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Things Fall Apart

Chinua achebe.

Things Fall Apart is a novel by Chinua Achebe that was first published in 1958. 

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See a complete list of the characters in  Things Fall Apart  and in-depth analyses of Okonkwo, Nwoye, Ezinma, Mr. Brown, Ikemefuna, and Unoka.

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Things Fall Apart (African Trilogy #1)

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Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart , first novel by Chinua Achebe , written in English and published in 1958. Things Fall Apart helped create the Nigerian literary renaissance of the 1960s.

The novel chronicles the life of Okonkwo, the leader of an Igbo community , from the events leading up to his banishment from the community for accidentally killing a clansman, through the seven years of his exile, to his return, and it addresses a particular problem of emergent Africa—the intrusion in the 1890s of white missionaries and colonial government into tribal Igbo society. Traditionally structured, and peppered with Igbo proverbs, it describes the simultaneous disintegration of its protagonist Okonkwo and of his village. The novel was praised for its intelligent and realistic treatment of tribal beliefs and of psychological disintegration coincident with social unraveling.

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Essay Example

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I. Introduction: Thesis Statement: “Things Fall Apart” is about a struggle between change and tradition, as the protagonist Okonkwo suffers from many cultural conflicts that lead to his ultimate downfall.

II. “His Whole Life Was Dominated by Fear, the Fear of Failure and Weakness.”

III. “When a Man Says Yes His Chi Also Says Yes.”

IV. “Okonkwo’s Chi Was No Made for Great Things.”

V. Okonkwo’s Family Relationships.

VI. Conclusion. Okonwo’s pride and fear result in his self condemnation.

In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the reader is given insight into the culture of an African tribesman and how his ideals, when confronted with cultural transition, affect his concept of identity. Things Fall Apart is about a struggle between change and tradition, as the protagonist Okonkwo suffers from many cultural conflicts that lead to his ultimate downfall.

Achebe wrote of Okonkwo, “His whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness.” Three examples of this fear can be seen in his fear of being viewed as effeminate, his fear of becoming his father, and his fear of having an unproductive and disgraceful life. Ikemefuna’s death is an example of Okonkwo’s immense fear of being seen as effeminate, is an example of his fear of weakness and failure because the goal of his culture is to be perceived as masculine and to be perceived as effeminate is to be perceived as weak and fail at the core goal of his culture at the same exact time. This situation is noted in the text when the author says, “ He made him feel grown up; and they no longer spent the evenings in mother’s hut while she cooked , but know sat with Okonkwo in his obi,…”(p. 45). Despite embracing his son and trying very hard to make him sell feminine, he fails and ultimately plays a role in the boy’s execution. In many ways Okonkwo’s success can be seen as a product of his fear of weakness and failure. Another example of his fear of weakness isn’t that he was afraid of work, but rather his fear of weakness and failure in regards to his father and the desire to never be anything like him. As noted in the text, Okonkwo’s father was lazy and carefree. The man had the reputation for being “poor and his wife and children had just barely enough to eat… they swore never to lend him any more money because he never paid back.” (5) Okonkwo’s fear that he will become like his father is so powerful that it ultimately becomes the driving factor that makes him successful and the leading cause for his failure with his family. Okonkwo’s final fear can be attributed to his relationship with his father, but also to his relationship with his culture, as the one thing he has most come to dread is suffering from an unproductive life and a disgraceful death. These fears instilled a drive in Okonkwo and allowed him to develop skills necessary to be successful.

Three examples leading to, or reasons for, Okonkwo’s  success, can be seen in his obsession with gaining status, his refusal to take handouts, and his desire to be the first to start adulthood at a young age. For Okonkwo success is based on material acquisition and growth, and his power. Okonkwo starts off working hard on a far to gain status and respect. He says, “I began to fend for myself at an age when most people still suck at their mothers’ breasts. If you give me some yam seeds I shall not fail you” (21). Okonkwo’s obsession with success, throughout the novel is becomes a major part of his character and can be attributed as a main characteristic contributing to his success. This obsession manifested itself in many materialistic ways. One example of the values that lead  Okonkwo to become successful can be seen in how he does not want to borrow seeds from a wealthy many, but does any way to get an early start at harvest. His ambitions to start farming at a young age, lead him to starting adulthood at a young age, and getting a jumpstart on his life building status in his tribe before his peers. All three of these traits demonstrated by Okonkwo make it very clear why he rose to success within his tribe. Achebe does make it clear to point out that, “Okonkwo’s chi is not “made for great things,” which ultimately becomes the cause of his failure.

Three examples of reasons why Okonkwo’s actions lead to his failure can be seen in his exile, his pride, and his inability to control his temper. The fact that Okonkwo is sent into exile is an example of his ultimate failure.  He is essentially sent for chopping a man’s head off, but when he is sent to exile for seven years, he is never the same again. Okonkwo’s greatest tragic flaw that leads to his downfall is his pride. Pride is ultimately the trait that leads to commit suicide. He is overbearing with his impatience and expectations of others who are not as successful as his pride causes him to feel self righteous.  Okonkwo has established himself as a   self-made man and it makes him impatient of others who are not of the same status. For example, when meeting with the tribe’s elders, he deliberately refers to a man as a woman and says, “This meeting is for men.” This man had no titles, and so Okonkwo felt that he was entitled to speak to the man in this manner. However, Okonkwo was forced to apologize to him. Another flaw  Okonkwo has that results in failure is his temper. Okonkwo is very strict and judgmental with his son, Nwoye, for following in his footsteps. Okonkwo’s fears that Nwoye will be a failure so he allows his temper to get the best of him due to his on fear and he mistreats his son. He is also violent with his wives due to his temper and his fear of losing authority over them. He ultimately breaks the rules of Week of Peace when he beats his wife for not bringing him dinner. The combination of Okonkwo’s pride and uncontrollable temper are what lead him to the decision to commit suicide after he returns from a 7 year exile, but his flaws are also what contribute to many of the conflicts he has with his family.

Achebe wrote that Oknonkwo had conflicts or problems in his family relationships. Examples of these can be seen in Okonkwo’s family interactions. One example of the conflict Okonkwo had with his family can be seen in the fact that he allowed his son, Ikemefuna’s, to be sentenced to death and then took part in the executions despite opposing the decision, simply out of fear of appearing weak. It is an example of how he put his culture before his family. Another example that can be seen is how Okonkwo’s  treats members of his family harshly due to fear. This can definitely be seen with his son Nwoye, who he views as lazy. Okonkwo perceives his own work ethic as great, admirable and powerful, while he views Nwoye as a “degenerate and effeminate” (133). The final example can be seen in how Okonkwo viewed his personal role in his family. The text notes that Okonkow believed, “No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man” (45). Okonkwo is afraid of losing control of his family and being perceived as weak by his wives, so he occasionally mistreats them to compensate for this fear. Okonkwo’s obsession goes so deep that he perceives a loss of respect within his family will result in a loss of respect in the community. The perspective Okonkwo held onto about what it means to be a man transferred over to his relationships with his children and his wives and resulted in him being disconnected from his family and a failure as a father and husband based on his own standards of respect.

In sum, the conflicts that Okonkwo faces, in the book Things Fall Apart, are partially a product of his own doing, and partially a product of cultural transition from what he knows to something new. He devotes his life to gaining status and power within a culture that is taken from him by Christina colonists. The stories centers on his personal evolution of identity within a pre-colonial society to a post-colonial one. The reader is able to interpete all of the fears, values, failures and successes that Okonkwo embodies and that ultimately result in his suicide throughout this transition.


