Saturday, April 23, 2011
The locust represented in the novel is very significant. Locusts have a binary attribute to them in Things Fall Apart. When the locust descend among the tribe, the clan accepts them as good, "At first, a fairly small swarm came...soon it covered half the sky, and the solid mass was not broken by tiny eyes of light like shining star dust. It was a tremendous sight" (pg. 56). The tribesmen and women danced about collecting the locust as they descending on their crops, their roofs, and throughout their homes. The locusts were good food to eat. Readers should take note that this is a foreshadowing event. In the Bible, one of the plagues that befall on Pharaoh is locust. The locust invaded Pharaoh's land in Egypt and devoured everything. Later, the locust in Things Fall Apart would represent the missionaries that invaded the clan. Okonkwo hated these locusts as they devoured up the great men of the tribe and led the tribesmen astray feeding them the living Word of God. Here the term "locust" represents both the destruction of a religion through missionaries as well as a the benefits of the locusts bringing food into the tribe and settling on the homes of the clan.