Everything in our life changes constantly. John F. Kennedy said “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” This can be seen in the novel “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe and in Cevat Fehmi Baskut’s play “Buzlar ï¿½zï¿½lmeden”. Needing to adjust oneself to the change, one must never forget that there will be a tomorrow and notice he might pass over the future if he holds on the customary ideas. In the novel “Things Fall Apart” the protagonist, Okonkwo, is a man of war and he resists to the change in his clan. Moreover, in the play “Buzlar ï¿½zï¿½lmeden” the gentry, who have been exploiting the community, don’t want the system to change.
In Achebe’s novel, the life of the clan changes completely after the arrival of the white men. Some members of the clan accept their presence and even join the church; some members don’t care about the Christians being there, whereas, rest of the clan, especially Okonkwo, don’t want them in Umofia. Okonkwo is a man of action; he wants the whole world to see his power and shows no sign of “weakness” “… He was a man of action, a man of war. Unlike his father he could stand the look of blood… (Achebe, 10, Heinemann Educational Publishers)” He sees showing any kind of feeling as weakness. He is so afraid to be assumed as a weak person that he kills Ikemafuna. “…Okonkwo drew his matchet and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak…( Achebe, 54, Heinemann Educational Publishers).” During a funeral, Okonkwo kills a boy by mistake, which is considered as a “female crime”, so flees from the clan to his motherland for seven years as a punishment for his crime. After seven years he turns back to his hometown.
He predicts that he shall still be the strongest and the most respected man in the clan. However, things have changed a lot. “… Seven years was a long time to be away from one’s clan. A man’s place was not always there, waiting from him. As soon as he left, someone else rose and filled it. The clan was like a lizard; if it lost its tail it soon grew another… (Achebe, 151, Heinemann Educational Publishers)”. After his return, he sees his clan has changed; white men have arrived the village to spread Christianity. Okonkwo can’t get used to these changes and kills himself. Okonkwo resists to the change. He knows he has lost his place in the community, but he also knows that he can gain some of the power he has had before the exile. “…Okonkwo knew these things. He had lost his place among the nine masked spirits who administered justice in clan. He had lost his chance to lead his warlike clan against the new religion, which, he was told, had gained the ground… (Achebe, 151, Heinemann Educational Publishers).” He also knows that he can re-gain some of the power he has lost if he makes his return remarkable with feasts.
Nevertheless, the white men have brought not only a new religion to the clan but also their new government. “…But apart from the church, the white men have also brought a government. They have built a court where District Commissioner judged the cases in ignorance… (Achebe, 154, Heinemann Educational Publishers)”. Since the clan has encountered a huge change during the exile of Okonkwo, his return was not as a big deal as he has hoped it would be. “… The clan has undergone such profound change during his exile that it was barely recognisable. The new religion and government and the trading stores were very much in people’s eyes and minds. There were still many who saw these new institutions as evil, but even they talked and thought about little else, and certainly not about Okonkwo’s return… (Achebe, 161, Heinemann Educational Publishers)”. Okonkwo sees this as a sign of his clan losing its values, culture; a sign of a falling apart clan. ” … Okonkwo was deeply grieved. And it was not just a personal grief. He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and the mourned for the warlike men of Umuofia, who had unaccountably become soft like women… (Achebe, 161, Heinemann Educational Publishers)”. Okonkwo wants everything to be the same as it was before his exile; he wants the tribe-men to continue worshipping the multiple gods; he wants the cultures and the traditions to endure; he wants his clan to survive as it is. He cannot tolerate the changes that his tribe has been going through so he takes his own life. According to their traditions, committing suicide is one of the biggest sins so Okonkwo’s friends cannot touch his body and asks the District Commissioner to bury him and he orders his men to do so (Achebe, 182-183, Heinemann Educational Publishers).
Okonkwo, in the noval “Things Fall Apart”, has trouble with adapting to the change. He looks back on the times he was one of the strongest men in his clan and everything was in “order”. He does not want anything to change. He denies the fact that the outcasts of the society need something to hold on and the Christians accept them as who they are and that is why they choose Christianity. He cannot reconcile with the new life of the clan. He longs for the past. Even though he resists to the change so much, his clansmen do not back him. When Okonkwo first comes back from his exile and encounters the change, he hopes that the clan can return to past. And yet, he sees that he is all by himself fighting the change when he kills the messenger and no one stands by him. “… Okonkwo stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they let the other messenger escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright in that tumult. He heard voices asking ‘Why did he do it?’ He wiped his matchet on the sand and went away…( Achebe, 180, Heinemann Educational Publishers)” He doesn’t think there can be a future so he suppresses any chance of being happy and consequently kills himself. Thus, one can say that Okonkwo is a victim of change.
The play “Buzlar ï¿½zï¿½lmeden” by Cevat Fehmi Baskut, takes place in a village in 1960s. It is about the change that a village goes through with the arrival of a crazy man as the governor. The “mad” governor changes the system thoroughly; he makes his assistant burn all the records from the past claiming that they have been responsible for the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. He also outlaws all the paper-work that needs to be done in order to speak to the governor. At first, the villagers have difficulty in complying with the system but when they understand that the governor is keeping the gentry from exploiting them, they accepted the change. In fact they are very happy about the changes that the village has undergone. Even the clerk, who thinks a village can only survive if it is ruled by the old ways, says that even though he has lost his authority over the village, this change has been beneficial for the villagers.
On the other hand, the gentry have been exploiting the villagers. For example Sari Mahmut Aga claims the lands which are not legally his. In addition, Haci Murat Aga sells afflicted meat and rice to the poor villagers. As a result they are wealthy people in the village and live their lives in luxury. They don’t want this easy and comfortable life to come to an end. Nonetheless, the governor figures out that they are deceitful and he punishes them and makes them give up some of their land and makes them eat their own diseased food.
Wholly, in both of the books, there is a resistance to change. In the novel “Things Fall Apart” Okonkwo opposes the change. One can say he cannot overcome the pressure that the change his clan has undergone and kills himself. On the other hand, in the play “Buzlar ï¿½zï¿½lmeden” the gentry tries to stop the change that their village has encountered due to the arrival of the “mad” governor. Similarly, they cannot achieve their goal of stopping the change. Hence, the whole village understands that they have been conceiving them.
All in all, life cannot go on without change. Keeping the quotation from J. F. Kennedy in mind, we can say that nothing stays the same forever. Everything, more or less, changes from time to time. The path that this change fallowed and the effect of it may differ. One must always keep up with the requirements of the time and change oneself correspondingly. One shouldn’t stick to the habits of the past but revise the established rules according to the needs of the present.