“Okonkwo’s Downfall in: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe”, 26 November, 2009. Web. 10 Oct. 2012.

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Essays on Things Fall Apart

Things fall apart: change vs tradition, the portrayal of women in things fall apart, repression and tragedy in achebe’s things fall apart, how okonkwo’s outward conformity hides his personal questioning in things fall apart, the main aims of the author in "things fall apart", okonkwo's polarized concepts of femininity and masculinity in things fall apart, the importance of adapting to changes in "things fall apart" by chinua achebe, the use of proverbs in things fall apart by chinua achebe, achebe's goal to increase global comprehension of african culture through things fall apart, critique of the effect of western imperialism on the third world in things fall apart, the effects of colonialism on igbo society in things fall apart and the joys of motherhood, the allegory of the title things fall apart, triumph and tragedy: the exploration of a tragic hero and the consequences of others that contribute to the overall tragic vision of the peace "things fall apart", things fall apart and purple hibiscus: female sabotage in an african setting, the use of proverbs in chinua achebe’s novel, language as a bridge to understanding in things fall apart, a novel by chinua achebe, how chinua achebe uses settings in his "things fall apart", impacts of post-colonialism in things fall apart, surfacing, and fire on the mountain, things fall apart: sexism in the igbo culture, the importance of family in white teeth, disgrace and things fall apart, theme of parental conflict in purple hibiscus and things fall apart, evaluation of the role of okonkwo as illustrated in achebe's things fall apart, analysis of okonkwo as a tragic hero, comparison of "heart of darkness" and "things fall apart", the portrayals of imperialism in "things fall apart" and "heart of darkness", the use of ethos, logos and pathos in the book "things fall apart" by chinua achebe, comparative analysis of "heart of darkness" versus "things fall apart", chinua achebe and joseph boyden on the colonialism process, nigeria vs western capitalist society as potrayed in things fall apart and the joys of motherhood, one hundred years of solitude and things fall apart: a comparative literary study, feeling stressed about your essay.

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1958, Chinua Achebe

Novel; Allegorical, historical fiction

Ezinma, Nwoye, Ikemefuna, Okonkwo, Mr. Brown

The European invasion and earlier colonial accounts of African history.

Colonialism, culture, family, friendship, life, struggle, politics, a cultural clash, Igbo society

While the African culture is often ignored, this particular book speaks directly about life in the Igbo society. It also tells an insider story of the African experience that becomes clear for those people who are not directly involved. It tells about the spiritual history of African people and makes a cultural aspect that is often ignored even through the lens of colonial background.

This complex, yet profound novel tells us a story of Okonkwo, a wrestling champion belonging to the Igbo community. The novel takes place among the fictional clan where we learn about family life, history of the main character, custom, society, and the usual challenges. The third part of the book deals with the Christian missionaries and the European colonialism.

The title of the book has been taken from a poem called "The Second Coming", which has been penned by W.B. Yeats. Achebe's goal has been to let the readers learn more about the African society that has been dynamic and vivid, yet completely different from the Western society. The book shows Africa as a modern and well-developed society. The "Things Fall Apart" manuscript has been lost for months until it has finally been found for publishing. Achebe has been influenced by the style of Charles Dickens. The book has given a start for the African literature all over the world. Achebe's work has helped to break down numerous stereotypes about the African society and the tribes.

“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” “A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.” “If you don't like my story, write your own” “Then listen to me,' he said and cleared his throat. 'It's true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. She is buried there. And that is why we say that mother is supreme. Is it right that you, Okonkwo, should bring your mother a heavy face and refuse to be comforted? Be careful or you may displease the dead. Your duty is to comfort your wives and children and take them back to your fatherland after seven years. But if you allow sorrow to weigh you down and kill you, they will all die in exile.” “Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.”

The most important lesson that this book brings and a reason why it is essential for us is the socio-cultural clash that takes place as the colonial times arrive. We are given an opportunity to compare the things that were usual for Igbo community and the changes that immediately took place, mostly against a person's will.

It is an important topic that helps us to write about the culture, society, our background, history, and the changes that we have to endure when the new changes come. The book is a great example of how the old friendships and tradition vs change instantly become broken when the cultural pressure comes up. It is also a great novel that tells us about our faith and the rule of power.

Okonkwo is an element or a symbol of peripeteia or a dramatic reversal. We can follow Okonkwo's path from being a man of respect to becoming an outcast in his tribe (clan). The tragedy of his death (suicide) is what represents the downfall.

1. Rhoads, D. A. (1993). Culture in Chinua Achebe's Things fall apart. African Studies Review, 36(2), 61-72. 2. Caldwell, R. (2005). Things fall apart? Discourses on agency and change in organizations. Human relations, 58(1), 83-114. ( 3. Ikuenobe, P. (2006). The idea of personhood in Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart. Philosophia Africana, 9(2), 117-131. ( 4. Parmentier, M. A., & Fischer, E. (2015). Things fall apart: The dynamics of brand audience dissipation. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(5), 1228-1251. ( 5. Nnoromele, P. C. (2000). The Plight of a Hero in Achebe s" Things Fall Apart". College Literature, 27(2), 146-156. ( 6. Shiner, M., Scourfield, J., Fincham, B., & Langer, S. (2009). When things fall apart: Gender and suicide across the life-course. Social Science & Medicine, 69(5), 738-746. 7. Ten Kortenaar, N. (1991). How the centre is made to hold in Things Fall Apart. ESC: English Studies in Canada, 17(3), 319-336. ( 8. McCormick, G. H., Horton, S. B., & Harrison, L. A. (2007). Things Fall Apart: the endgame dynamics of internal wars. Third World Quarterly, 28(2), 321-367. (

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Essay On Things Fall Apart | Things Fall Apart Essay

March 6, 2023 by Raju

Things Fall Apart: Things Fall Apart is a novel that describes the lifestyle and living of Nigerians in Igbo society. Generally, we are all know and aware of some things about Nigeria, in Nigeria, there are many tribes right? The Umofia clan is a tribe in Nigeria, it is led by a famous and honored warrior who is a wealthy one among the tribe, is Okonkwo is the leader of the tribe and Umofia clan. His father is unsuccessful in leaving debts without settling them and died with shame. Contrary to his father, Okonkwo becomes a great warrior, a respectable leader, a farmer, and a rich one in the tribe. His manliness makes the path to value him first. He is a combo pack of emotions like anger, rashness, and violence, it brings destruction easily.

Things fall apart means broken into pieces. The essay Things Fall Apart describes the role of the head of the family and how to lead, in that process due to some weaknesses of Okankwo emotions like anger, violence, and rashness, his family breaks down into pieces. It leads to the disturbance in the Igbo society of the Nigerian tribe.

You can read more  Essay Writing about articles, events, people, sports, technology many more. You can find short essays, in 800 words, 450 words, and 1024 words.

Essay On Things Fall Apart

We have to know clearly what is things fall apart says, explore, and give knowledge about the concept in the above paragraphs. Let’s dig into the topic more clearly of how the family of Okonkwo falls apart and how it suits the title.

The Okonkwo at the time of maintaining peace and harmony with the villagers has beaten severely his youngest wife without thinking due to his temperamental nature. Her name is Ojigua the reason not braided her before dinner time.

