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Things Fall Apart - Hunter A Meyer 25 April 2007 FYSEM...

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Hunter A. Meyer 25 April 2007 FYSEM Nicole Caso Essay #3 …The Center Cannot Hold: Exploring Change in Okonkwo’s Reality Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. -William Butler Yeats Chinua Achebe’s 1959 novel, “Things Fall Apart” takes its name from this first stanza of W. B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming.” In doing so, the title immediately hints at how change , in its infinite forms, affects every aspect of the human experience uniquely. Yeats paints a frantic, forlorn image of our planet rushing towards uncertain demise,
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while Achebe’s commentary is far subtler. In “Things Fall Apart,” Okonkwo, the protagonist, (if he can truly be called that) embodies the inherent struggle with change that is always occurring on some level. For Okonkwo, the stand-off ended in his own demise, but through better understanding of his relationship with change, perhaps hope can be found for a more dynamic overall, human existence. From the very beginning, it is clear that Okonkwo is a strong individual. The novel starts out with, “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and beyond. His Fame rested on solid personal achievements” (p. 3). Achebe continues with a specific example: “As a young man of eighteen he had brought honor to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat.” This sends a very clear message to the reader that in this character’s society, individualism and strength-based accomplishments are heavily valued. Not only that, but the simple, “community-knowledge” based writing style implies that one’s actions are the chief form of personal worth, with attributes of the emotional and intellectual nature left neglected. More than anything else, it is this style of
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