Things Fall Apart

Novel's opening and ending

In the novel's opening Okonkwo is wrestling. How does it contrast with the ending when Okonkwo is deliberating about an adequate response to the British humiliation of the Igbo elders in jail?

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Achebe provides us with this opening and ending in order to tell two stories that overlap and intertwine. At the first, we see Okonkwo as the strong man of his village........ then we see his fall from grace within the tribal world. This conflict epitomizes the battle between the individual as he relates to society. It's an ancient story of a culture and its people.

The ending is the culmination of the second story. This story is as current as the other was ancient. It depicts not an individuals struggle with society, but rather a clash of cultures. Okonkwo is a symbol of both, and therefore his story begins and ends the tale.