He thought she was acting with negligence, It made him accuse her on that point. He has broken the harmony and piece at once. He offered some sacrifices himself sincerely. It makes the community shocked. They were all in the dilemma of his actions. The community is shocked and not rectifies that Okonkwo’s actions. It is a blunder mistake of Okonkwo.

Okonkwo’s elder son was severely oppressed by his father’s powers. The elder son called Nwoye reflects his grandfather who died with shame. He is always beaten by his father. After the arrival of a young talented boy next to his village came for Nwoye.

He did a lot of things for Nwoye which were helpful to him not beaten by his father. The young talented boy is called “Ikemefuna”. He was brutally murdered. He was congratulated by the Okankwo for advising his son with good suggestions that how to act like a mature one. After the assassination of the “Ikemefuna”. He becomes soft and like the old one.

Essay On Things Fall Apart

He turns against Okankwo couldn’t bear the actions of the Okankwo. Ogbuefi Ezeudu is more explanatory. The tragedy in the case of ogbuefi ezeudu is dead and at the funeral by accidentally Ogbuefi ezeudu’s 16 years old son died because of a gunshot of Okonkwo. According to traditions of the clan, a holy goddess revolves around the clan filled with sin by Okankwo. He is getting rid of his clan, for up to 7 years.

He has taken his family along with him to his mother’s town “Mbanta”. He is working as a farmer over there and doing hard work for their family. The valuables of okankwo are burnt by the villagers to get rid of the sin made by him at that place. He is not that much of enthusiastic to work on the farm as in the beginning. He has worked tirelessly for the desire of becoming a clan leader. This other Things Fall Apart in his life.

Revealing the Nwoye, and what he is aiming for by the father’s oppression. He wants to be independent of the vengeance for his father’s actions. The jealousy of his father’s events made the Nwoye get involved in a trap. He left him to the whites and the church is another great fall in his life.

After the completion of exile, he returned to Umofia. He observed drastic changes in the clan led by white men. They build the church and it becomes stronger. The traditions, systems, and governments have been changed. Their actions were cruel and harsh. He killed a person related to the church who has been a messenger to the church. The clan didn’t respond. The people of the clan no more intervene in the war. It was understood by the Okankwo. It is the greatest shock to okankwo.

What he was aimed for? in the past becoming a clan leader goes into ashes. The strict and masculine actions of okankwo are of no use against white men. He hanged himself because his clan changed and no more missionaries. Too much manliness is very dangerous to a person. In this case of Okankwo also did the same thing. This is the story about Things Fall Apart.

FAQs On Essay On Things Fall Apart

Question 1. What is the main message of Things Fall Apart?

Answer: The main message of Things Fall Apart is the bond and drastic tragedy broke down pieces of the Okankwo family.

Question 2. What is a short summary of Things Fall Apart?

Answer: Summary of Things Fall Apart is Okankwo Nigerian tribe Umofia clan, the respectable warrior. He strictly implies contrary to his father by serving his hard work to the clan to become the leader of the clan. He was unsuccessful on that matter. He did 3 blunders mistakes that led him to break down his family into pieces.

Question 3. What led to Okonkwo’s downfall essay?

Answer: His manliness.

Question 4. What is important about Things Fall Apart?

Answer: Igbo society customs and traditions.

Question 5. What is the conclusion of Things Fall Apart?

Answer: A hero who tragically broke down his family into pieces. Due to his manliness, he lost everything.

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It is said that the Africa culture stands out more than any other culture In the World. With a rich and diverse culture African culture is known to change from county to county, many cultures along with traditions are found in Africa which makes Africa diverse, unique and mesmerizing in many ways to the world. Africa culture is all about the ethnic group’s family traditions, the literature, art and music shows the religion along with the social paths of their culture. (Nafisa Baxamusa, 2011)…

Things fall apart essay

In Things Fall Apart there are many cultural collisions created by the introduction of Western ideas into Ibo culture. One example of a cultural collision caused by the introduction of Western ideas into Ibo culture is when Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye converts to Christianity. This causes a cultural collision between Okonkwo and Nwoye because Nwoye wants to become a Christian, but Okonkwo doesn’t like the white men or Christianity. This cultural collision is caused by the white men bringing in western ideas to Ibo culture. This collision is very important to the book because it leads to the destruction of Okonkwo and fuels his anger. This collision shapes the meaning of the novel as a whole by symbolizing many things and relating back to many important quotes in the book that help develop the plot.…

Things Fall Apart Comparative Essay

The two characters that are quite comparable are, and will be broken down in this essay, are Paul from Hotel Rwanda, and Okonkwo from Things Fall Apart. These two men have many similarities and many differences. Both men were the head of a family, and took that position very seriously. They were not to fail at this. Okonkwo took a more aggressive approach in that he was to be respected by his family and if he wasn't he would force that upon them. He wasn't one to be kind and loving, but tough and strong like a rock, for his family. During the conflicts in the book Okonkwo only got harder and more stern during the tough times. Paul took the approach quite differently, he was very loving and kind to his family and very inclusive. His role was…

Igbo Culture Essay

Igbo culture is a culture that is hard for the men and women of the American culture to understand. It is one those cultures were people know what the culture is but they still think it is from the mid 1900’s and before. One can see the how extremely different women and men are treated. In the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe it is very clear about how men and women are treated very differently in their roles in society. This book also gives people a look into how children are treated within this culture. There is a huge difference even at a young age between how society see women and men.…

Things Fall Apart Extended Response

On the other hand Okonkwo is a very successful man. He saw how unsuccessful his father was and strived to be different and better than him. He did this by getting two titles, being successful with yams, having 5 human heads, and having 3 wives. All those traits and things succeeded by Okonkwo were what made him successful and manly in the Igbo culture.…

Rel/133 Religious Tradition Paper

Igdo people worship the high God Chukwu and Chineke. Igbos believe that each person has a unique spirit and they can control their own fate. No mention of any kind texts they use for instruction, but they do use masks for use in dances and ceremonies. The Igdo believe that the funeral is the most important ritual. They say that they help the deceased inter the spiritual world.…

Igbo Culture

The men in the Igbo society must work in the farms in order to support his family. Some crops are meant for different types of genders. For instance men tend to the yam crops because they are the staple food for the village.”Yam, the king of crops, was a very exacting king. For three or four moons it demanded hard work and constant attention from cock-crow …” pg 23. Yams require a good deal of attention to grow successfully. They are the staple food and is such a burden that women aren't allowed to grow them.Sometimes men who fight in wars are considered more brave and may earn more titles.Since men were subject to such potential in the tribe they have to earn the most power they can in the tribe so they could support the generation. The women are not allowed to earn titles. The Igbo revolve around a government not of the greed to obtain the most power but to earn the titles given to help the village. Okonkwo is well known warrior and very proud of the titles he earned. “His fame rested on solid personal achievements."pg 3 The value of what a man can earn in the Umuofia tribe consists of hierarchy of skill and strength not of wealth and power. Okonkwo lived his life trying to do the opposite of what his father did. Okonkwo was powerful and persistent enough to build his own house and fight for the clan in order to earn titles. Unfortunately the titles earned by the Igbo were ignored during the colonization of the Europeans.…

The Role of Women in Society - Things Fall Apart Compared to Mother Was a Great Man

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, demonstrates the original and traditional cultures of African, predominantly the Igbo culture. In traditional Igbo culture, men are perceived as the dominant and most powerful sex, while women are perceived as weak lesser people. Although women seem to play an inferior role in society, there are many traditions that exemplify the value and importance of women to males in society.…

