on their beliefs, instead just examine if such customs cause more problems than they solve using the text (not fully opinions) as your support.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Role of the Supernatural in “Things Fall Apart”
While themes stemming from the influence of the supernatural can be connected to the above essay topic for “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, an essay could quite easily be developed along the lines of the importance of the supernatural. A good thesis statement for this essay would state that matters related to the supernatural world drive the action of the plot throughout “Things Fall Apart.” This is not just because of the practices and beliefs of the Igbo society, but also those that the white man brings with him. Throughout “Things Fall Apart” there is a tension between what the supernatural world means and the differences in viewpoints on this matter are the prime source of conflict outside of issues stemming from Okonkwo's character flaws. For this essay, you will want to find examples of differences in opinion on supernatural matters and how this tears the community apart. For this essay, don't just concentrate on sections after the arrival of the white missionaries, look at hints of this theme before that, such as differences in opinion on tribal beliefs and customs. Also consider the differences between even like-minded men such as Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith.
Other ideas for thesis statements on “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe can be gleaned by reading the following openly accessible articles : Women, Colonization & Cultural Change in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe • History, Narrative and Culture in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe • Comparison of Tragic Characters in Things Fall Apart and Oedipus the King •