Free Study Guide Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe BookNotes|
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THINGS FALL APART FREE CHAPTER SUMMARY
The novel comes to a close with the suicide of Okonkwo who realizes that although his action is brave, it is not sanctioned by his fellow clan members. His own role in the clan is marginalized and therefore superfluous. Okonkwo cannot move into the new and changing world of the Umuofia that is ruled by the British forces. Instead he takes his own life rather than submit to the hands of the British. In a sense, he does not surrender but dies a warrior. The lamentable part of his death is that such a brave warrior would not get the burial he deserved, because taking one’s own life was an offense against the earth. At the same time the customs of the village are deteriorating, so adhering to this custom almost seems pointless after so many of their customs have become empty of significance with the onset of colonialism.
Achebe shifts the point of view from an omniscient, mostly objective point of view to one that is strictly from the District Commisioner’s eyes. His reference about the natives playing “monkey tricks” is derogatory and racist and reveals his complete lack of respect and concept of them as being primitive. He has no consideration for the dead or for the living, but only for his book that would be a memoir of his deeds and actions. Not only have their resources been commodified but so have the Igbos’ experiences. He thinks he has a deep awareness of their rituals and customs but his ignorance is emphasized in his disdain of them. The title of the book he is writing underscores his unknowing contribution to the demise of Igbo culture as well his ignorance of the complexity of Igbo culture that Achebe has shown the reader throughout the book. “Pacification” is a euphemism for the violent suppression of a culture and his use of Okonkwo’s story shows how incidental the Igbo were to the greater project of colonialism. For the District Commissioner, the end justifies the means.
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. 09 May 2017