Literary Analysis of Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart the Igbo society is dominated by gender roles. Husbands beat their wives just for bringing food a few minutes late. Women are completely discriminated against. In fact, it is an insult to call a man an agbala (a woman). To men, women exist in a world in which they are "to be seen not heard, coming and going, with mounds of foofoo, pots of water, market baskets, fetching kola, being scolded and beaten before they disappear behind the huts of their compound" (Mezu 2). However, the role of women is far more essential than the male villagers believe. Achebe repeatedly refers to the masculinity or femininity of a person. Though Achebe seems to believe that men seem to dominate relationships, in fact, there are many ways in which Achebe "emphasizes female characteristics… and critiques [the] inflated sense of masculinity" (Bennett 2).…

Things Fall Apart Essay

Things Fall Apart (1958) is a fictional novel by Chinua Achebe that examines the life the Igbo tribe living in a rural village called Umuofia in Nigeria during the early 19th century. The central values of the novel revolve around status, virtues, power, and traditions that often determine the futures and present of the characters in the Achebe story. The novel shows the life of the protagonist Okonkwo and his family, village, and Igbo culture and the affects of colonisation of Umuofia on him and the people of his village by Christian missionaries. In this essay, I plan to look at colonialism in the novel before and after and the impact on Okonkwo and the village Umuofia and examine how colonization transformed their tribe’s culture, tradition, and religion. As well, I plan to compare and contrast Achebe’s novel it to Allen Issacman’s “Resistance and Collaboration in Southern and Central Africa 1850-1920” reading which shows the scramble for Africa to further illustrate the affects of colonialism in Africa from two different perspectives to better understand conflict in Africa. Therefore, my argument for this essay is when two cultures intertwine together the imposing culture that is more powerful will alter or destroy aspects of the weaker culture’s way of life with negative consequences.…

Essay Book Things Fall Apart

In the story we see many themes regarding the role of women, the Ibo belief system and values. Here women are seen not as partners to share what one has but as property and extra hands to farm. The more wife’s a man has the higher his status and respect; they have no say and should do as they are told. They work the farm with the kids and maintain the house. They have a complex belief system; they respect and honor their Gods so that they can have a good harvest and luck. They value hard work, courage and strength.…

Things Fall Apart Analytical Essay

Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart” is the story of the Igbo culture on the verge of a revolution; it shows the collision of the Igbo people’s traditional way of life and the “winds of change” that are introduced by British colonials who have recently moved to their region. Within all of the confusion and discomfort throughout the Igbo people who are unsure of how to react to these new cultural practices and beliefs, is one of the main characters, Okonknwo, whose soul possesses so much discontent with this idea of change, that he reacts in a harsh and violent manner in order to resist the conversion of culture, and to further prove that the traditional ways of the Igbo people were what has since established him as being a “real man”, and also because he is afraid of losing his supreme status within society. Okonkwo’s refusal to accept the colonial’s new way of life reflects upon the idea that internally Okonkwo is afraid of losing the power in which he had once possessed, and deals with the fact that his personal ego acts as a deterrent for the “winds of change” upon the Igbo’s cultural life throughout the novel.…

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Things Fall Apart Essays

Both friend and foil: how the characterization of obierika conveys human truths and social concerns anonymous 10th grade, things fall apart.

In his novel, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe masterfully uses his characters to convey larger human truths as well as to drive his plot. Things Fall Apart is about the colonialization of a Nigerian tribe called the Igbo, following the characters...

The portrayal of Umuofia as a contact zone Salindri Dulara Rajakaruna College

Chinua Achebe’s autoethnographic novel “Things Fall Apart “written in 1958 can be viewed as an attempt to destroy the misleading conceptions about Igbo culture that were given to the world by European writers. The way novel presents the arrival of...

Theme Of Superstition Expressed In Things Fall Apart Praket Venkatasai Akshantala 10th Grade

“What the mind doesn't understand, it worships or fears” (Alice Walker). This quote by Alice Walker, a prominent writer, delineates how ideologies and beliefs are often created with a lack of evidence - commonly referred to by the term...

Chinua Achebe's Portrayal of Pre-Colonial Africa: Anonymous

The concept of balance in Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, is an important theme throughout the book. Achebe introduces this idea with an excerpt from William Butler Yeats's poem, "The Second Coming." The notion of balance is stressed here as...

The Destructive Clash of Cultures Jennifer Chiu

In their respective works Things Fall Apart and The Joys of Motherhood, both Chinua Achebe and Buchi Emecheta depict the effects of colonialism on Igbo society.

While Achebe demonstrates the gradual process of colonial imposition, Buchi Emecheta...

The Role of Women Annie White

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart explores the struggle between old traditions within the Igbo community as well as Christianity and "the second coming" it brings forth. While on the surface, it appears the novel narrows its focus to a single...

The Comparison of One Hundred Years of Solitude with Things Fall Apart Justin J.R.K. Kirkey

By Justin J.R.K. Kirkey

An Involved Essay: The Comparison of

One Hundred Years of Solitude with Things Fall Apart

Things - and societies - fall apart. Societies are born; they grow, thrive, decline, and finally perish. Their procession through...

The Release of African Culture on the World Michael Alexander MacGill

In the novel Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe uses Okonkwo's story to elaborate a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the cultural values of African tribes. Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart as a rebuttal to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness....

Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart: Complements, or Contrasts? Audrey Fisher

When the Europeans arrived in Nigeria to harvest ivory and spread their religious ideals, many Africans were exploited and their cultures were irreversibly changed. Two novels, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua...

Portraits of Nigeria in Two Novels Timothy Sexton

The novels Things Fall Apart and The Joys of Motherhood both present Nigeria as a competitive, consumption-crazed country. Each novel, therefore, also creates a parallel between Nigeria and capitalist, Western societies--yet each one shows that...

Why Things Fall Apart Anonymous

“The white man is very clever…He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart is a prime example of African literature that demonstrates the clash between cultures and...

The Story of Okonkwo: A Fine Balance of Hope and Tragedy Joshua Nobleman

The South African Igbo tribe of Umuofia, as depicted in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” (1958) encompasses layer upon complex layer of social order. From birth to death, every aspect of Umuofian culture is defined by an intricate balance of...

Family Relationships in White Teeth, Disgrace and Things Fall Apart Anonymous

By comparing White Teeth with at least one other appropriate text, explore the presentation of family and family relationships in postcolonial literature.

The ‘metanarrative’ of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth differs from the direct linear narrative of...

Sexism In Things Fall Apart Stephen Harris

The presence of sexism, both individual and institutional, runs rampant in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. It is the most constant theme in the story, more intrinsic in the plotline than even racism, and certainly more deep-rooted. The...

The Culmination of Tragedy: Tradition and Change in Things Fall Apart Anonymous College

Tradition and change are as much at war as the people are in Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. The events that define this war are centered on and around the main character, Okonkwo, who finds himself unable to adapt to the changes taking...

Proverb Symbolism for the Clan Anonymous 12th Grade

In the novel Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe introduces the ideas of maturity/reputation, respect, and communication as Umuofian cultural values. The success of its citizens when it comes to their social standing is dependent on their abilities...

Fathers and Sons in Purple Hibiscus and Things Fall Apart Anonymous 11th Grade

Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart both emphasize the complexities of father-son relationships. The major theme of parental conflict is developed throughout the course of both texts and serves to illustrate...

