This paper aims to focus on Things Fall Apart and The Stranger by developing a critical appreciation as well as a comparative analysis of the two 20th century novels by renowned authors

This paper aims to focus on Things Fall Apart and The Stranger by developing a critical appreciation as well as a comparative analysis of the two 20th century novels by renowned authors. As tragic fictions deliberately revolve around a hero who has the authority and passions that are of greater rank, yet whatever he does is subject both to social criticism and to the order of nature. Similarly, this study further tends to suggest the construction of the protagonist in the respective novels through the ironical sense of observations.
Albert Camus novel, The Stranger deals with the story of a young man Monsieur Meursault, passionate in thought and resistant by nature. In the beginning the protagonist has recently been informed about his mother’s uncertain death. However, the irony lies in the fact, that the sudden demise of his mother doesn’t evoke any emotional feeling in him rather for him sentiments are weighed on factual basis. Moreover, further instances in the novel are followed by the central character’s interaction with his friend in terms of helping him out. By counting on several incidents, Meursault commits a murder and gets jailed for the crime and punishment.
As the novel further progress towards the climax there’s a trial for which the spectators are gathered. As people from the press fill the court, similarly the subject of the fundamental quickly moves from the crime to a general discourse of Meursault’s character, and of his reaction to his mother’s passing explicitly. The boss and a couple of different people who went to the vigil and the internment benefit are called to confirm, and they all validate Meursault’s nonattendance of wretchedness or tears. Marie reluctantly certifies that the day after his mother’s entombment benefit she and Meursault went out on the town and saw a comedic movie. In the midst of his summation the following day, the inspector calls Meursault a brute and says that his nonattendance of good tendency undermines all of society. Meursault is found at risk and is sentenced to death by executing.
In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart rise and fall of Okonkwo is presented. Besides this, the author has efficiently provided an insight into the rich oral traditions and culture of Africa. Okonkwo, the protagonist of the novel tends to be the torchbearer of his clan or the tribe. The success he’s achieved is merely through all the hard work he’s done in order not to portray his father. His father was a man, Okonkwo never idealized neither wanted to be alike. Apart from the familial ties and African traditions, the novel also deals with the invasion of the white missionaries with a prime motif to refine and at the same time to contaminate the virgin land of Africa.
Okonkwo’s final fault and the beginning of his tragedy is calculated by his unintentional attempt of a bullet shot due to which a boy is killed. For this he is removed from the village for a period of seven years and therefore has to live in his mother’s village of Mbanta a specified time span. However, this is a great act of humiliation and disgrace for him yet he is consoled and encouraged by his uncle, Uchendu. After the period of exile, Okonkwo’s return to Umuofia with his family is again a shattering experience. As the missionaries have done a lot for the village, hence Umuofia is prospering economically, but Okonkwo is firm in his refusal to charge his religion.The commissioner sends some men to stop the proceedings, and Okonkwo, in a fit of fury, beheads one of them. The tribe is disturbed and they let the other men escape. Finding no more support from his tribesmen, Okonkwo falls from the pedestal he once exercised leadership on. Hence, he ends up hanging himself. In this way, his world has fallen apart.
Further tragedy lies in the fact that even his tribesmen refuse to cut him down and bury him since taking one’s own life is a violation of the earth goddess, and his men would not bury such a man. His friend Obierika’s words describe the tragedy most powerfully “That man was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. You drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog.”Okonkwo’s suicide tends to be an amalgamation of symbolism of self-destruction as well as devastation of the tribe, for he was the nucleus of power and pride that the tribe had and with its demise, the tribe’s moral center and structure gave way to a more dominant one. With his death, the old way of life ended forever.
Okonkwo and Meursault both characters are observed to encounter with the irrationality of the universe in terms of dealing with various interpretations of masculinity. Through Meursault’s figure, Camus declares the belief system that singular lives and human presence when all is said in done have no balanced significance. The activities of these people are driven by unreasonable conditions they are gone up against with. In any case, since individuals experience issues tolerating this idea, they continually endeavor to recognize or make discerning structure and significance in their lives. Then again, Achebe has displayed Okonkwo having outstandingly terrible temper, outrage and erratic nature which is related with flame all through the novel.
The term “absurdity” portrays mankind’s purposeless endeavor to discover reasonable request where none exists. Correspondingly, neither the outer world in which Meursault lives nor the inward universe of his contemplations and demeanors has any sane request. Meursault has no discernable explanation behind his activities, for example, his choice to wed Marie and his choice to execute the Arab.
