Things Fall Apart Gallery

"The Harvesters" shows men working in a vast field of shoulder-high crops. It is exhausting work, and some of the men are resting under a tree. Okonkwo had the strength to "[work] daily on his farms from cock-crow until the chickens went to roost" (Achebe 10) like the harvesters in the painting. Unlike his family members, who tired easily in the fields, he was "a very strong man and rarely felt fatigue." (Achebe 10)
"Peasant Wedding" depicts a large celebration inside a small house, where food is being passed around, a band is playing, and people are talking and laughing. The atmosphere in the painting is what Okonkwo and his family believe a feast should be like, with "so much food and drink that many kinsmen [whistle] in surprise," (Achebe 120) because "a man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving . . . We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so." (Achebe 121)
"The Hunter's Return" shows a family after the men have returned from their hunt. The women all stay near the house, and the mother is busy watching her children while the men carry a deer out of the woods. Okonkwo believes that women should stay at home while men do the hunting and fighting, like the family in the painting. He thinks that since he is a man, he must fight and defend his family, saying "if a man comes into my hut and defecates on the floor, what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! I take a stick and break his head! That is what a man does" (Achebe 115).
In "The Fog Warning," a lone fisherman in a small wooden boat is struggling to row through large, rough waves. Dark clouds on the horizon indicate that a storm is coming, and the fisherman is in a hurry to escape it. He represents Okonkwo as he tries to resist the missionaries and their Christian reforms. When asked why he is so angry about the Christians in the village, Okonkwo replies, "these people are daily pouring filth over us, and Okeke says we should pretend not to see" Achebe 115), which shows that he would rather address the problem than stay sitting in the boat watching the clouds draw closer.
"Thinking of History at My Space" depicts a man contemplating his ancestors and their history. This is similar to Okonkwo's respect for his ancestors. Okonkwo's culture values their ancestors, and he believes that people should "not eat in the house of a man who has no respect for our gods and ancestors" (Achebe 22), and that "a man's life from birth to death was a series of transition rites which brought him nearer and nearer to his ancestors" (Achebe 89).
"Tiger on the Watch" shows a tiger watching an army marching through a vast desert. Although it may be fierce and majestic, the tiger is no match for the army, so it can only sit and watch from a distance. This represents Okonkwo hearing news from other villages about the invading white men while he was in exile. He heard that in Abame, "during the last planting season a white man had appeared in their clan," (Achebe 99) and later, "everybody was killed" (Achebe 100). Okonkwo also learned that "the missionaries had come to Umuofia" (Achebe 103), but he was in Mbanta and could not do anything about it, just like the tiger cannot stop the approaching army.
"Approach of the White Men" shows a group of Native Americans watching white men approach them. Some of them appear stoic while others look nervous and apprehensive. These are similar to the reactions of Okonkwo and his village when they learned of the destruction of Abame by white men. Okonkwo thinks that "Abame people were weak and foolish" (Achebe 125) while others believe "a great evil has come upon their land" (Achebe 100).
The grounded boat in "After the Storm" symbolizes the villagers' way of life that had been twisted and broken beyond recognition by the white colonists. When Okonkwo returned from his exile and found his village living in constant fear of the white men, "he mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he mourned for the warlike men of Umuofia, who had so unaccountably become soft like women" (Achebe 130). The storm in the painting represents the colonists' reforms, and the boat represents the village: it was strong and functional until the storm came and tore it apart.
"The Victim" is a painting of a strange, colorful, bird-like creature trapped in an empty concrete cage. The bird symbolizes Okonkwo's feelings of rage and humiliation when he was imprisoned by white men. Okonkwo and the other prisoners "ate nothing throughout that day and the next. They were not even given any water to drink . . . At night the messengers came in to taunt them and to knock their shaven heads together" (Achebe 139). The colorful patterns and textures of the bird represent the village's traditions and beliefs, which are supressed and weakened by white men like the prison guards that treat Umofians like animals.
A man is washed up on a beach in "After the Hurricane," looking hopeless and alone. This is how Okonkwo probably felt after no one supported his killing of a white man. Although the other villagers respected him, they were more afraid of fighting the white men than of losing all of their culture and values. Okonkwo felt that by abandoning their beliefs, the villagers had abandoned him, so, although he "was one of the greatest men in Umuofia," he was driven "to kill himself and now he will be buried like a dog." (Achebe 149)
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google