Research Based on Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart (Essay Sample)
The Portfolio Project is designed to require you to expand your understanding of Things Fall Apart by combining knowledge and application of content with your own interpretation and judgment. For the Portfolio Project, you will write a research paper about Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, supplementing your own interpretation with information from three to five other sources. Your interpretation of this novel should reflect an international perspective. Information about planning your research paper and conducting your research can be found in the lecture material for Module 5. The Portfolio Project is due in Week 8.
Essay Formatting Requirements:
5-7 pages (not including title or reference page)
Minimum of three sources (excluding the novel)—must be credible, authored sources; anonymous websites or sites like Wikipedia are not acceptable as one of your three main sources.
Double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-pt font.
Title Page: for an explanation of how to formulate a title page in APA, see The Purdue OWL (scroll down to “Title Page”), or use the APA template provided in the CSU-Global Library.
Insert page numbers in the top right hand corner.
Include a reference page.
Use CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA for correct APA formatting in the paper and on the reference page.
Your final paper will be graded not only based on content but also on the quality of your writing, syntax, and grammar. Please be sure to pay special attention to the quality of your written work. It is highly recommended that you closely proofread your assignment prior to submission. In addition, you are again expected to provide support for your arguments based upon both the required and recommended readings for the course, your research, and any relevant points culled from the discussion boards. Review the Portfolio Rubric, located in the Module 8 folder.
Finally, you will take the particular research question that you are developing as the thesis of your Portfolio Project and contextualize it in such a way as to convey an international or multicultural understanding of the novel. For example, if you are developing a cultural analysis of the novel, you will need to answer, as a part of your research thesis, how one culture develops in direct competition against the emergence of another foreign culture. Or, if you are developing a feminist analysis, you will need to answer, as a part of your research question, how one culture's treatment of women changes when confronted by another culture's differing attitude toward women. Or, if you are doing a direct compare/contrast analysis, you will need to directly compare specific aspects of one culture against another culture.
In other words, any critical perspective from which you frame your thesis and overall paper needs to convey a sharper international or multicultural understanding of the novel and should be reflected in your outline and reference list.
Things Fall Apart
Samantha L. Caramanoff
ENG130 – Introduction to Literature
Colorado State University – Global Campus
Dr. Olivia Burgess
January 28, 2018
Tradition and Identity in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart makes use of the imagery of rituals and traditions to provide motivations behind the characters. These rituals and traditional beliefs help shape the concept of identity that is linked to how Achebe presents the struggle between change and culture. (1) The narrative of Things Fall Apart is anchored on the idea of change and culture focused on the main character Okonkwo. According to Samatar, Things Fall Apart tries to rescue the past as it stands in the present by presenting the condition of modernity as a global reality (Samatar, 2011). The condition of modernity is a result of changing times and could never be avoided. It is taking place in the whole world and has become an acceptable fact. People must embrace change if progress is so desired. With this, the novel’s use of rituals and traditions becomes the anchor on how the past becomes different from the present.
Holding Beliefs Alive
Things Fall Apart, through Okonkwo, poses the challenge of holding on to cultural beliefs as waves of changes arrive. This is evident through how the missionaries entered the community with the purpose to alter its cultural landscape. These missionaries symbolize change in the midst of colonization and modernity. Their purpose lied in spreading religion different from what the Igbo people believed in. Okonkwo, as the story’s focal point, represents the resistance of the minorities in order to hold on to a culture that they call theirs (Nosek, 2008). The missionaries were foreigners; outsiders who were claiming that the beliefs they had were more important than what the Igbo people had. In specific scenes in the novel, it can be seen how traditions and customs helped people function. Their daily lives, at home and out in the marketplace are all influenced by their customary beliefs. This goes to show, not only what is represented in the novel that lives of people progress according to what they believe in. The things they do which are formed out of habit are rooted to rituals and beliefs. In other words, rituals and traditions are formed because they are constantly done. Some become inexplicable because they are done without any explanation. In the case of the novel, this is manifested in how Okonkwo needed to make the sacrifice. For readers who are outsiders of the culture presented in the novel, it’s easy to see how this becomes understandable. The same can be said when the missionaries arrived—many followed without question because they were no longer aware that they needed to ask.
Tradition and Identity
Throughout the novel, Achebe paints a colorful cultural landscape of the Igbo community in Umuofia. Traditions are alive and these are what define the Igbo people. Okonkwo, as an important figure in the community hold onto traditional practices and customs because these are part of his identity. His perseverance to hold onto his belief systems precedes anything else. This is also seen in how people interact within the community. Of course, this is not something foreign. This is present in every culture.
Umuofia, as a community and society, had its cultural values destructed by colonial powers without them realizing it. Okonkwo served as the marker of how change became damaging even without it being deliberate. In the novel, tradition became the marker of identity. (2) As old traditions clashed with newer ones brought by the outsiders, the society of Umuofia started to form a colonial identity which is part of how modernity functioned during a time when superpowers...
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