Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reading: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart is another book that I heard about a lot in my high school years but never had to read until I entered college.  I took a seminar course this past summer that focused on African Folktales and Literature.  Things Fall Apart was an assigned reading.
This book focuses on a man named Okonkwo who lives with a tribe in Africa with his three wives and children.  His father was a very gentle, lazy man and Okonkwo has been embarrassed by him since his childhood.  He believes that to be a man he must be forceful strong and daring.  Because of these two things, Okonkwo earns himself a huge character flaw - fear of being weak.  This flaw haunts him throughout the entire novel.  He becomes violent and angry a lot of the time, bringing shame upon him and his family and the purpose of this is to say that we must not let fear of something drive us because things will fall apart. 
This book was a big surprise for me because I didn't expect to like it.  The writing was superb and the story itself was engaging.  As a Christian though, I wanted to comment on the men that came from Europe to colonize in the book.  I personally don't agree with organized religion at all for the reason that religion is political and can be hateful at times.  Reading about colonization just shows the faults religion holds.  Christians sometimes believe that because they are Christian, they are superior to people who aren't Christian.  What they fail to see is that God created each and every one of us equally.  These men were spreading hate, not God's love.  They had the right intentions in a sense but in the end, it was their choices that show that they are not true followers of God.  I wanted to make this point because I think it is important for other Christians to be aware of the difference between religion and being a follower of Jesus Christ.  While this is not a focus in the book, it is something that I found interesting and it can teach us all something.
I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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