Culture in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Category: Literature
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Just imagine, something or someone that annoys you the most and you were stuck with that thing or person for the rest of your life. That type of situation occurred in the book, Things Fall Apart and the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!” Things Fall Apart was written by Chinua Achebe and the story sets around the life of Okonkwo, a prominent man living in the village of Umoufia. Then, all of a sudden, newcomers arrive into town that changes the whole fate of Umoufia. Meanwhile, the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!,” written by Walt Whitman, talks about drums that are disrupting the society with their loudness. Now, how are these literacy materials similar? The book, Things Fall Apart and the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!” share connections between the symbolism of the drums, the effect of the drums, and the reference about the churches.

The book Things Fall Apart and the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!” have many similarities, the first evidence being about the drums. The poem is about the negative view of the drums, for instance, “leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride, nor the peaceful farmer any peace, plowing his field or gathering his grain.”(Whitman 5-6) The overall tone of the quote from the poem suggests disturbance and corruption. Likewise, in the book, the white people brought distribution into the Igbo people’s civilization. One of the very actions that took place in the book about the white men was when they wiped out Abame. “Abame has been wiped out,’ said Obierika…..during the last planting season a white man had appeared in their clan.'(Achebe 138) Overall, the drums in the poem represent the white men in the book.

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Secondly, the last paragraph of the poem can be connected to the messengers in the book. Most of the poem is about how the drums affected the people’s daily lives and its actions didn’t change at all. “Mind not the timid—mind, not the weeper or prayer, mind not the old man beseeching the young man, let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties.”(Whitman 17-19) This shows how the drums didn’t care about their surroundings and kept on making noise. In addition, the white men, especially the District Commissioner, they felt no sympathy towards the Igbo people. Even after Okonkwo committed suicide, the District Commissioner didn’t resent towards them. In the book it states, ““shut up!” shouted one of the messengers, quite unnecessarily. ‘Take down the body,’ the Commissioner ordered his chief messenger, ‘and bring it and all these people to the court.””(Achebe 208) In the end, the drums and the white men didn’t care about the people around them.

Lastly, the reference about the church in the poem compared to the ones in the book. In the poem, there is a certain part where the narrator includes something about a church. ‘Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation.'(Whiteman 3) This quote relates to the Christianity and churches that the white men are spreading the book. Many churches were established by Mr. Brown, one of the first messengers sent to Umuofia, to spread their Christianity in the book. However, since one of the major negative changes was religion, it was portrayed negatively. Spreading Christianity was not a horrifying act itself, but the way the messengers were forcing the Igbo people to change their beliefs since they were polytheistic was unrealistic. According to the book it states, ““All the gods you have named are not gods at all. They are gods of deceit who tell you to kill your fellows and destroy innocent children. There is only one true God and He has the earth, the sky, you and me and all of us.””(Achebe 145) This shows how the messenger doesn’t acknowledge the Igbo’s religion and their polytheistic gods. 

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Culture in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. (2021, Jun 03). Retrieved from