The European and African Narrative Techniques used in 'Things Fall Apart' and 'Petals of Blood' Diana Grech College

The structure of the African novel is seen to be made up from two different frameworks, the external, or international, and the indigenous “mode of discourse and artistic expression.” 1 Therefore, the typical African novel contains elements in its...

Murder and Repression in Things Fall Apart Leah Kristine Smith College

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel full of individuals, within a tribe, as they deal with the frequently tragic and disappointing events of their lives. Okonkwo, the protagonist, and his son, Nwoye, are two of these individuals who must...

Misconception of the Generation Gap Anonymous College

Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart , is set in Nigeria; the novel examines the clash between traditional African culture, and western ideals by the Igbo tribe, through the protagonist, Okonkwo. Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s...

Setting in Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" Anonymous 11th Grade

Perhaps one of the most influential elements of literature, a setting may potentially dictate the plotline of a story, establishing culture, tradition, and a backstory. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart sees an African world that largely revolves...

Globalization in Things Fall Apart and Gods Without Men: A Challenge to Spirituality? Anonymous College

After conducting extensive research studying cultures around the world, theorist and social anthropologist Peter Van Der Veer remarked that "the critical elements, like those to be found in the spiritual ideas at the beginning of the 20th century,...

The Process of Colonialism: Narratives from Achebe and Boyden Anonymous 12th Grade

The process of colonialism is the ongoing eradication of old practices and the exploitation of new practices, and often entails settlement into a foreign land, the introduction of new cultural practices, and the enforcement of religious practices....

The Importance of Setting in Ethan Frome and Things Fall Apart Anonymous College

Ethan Frome and Things Fall Apart are found in two dramatically different settings, with each plot relying heavily on the setting of the novel to tell its story. The setting of a story is a broad term and can contain many layers. While each story...

all things fall apart essay

Illustration of a person holding their head next to a noose and a detached head

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

Suggested Essay Topics

Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1415

Part One Chapter 1 1. Compare and contrast Okonkwo with his father, Unoka. Give special attention to the reasons why Okonkwo disdains his father and strives to succeed.

2. Discuss the significance of the three proverbs introduced in Chapter One. Thoroughly explain each proverb and define its meaning in the context of the chapter. What is Chinua Achebe’s overall purpose in using Igbo proverbs in the novel?

Chapter 2 1. In what ways is Okonkwo a respected leader in the village? Give three examples to support your points.

2. Describe the homestead of Okonkwo, his three wives, and eight children. What does the homestead reveal about Igbo culture? Discuss three points and provide examples to support your ideas.

Chapter 3 1. The author introduces Chika and one of Nwakibie’s nine wives. He also mentions Okonkwo’s mother and sisters. Based upon this information, describe at least three various roles women play in Igbo society. Use examples to support your points.

2. Explain the Igbo concept of chi and show how this concept relates to Okonkwo’s desired success in life.

Chapter 4 1. Compare and contrast the way Okonkwo treats Osugo, his wives, and his sons. Is Okonkwo harsher to men, women, or children? Support your points with examples.

2. Discuss the symbolic meaning of the Week of Peace for the Igbo people. How does Okonkwo’s anger violate the Week of Peace?

Chapter 5 1. Okonkwo is angry because he is unable to work during the preparations for the New Yam Festival. Compare and contrast Okonkwo’s behavior during the festival with his behavior during the Week of Peace.

2. Polygamy is defined as the practice of having more than one spouse at a time. The work and play of the women and children in this chapter provide examples of a harmonious polygamous household. Describe this household in terms of the relationships between Okonkwo’s wives and children.

Chapter 6 1. Describe Okonkwo’s reaction to the wrestling match. Why do you think he reacts this way?

2. Describe the relationships among Chielo, Ekwefi, and Ezinma. How do you know that Chielo is really no ordinary person?

Chapter 7 1. Okonkwo is inwardly pleased with his son Nwoye. He attributes Nwoye’s development to Ikemefuna. Why does Okonkwo want Nwoye to be a prosperous man and feed the ancestors with regular sacrifices?

2. Okonkwo loves Ikemefuna, and the boy calls him father. Yet, Okonkwo kills his adopted son in cold blood. Why does Okonkwo kill Ikemefuna? Ezeudu is an elder and a leader in the community. Why didn’t Okonkwo heed Ezeudu’s advice? Is Okonkwo making up his own rules, regulations, and customs? Prove your points.

Chapter 8 1. Compare and contrast Okonkwo and his friend Obierika. Which one of the men is more balanced? Prove your position with a good example.

2. Discuss the role of women in founding and maintaining a family in Igbo society. Explain the custom of the bride-price.

Chapter 9 1. The concept of ogbanje is foreign to Western readers. Explain the concept, and show how Ekwefi’s sorrow contributes to her love for Ezinma.

2. Okonkwo shows a softer, more loving side in his relationship with Ezinma. Provide two examples from this chapter illustrating Okonkwo’s care and concern.

Chapter 10 1. Explain the judicial function of the egwugwu and the relationship of the egwugwu to the living. Note the relationship of the egwugwu to Igbo women.

2. How do you know that Okonkwo is one of the egwugwu ? What qualifications does Okonkwo have to enter the secret society? Support your points with examples.

Chapter 11 1. Explain how the story of Tortoise and the birds fits in with some of the other stories Achebe has told about animals throughout the novel. Explain the purpose of these stories.

2. Explain the Oracle and Chielo’s relationship with her god. Explain why all the characters, Okonkwo, Ekwefi, Ezinma, and Chielo, were powerless to alter the events of this dark night.

Chapter 12 1. Describe the role of women in Igbo society based on the information you have gathered in this chapter. Discuss the role of women in the family, women in religion, and women in politics.

2. Explain how Achebe complicates the character of Okonkwo. Compare Okonkwo on the dark night he waited for Ezinma at the cave of Agbala with Okonkwo on the day he accompanied his adopted son, Ikemefuna, through the forest.

Chapter 13 1. Explain why Ezeudu is such an important and well-respected man in Umuofia. Discuss his family, his finances, his political power, and his role in the community. Explain how Ezeudu interpreted the decrees of the Earth goddess in terms of Okonkwo’s responsibility to his adopted son, Ikemefuna.

2. Obierika is a thoughtful, well-balanced Igbo. Explain how Obierika can question the justice of the Earth goddess, support Okonkwo by storing his yams, and raze his friend’s homestead at the same time.

Part Two Chapter 14 1. Uchendu attempts to convince Okonkwo that he is not the greatest sufferer in the world. Provide three examples Uchendu uses to make his point.

2. Give a detailed analysis of the saying “Mother is Supreme,” as it relates to Okonkwo. (p. 94) Use three examples to support your points.

Chapter 15 1. Give a detailed example explaining how Obierika is a good and loyal friend to Okonkwo.

2. Why does Uchendu tell the story of Mother Kite? Give three reasons to support your points.

Chapter 16 1. An efulefu is a man who sells his machete and wears only his sheath into battle. Is the efulefu a good representation of the Igbo men and women who were first attracted to Christianity? Provide at least three examples to support your point.

2. Explain how Christianity exacerbates the relationship between Nwoye and Okonkwo.

Chapter 17 1. Explain why Nwoye’s interest in Christianity may result in the annihilation of Okonkwo and his ancestors. Provide two quotes to support your points.

