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Things Fall Apart Symbols

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by

Kolyse Wagstaff

on 5 November 2012

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Transcript of Things Fall Apart Symbols

THINGS FALL APART:
SYMBOLS Fire symbolizes Okonkwo's driving force:
the refusal to be weak like his father. His
fire (or anger) grows throughout the novel. At the end it finally gets too big to contain and it ends up consuming him, leading him to commit suicide. (SparkNotes) This quote from the book shows the comparison
Okonkwo uses to describe himself as fire and Nwoye as cold ash. "Living fire begets cold, impotent ash." (Page 153) Locusts In the novel, locusts serve as a symbol
foreshadowing the future coming of the white men. The harbingers are the locusts that come first to survey the land. This is like the first white missionary who came and was killed in the village of Abame. (SparkNotes) The book also says that, "Mighty tree branches broke away under them." This
is a metaphor for how the African culture will crack like the branches of a tree under the weight of the white men's pressure. (SparkNotes) Yams In the novel, yams symbolize masculinity, hard work and the center of society. Yams take lots of work and eventually determine someone's wealth and prestige in the African society. Men are also the controlling factor in the lives of their women and children. (Yams) Bicycle The bicycle is a symbol that is similar
to the harbingers. The harbingers were
the first locusts to come and survey
the land before the rest came. In this way, the first white man comes riding
a bike. We see the African naivety to simple
European things like a bike, and how the bike symbolizes the coming of new European concepts. The white men even say that some of the
Africans may ride a bike, symbolizing
that they will soon embrace the new
European cultures. The broken tree of Okonkwo's society..... Fire Sources: A collage of symbols from Things Fall Apart: http://kenferguson.edu.glogster.com/sybols-things-fall-apart Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print.
McEwen, Melissa. "Yam Confusion: A WHOLE NEW WORLD." Hunt.Gather.Love. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2012. <http://huntgatherlove.com/content/yam-confusion-whole-new-world>.
"Things Fall Apart." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/things/themes.html>.
"Yams." Shmoop. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2012. <http://www.shmoop.com/things-fall-apart/yams-symbol.html>. This video has artwork representing
several of the symbols in the book.
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