Animal Imagery in Things Fall Apart


Igbos use animals in characterization, descriptions  and explanations as a way to understand the world in a more natural ways as well as a representation of their beliefs and wisdom. The animal presence in their culture and beliefs represents their freedom and connection with nature and helps as a contrast with the modernized culture of Europe. There are two notorious animal representations in the book. One of them is the fable about a tortoise that meets his demise which is used to foreshadow Okonkwo’s personality  and flaw that will eventuality lead to his death. The other representation is the incident when Enoch , son of the snake-priest, in his way to demonstrate his devotion to his new religion kills a python and eat it, which is a sacred animal in the Igbo culture, and initiates a conflict between the clan and the Christians. This incident can be a symbolic form to show the death of the Igbo’s religion. This animalic illustration of the world is beautiful and somehow it feels so mystic and make you realize how wise nature can be.  It also highlights the lessons that can be learnt from nature.