2. As he stares into the fire, Okonkwo ponders Nwoye’s behavior. He wonders how a man like himself could father a weak and useless son like Nwoye. What is Okonkwo’s analysis of the situation?

Chapter 18 1. Describe the osu and explain why the young church is upset about allowing the osu to join the congregation.

2. Some members of the traditional Igbo community want to persecute the Christians; others take a more moderate stand. Explain the rationale behind the two different reactions to the Christians.

Chapter 19 1. What does the elder mean when he says the young people do not know how to speak with one voice? Explain why the elders are fearful for the younger generation.

2. Has Okonkwo learned the supremacy of a mother’s love during his exile in Mbanta? Provide three examples to support your point.

Part Three Chapter 20 1. Identify the role and function of the court messengers and explain the native court system. Use the land dispute between Aneto and Oduche to illustrate how the native court system worked.

2. At the end of this chapter, Obierika explains that the white man “. . . has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” (p. 125) Explain the meaning of Obierika’s words and provide three examples to support your point.

Chapter 21 1. Okonkwo plans to return to Umuofia with a flourish. Discuss in detail three reasons why his return is not as exciting as he planned.

2. Explain one basic way in which the Igbo traditional religion is similar to Christianity. Explain another fundamental way in which the Igbo traditional religion is different from Christianity.

Chapter 22 1. Compare and contrast Mr. Brown with Reverend Smith; compare and contrast Reverend Smith with Enoch.

2. Describe Enoch’s crime and explain why it is such a serious offense.

Chapter 23 1. Describe Okonkwo’s reaction to the summons from the District Commissioner and his reaction to his imprisonment.

2. Compare and contrast the way the District Commissioner and the court messengers treat the Igbo leaders.

Chapter 24 1. Give three basic reasons why Okonkwo kills the court messenger. Use examples to support your points.

2. Give three basic reasons why the people of Umuofia do not rise up and support Okonkwo by capturing the other four messengers. Use examples to support your points.

Chapter 25 1. Is Okonkwo a tragic hero, or is he a fool? Is Okonkwo selfish? How would you describe Okonkwo at the end of the novel? Use three examples to support your point.

2. What does the title of the District Commissioner’s book tell you about his attitude toward the Igbo people? How would a successful Igbo living in Umuofia at the time of Okonkwo’s death title the commissioner’s book? How would an osu or an anguished mother of twins title the work? How would you title the commissioner’s book?

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Themes and Symbolism in Things Fall Apart: Symbols & Examples of Imagery

Introduction, symbolism in things fall apart: analysis of the main themes.

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Symbolism in Things Fall Apart is one of the most discussed topics regarding the novel. If you want to learn more about themes and symbols in Things Fall Apart, you’re in the right place. Read the example below to find out more about the topic and get some inspiration for your own essay.

The novel Things Fall Apart takes a central role in the changing system of contemporary literature in Africa. The author refutes a widespread stereotype claiming that before colonization, Africa did not have a culture. It represents political and social background in a detailed realistic method. The foundations of African oral tradition, which include proverbs, tales, and symbols are frequently used in this novel. The essay shall provide the analysis of symbolism in Things Fall Apart .

It is an exhilarating novel that uses vast literature styles, such as symbolism and motifs, to illustrate the principles of African cultural erosion as a result of embracing western culture. By the use of symbols, the author shows how the African culture was shattered by the European style of life when Christianity was adopted in the African society. In this book, numerous symbols are used, as discussed below.

Yam is a crop that is commonly grown by men. Raising of this crop requires intensive labor, and the work ethics of a man can be measured by the portion of the field and harvest obtained. In the African setup, the sole objective of growing yams is to acquire wealth and feed the family.

They symbolize a man’s ability to provide. In this novel, a man who had bulk yams was portrayed as not a failure like Unoka-he had a large barn full of yams (Chinua, 1958, p. 4). Nwakibie refuses to give the young men yams citing that they would dump them on earth rather than taking care of them as a man would do for his family to flourish. Yams are very precious and would only belong to hardworking individuals.

The central positioning of the yam highlights the defining traits of the tribe. The symbolic meaning is illustrated by its use as a source of satisfaction. Due to the intensive efforts needed in cultivating it, bulk harvest represents yearly achievement gained from nature. A yam’s image is brought out as a necessity of the culture.

According to Okonkwo, most of the folktales in the novel featuring small animals symbolize women’s behavior, for example, the Ekwefl’s tale that talks about the birds and the tortoise who were invited for a feast in the sky. This blocked out the tortoise since he had no wings to fly, and the birds were aware of his ungratefulness and cunning behavior, thus could not help him out.

The tortoise was starving and had to sweet talk the birds to nurture his hunger. In their journey, the tortoise claims of a custom that demands them to take new names though the idea was to acquire the most respectable position. Since the women were all inferior, they gave in, and the cunning tortoise ended up feasting on the best food leaving leftovers for the birds. Though the animal imagery in Things Fall Apart , the author depicts the indecisive character of women and also provides useful morals in society.

Okonkwo is compared to fire by other characters and the narrator; he is branded “Roaming Flame in the town” (Chinua, 1958, p. 122). According to him, fire is a symbol of strength. While seated in his hut after a quarrel with his son Nwoye, Okonkwo stared on a log fire and felt a strong feeling to rise, take up a machete and clear the Christians who Nwoye was associating with. Whenever Okonkwo would gaze at flame, a wild feeling of strength would fill his body.

Mother of the Spirits

The Mother of the spirits can be viewed as personification by the clan of Umofia and the Mother of Egwugwu. At this juncture, the style of life of Umuofia is deeply disregarded, and the damage committed is irreparable. The Mother of spirits mourns her son’s death loudly after the unmasking night.

A comparison between the clan and Mother of spirits is drawn, “…it seemed as if the very soul of the clan wept for the great evil that was coming its own death” (Chinua, 1958, p. 145). It is imperative that the Mother of spirits does not revenge her son’s death but rather mourns and weeps. People of Umuofia would not avenge for crimes committed against them.

When analyzing Things Fall Apart symbols, Okonkwo should be mentioned as well. He symbolizes masculinity, a character deeply opposed to the Christian belief of love. The spirit of African people is represented collectively by his personality. Just like the Igbos, he is a very independent and strong person. Weinstock and Ramadan (1978) pointed out the following regarding Okonkwo:

Okonkwo is consistently associated with masculinity, and he virtually always mistrusts, opposes, and attacks anything feminine or linked with femininity. Christianity embodies and stresses the qualities Okonkwo considers to be womanish, such as love affection, and mercy, and he characteristically valuates the missionaries as a ‘lot of effeminate men clucking like old hens (p.128).

The story’s summary evidences Okonkwo fighting courageously against ideologies opposing what he valued, and his downfall is the result of his opposition to colonization.Okonkwo’s death symbolizes the death of African culture. Achebe decided to illustrate the hands of Africans’ giving in to Christianity to take charge by the act of Okonkwo committing suicide rather than being killed and subsequently wiping out the culture of Africa. It is a conspiracy to have written a whole book about the negativity of colonization that the last statement in his piece of writing could belong to the Britain District commissioner.

He remarks the suicide act by saying it was possible to dedicate Okonkwo a paragraph in his book. This fact slightly contradicted the theme meant by Achebe since portraying Africans as primitive differed from what Achebe wanted to demonstrate. By using the symbol of Okonkwo’s death through suicide, Achebe points out that Africans should also be blamed for letting in foreign ideologies to develop in their land.