Likewise, Okonkwo is both physically and emotionally destructive. He kills Ikemefuna and Ogbuefi Ezeudu’s son and emotionally also for suppressing his fondness for Ikemefuna and Ezinma in favor of a colder, more masculine aura. Similarly as flame benefits from itself until the point that all that is left is a heap of powder, Okonkwo in the end capitulates to his extraordinary wrath, enabling it to govern his activities until the point that it wrecks him.
Besides, society in any case endeavors to manufacture or force balanced clarifications for Meursault’s silly activities. The possibility that things now and again occur for reasons unknown, and that occasions now and then have no importance is troublesome and undermining to society. Towards the consummation of the novel the preliminary grouping speaks to society’s endeavor to make normal request. The investigator and Meursault’s attorney both offer clarifications for Meursault’s wrongdoing that depend on rationale, reason, and the idea of circumstances and end results. Okonkwo is in any occasion irritably unsuited to change.
Halfway because of his own impossible to miss mental aura and incompletely because of the social and familial conditions which have helped shape his identity, he can’t twist or adjust. A savage, misoneistic, dictator character that is wildly self-subordinate, he trusts he can endure anything due to his “resolute will” (18). Whenever, be that as it may, he and his group are faced by a militarily predominant outsider power which can’t be vanquished by weight of arms, it is Okonkwo’s resolved resoluteness itself which renders him unequipped for adjustment and which makes his obliteration ineluctable. Meusault’s not at all like Okonkwo doesn’t generally feel pulled in to a specific place or individual. His straight-faced methodology towards moralistic perspective triggers another one of a kind part of his character. Thus, due to his lack of care and powerlessness to pass judgment on ideal from wrong, he is effortlessly convinced to execute the Arab. That is his deadly defect.
As per Albert Camus, a heartbreaking legend is an individual, always bound to meet an unwanted destiny. Correspondingly if there should be an occurrence of Monsieur Meursault the pursuer witness the manner in which the hero is in the long run bound to a terrible destiny. His misery and less wanted survival is estimated through his acknowledgment and accommodation to his destiny with no inquiry. The homicide he submitted unquestionably prompted his execution on a tally of homicide. The storyteller says, “Nothing could be clearer. Regardless of whether it was currently or a long time from now, I would in any case be the one biting the dust” (11). The previously mentioned statement anyway features the saint’s self acknowledgment of reality of presence and truth of death. However all through the novel it is seen how the Meursault was kept from the plain fundamental feelings and convictions yet towards the preliminary and through the trading of contentions he understood what was missing throughout his life.
For Achebe, tragedy implies the working out in man’s lives of a rigorous fatality that transcends the individual’s ability to comprehend or to arrest its pre-ordained course of events. Similarly, in case of Okonkwo he goes on to identify “Okonkwo’s “inflexibility” as his tragic flaw. From a narrowly historicist standpoint, the novel aims to propose that Okonkwo’s demise is the direct result of the material fact of the British colonial enterprise. Yet the text also invites one to view Okonkwo’s story through the prism of tragedy, whether classical or not, and then to consider what this reveals about the kind of universe humankind inhabits. Such consideration necessarily leads to the examination of a number of other pertinent aspects of the novel, which are liable to complicate the picture still further.
Lastly, to conclude it could be perceived that both the heroes of respective novels are poles apart from each other yet the commonality lies in the fact that they are driven by their destiny. Although Okonkwo has an intolerable nature yet his passion for his land and intense association with his rich oral traditions of Africa reflects the fact that he too had the ability to love. Therefore, after the British invasion when he saw his place in which he had invested his whole life was ruled by the invaders he couldn’t accept it. Moreover instead of dying in hands of foreigners he hung himself from the tree to escape the trauma and psychological deterioration. Whereas, Meursault after fighting against the irrationalities of the universe finally accepted the truth of death and instead of running away, he preferred to embrace it. Meursault personifies all of the characteristics of an existential person, but Meursault also can be considered a postmodern being. There is an element of the absurd in the postmodern individual. One can only imagine that in a world with unanswered questions, many of these questions lie in the individual’s life. In The Stranger, Monsieur Meursault acts much like a postmodern individual would act. Thus through both novels we come to an end of ‘things falling apart in a strange way.’