Nwoye’s Personality

Nwoye’s personality was a symbol of Christianity. His father always fought against feminine behavior. His conversion to Christianity was to strengthen the symbol created by Achebe. Okonkwo’s family was his joy and pride, while Nwoye’s conversion to Christianity was the last pain he would endure. Due to his son’s rejection of his lifestyle, the only option left was to cease living.

Nweoye’s Adoption of a New Name

His decision to take up a new name, Isaac, with the importance it carried, confirms his loyalty to Christianity religion. Though the exact name that he picks implies significance beyond the immediate sense of personal salvation, it brings out memories of the Biblical story of Abraham, where an animal was substituted for his son, Isaac. The adoption of this name by Nwoye portrays the complete meaning of his conversion, which was the critical sign of liberation from the limitation of the family creation.

Weather takes up a crucial role in the lives of Nigerians, especially the Igbos. The availability of rain or its unavailability illustrates that the tribe was dependent on weather for survival. Weather limits the extent to which their crops grow and the flow of the rivers, which in turn influence their water and food supply. On sunny days, the sun is utilized by the plants and in warming up things. Nevertheless, excess rain or sun is likely to cause damage (Rand, 1966).

Locust Invasion

Invasion by locusts symbolizes a grand attack with devastating destruction. Two important events are considered to establish the locust link. In the text, “…At first, a fairly small swarm came…” implying that “…they were the harbingers sent to survey the land…” (Chinua, 1958, p. 43). He pointed out the first arrival of whites and others on the way. This link of events was done deliberately.

The cognition gulf is linked up by the myth of locust through the establishment of the unknown and known. People were not aware of insects though it was the myth behind them and the danger of economic failure. The author illustrates the locusts that invaded the village using allegorical phrases that foreshadowed the coming of white men in African land. They intended to exploit all the resources of the Igbo tribe. Because Igbo consumed locust, it shows that they are not offensive.

In the same way, individuals who were simulated to Christianity overlooked negative impacts; the white people’s culture would impact their lifestyle. The language used by Achebe in describing the locust invasion depicts their symbolic reputation.

The use of repetitive style draws emphasis on the pervasive presence of locusts and a hint in the manner in which the white settlers would occupy Igbos’ land by surprise. It is noted that the insects were too heavy, and that was the reason they broke the branches of a tree. This was a symbol of how the traditions and culture of the Igbo would fracture on the attack by colonialism as well as white settlement (Oyekan, 1993).

What Does Okonkwo Death Symbolize?

The death of Okonkwo is a heroic death that is analogous to a warrior who is attached to his people. This symbolizes the catastrophic demise that great people face. This is because committing suicide is regarded abomination contrary to the earth and thus should not be buried by clansmen.

But in the right of African style, Okonokwo’s death could not be considered as a heroic death; rather, it can only be seen as a shameful death. Unable to deal with his failure, he acts in the way that leads to his death, and he is the one who should be blamed for this.The irritating final words Obierika cast to the District Commissioner hold certain ambiguity within Igbos point of view, in memory of heroism and shameful act of killing himself (Okonkwo). From the novel, he was portrayed as the greatest man in Umuofia and was forced to commit suicide and buried in a disrespectful manner (David, 1998).

Things Fall Apart symbolism essay shows that this is a thrilling novel that uses a symbolic literature style to demonstrate the credo of Africa’s cultural erosion by embracing the western culture. Most of the Africans were not ready to give in to the white man’s way of life, and as such, Okonkwo would rather cease living than adopt the white man’s way of life. Colonization plays a more prominent role in society, and the culture takes up a central role. Symbolic events and characters are used to help the reader have a deeper understanding of society.

Chinua, A. (1958). Things Fall Apart. New York: Heinemann Education Books.

David, K. (1998). The African Novel and the Modernist Tradition. New York: Peter Lanng publishers.

Oyekan, O. (1993). A History of Twentieth-century African Literatures. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska.

Rand, B. (1966). Contributions in Afro- American studies. Greenwood: Greenwood press.

Weinstock, D., & Ramadan, C. (1978). Critical Perspectives on Chinua Achebe. Washington D.C: Three Continents Press.

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Things Fall Apart Tragic Hero essay

A classical tragedy is meant to evoke emotions on the reader and make them sympathize for the tragic hero and recognize their humanity. Tragedies are characterized by the tragic hero overcoming obstacles only to inevitably reach their downfall. The hero’s fatal or tragic flaw is accountable for the hero’s demise. The hero can be viewed as a man who is a leader but who is also weak when it comes down to difficult situations. In Chinua Achebe’s Novel, Things Fall Apart, the author uses hamartia, peripeteia, and a tragic downfall to emphasize Okonkwo’s role as a classical tragic hero.

Severe insecurity like this can lead a person to do things they would not usually do. This includes beating his wife during the Week of Peace. Just like in other tragedies, Okonkwo sets himself up for failure from the start. He may have many titles of the village and be respected in his community but because of this he gains excessive amounts of pride and pride can be extremely fatal. His pride can also be considered as another branch of his fatal flaw which means it will ultimately lead to his downfall. This parallels the story of Oedipus Rex as he proceeds to fulfill his fate of killing his father and becoming king by marrying his father. Okonkwo did not have a prophecy in the start of the book but both Okonkwo and Oedipus possess the same fatal flaw of fear and pride. Oedipus has a fear of killing his father and marrying his mother while Okonkwo has a fear of becoming like his father. Both of them have the excessive pride in themselves due to their success which makes them blind to what they have done and what they have become. Okonkwo is blind to the fact that he is stuck in his ways which means that he will never change, and this parallels his father’s actions.

Another important characteristic of a tragic hero is the reversal of fortune, also known as peripeteia. This is when everything that the tragic hero has worked for is lost and the audience often pities them. In Things Fall Apart, the reversal of fortune comes when Okonkwo kills his clansmen’s son. In the village of Umuofia “it [is] a crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman, and a man who committed it must flee from the land” (Achebe 124). Okonkwo has gained many titles up to this point but after killing Ezeudu’s son, he loses it all. He is banished and forced to live in his mother’s house in other village for seven years. Although this can be viewed as his tragic downfall, it is merely a stepping stone on the road to downfall. This reversal of fortune forces Okonkwo to realize how much he had in his “old life”. Before killing his clansman, he did not realize that he was truly blessed to have the life he did because of his upbringing.

Okonkwo blames his chi for what has happened to him when he thinks that “clearly his personal God or chi was not made for great things” (Achebe 131). This could be true, but it could also be a test from his personal. It has been said that God puts his people through many trials to make them stronger and to test them. If this is a test, Okonkwo is failing. He is despaired and has no love for work that he previously had. Due to his laziness he has reverted to the ways of his father Unoka. Just like his father he is not motivated to work on his crops. This means that despite all his efforts to combat becoming like his father, he has indeed become like Unoka. Again, this reversal of fortune parallels the peripeteia of Oedipus Rex. In Oedipus Rex he is exiled from Thebes after discovering that he has fulfilled his prophecy. Just like Oedipus, Okonkwo is also exiled from his home.

The downfall of the tragic hero is the culmination of all of the events in the story come together. It is meant to evoke pity or fear in the audience. The hero’s downfall is his own fault because of his own free choice, but his misfortune is not wholly deserved. The downfall is seen as a waste of human potential and is due to excessive pride. Coming back into the village of Umuofia, Okonkwo believes that he will “return with a flourish and regain the seven years wasted” (Achebe 171). This shows that his motivation has come back from when it was lost during his exile. He believes that his village will let him pick up where he left off, but he is gravely mistaken. Once he returns he realizes that the Christians have begun to change the traditions of his home and he does not know how to restart in a place he does not know the framing of. He questions his people saying “What is it that has happened to our people? Why have they lost the power to fight?” (Achebe 175).

Instead of learning the new ways of the village alongside his clansmen, Okonkwo loses hope for his life. His inability to adapt to colonization will lead to his downfall. Okonkwo is naïve in thinking that he could pick up where he left off or even repair his reputation. Once he loses hope he takes his own life. This marks the official downfall of Okonkwo as a tragic hero. The death of the tragic hero is usually not a pure or complete loss because it results in catharsis which is an emotional cleansing. In this case it is not pure because in Umuofia “it is an abomination for a man to take his own life. It is an offence against the Earth, and a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen” (Achebe 207). After everything Okonkwo has done to have an outstanding reputation, he has ruined all of it by taking his life. Even his banishment did not truly tarnish his name but because suicide is an abomination in Umuofia his clansmen will not remember him fondly. Just as the village does not remember Unoka fondly, Okonkwo has followed in his father’s footsteps once again without realizing that he is making himself out to be his father’s son. The downfall of Okonkwo parallels the downfall of Oedipus Rex in the fact that they both are looked down upon and shamed in the end.

In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo makes a respectable name for himself and is motivated by his lazy father. His journey throughout the novel is similar to that of a tragic hero and therefore many of the elements also apply. Okonkwo possess a hamartia, peripeteia, and a downfall that taints his reputation. Things Fall Apart means that something that seems like it is believed to last forever, come to an end. This is a common theme in classic tragedies and more importantly in Things Fall Apart and in Oedipus Rex. The similarities in the two of these prove that Things Fall Apart is truly a classic tragedy.   

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all things fall apart essay

Chinua Achebe

Critical Essays Major Themes in Things Fall Apart


For many writers, the theme of a novel is the driving force of the book during its creation. Even if the author doesn't consciously identify an intended theme, the creative process is directed by at least one controlling idea — a concept or principle or belief or purpose significant to the author. The theme — often several themes — guides the author by controlling where the story goes, what the characters do, what mood is portrayed, what style evolves, and what emotional effects the story will create in the reader.

Igbo Society Complexity

From Achebe's own statements, we know that one of his themes is the complexity of Igbo society before the arrival of the Europeans. To support this theme, he includes detailed descriptions of the justice codes and the trial process, the social and family rituals, the marriage customs, food production and preparation processes, the process of shared leadership for the community, religious beliefs and practices, and the opportunities for virtually every man to climb the clan's ladder of success through his own efforts. The book may have been written more simply as a study of Okonkwo's deterioration in character in an increasingly unsympathetic and incompatible environment, but consider what would have been lost had Achebe not emphasized the theme of the complex and dynamic qualities of the Igbo in Umuofia.

Clash of Cultures

Against Achebe's theme of Igbo cultural complexity is his theme of the clash of cultures. This collision of cultures occurs at the individual and societal levels, and the cultural misunderstanding cuts both ways: Just as the uncompromising Reverend Smith views Africans as "heathens," the Igbo initially criticize the Christians and the missionaries as "foolish." For Achebe, the Africans' misperceptions of themselves and of Europeans need realignment as much as do the misperceptions of Africans by the West. Writing as an African who had been "Europeanized," Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart as "an act of atonement with [his] past, the ritual return and homage of a prodigal son." By his own act, he encourages other Africans, especially ones with Western educations, to realize that they may misperceive their native culture.

Related to the theme of cultural clash is the issue of how much the flexibility or the rigidity of the characters (and by implication, of the British and Igbo) contribute to their destiny. Because of Okonkwo's inflexible nature, he seems destined for self-destruction, even before the arrival of the European colonizers. The arrival of a new culture only hastens Okonkwo's tragic fate.

Two other characters contrast with Okonkwo in this regard: Mr. Brown, the first missionary, and Obierika, Okonkwo's good friend. Whereas Okonkwo is an unyielding man of action, the other two are more open and adaptable men of thought. Mr. Brown wins converts by first respecting the traditions and beliefs of the Igbo and subsequently allowing some accommodation in the conversion process. Like Brown, Obierika is also a reasonable and thinking person. He does not advocate the use of force to counter the colonizers and the opposition. Rather, he has an open mind about changing values and foreign culture: "Who knows what may happen tomorrow?" he comments about the arrival of foreigners. Obierika's receptive and adaptable nature may be more representative of the spirit of Umuofia than Okonkwo's unquestioning rigidity.

For example, consider Umuofia's initial lack of resistance to the establishment of a new religion in its midst. With all its deep roots in tribal heritage, the community hardly takes a stand against the intruders — against new laws as well as new religion. What accounts for this lack of community opposition? Was Igbo society more receptive and adaptable than it appeared to be? The lack of strong initial resistance may also come from the fact that the Igbo society does not foster strong central leadership. This quality encourages individual initiative toward recognition and achievement but also limits timely decision-making and the authority-backed actions needed on short notice to maintain its integrity and welfare. Whatever the reason — perhaps a combination of these reasons — the British culture and its code of behavior, ambitious for its goals of native "enlightenment" as well as of British self-enrichment, begin to encroach upon the existing Igbo culture and its corresponding code of behavior.

A factor that hastens the decline of the traditional Igbo society is their custom of marginalizing some of their people — allowing the existence of an outcast group and keeping women subservient in their household and community involvement, treating them as property, and accepting physical abuse of them somewhat lightly. When representatives of a foreign culture (beginning with Christian missionaries) enter Igbo territory and accept these marginalized people — including the twins — at their full human value, the Igbo's traditional shared leadership finds itself unable to control its whole population. The lack of a clear, sustaining center of authority in Igbo society may be the quality that decided Achebe to draw his title from the Yeats poem, "The Second Coming." The key phrase of the poems reads, "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold."

Underlying the aforementioned cultural themes is a theme of fate , or destiny. This theme is also played at the individual and societal levels. In the story, readers are frequently reminded about this theme in references to chi , the individual's personal god as well as his ultimate capability and destiny. Okonkwo, at his best, feels that his chi supports his ambition: "When a man says yes, his chi says yes also" (Chapter 4). At his worst, Okonkwo feels that his chi has let him down: His chi "was not made for great things. A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. . . . Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation" (Chapter 14).

At the societal level, the Igbos' lack of a unifying self-image and centralized leadership as well as their weakness in the treatment of some of their own people — both previously discussed — suggest the inevitable fate of becoming victim to colonization by a power eager to exploit its resources.

In addition to the three themes discussed in this essay, the thoughtful reader will probably be able to identify other themes in the novel: for example, the universality of human motives and emotions across cultures and time, and the need for balance between individual needs and community needs.

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10 Smart Topics for Your Things Fall Apart Analysis

Sometimes you read a book that—whether you love it or hate it—is unlike any other you’ve read before. Things Fall Apart is one of those types of books.

Written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe , Things Fall Apart shows readers a view of Africa that’s different from the white-authored colonial-type stories like Heart of Darkness .

Instead of viewing Africans as exotic or viewing Africa as a continent to be explored and conquered, this book makes the characters and the settings feel real and familiar.

But it’s precisely because this book is so different that it’s difficult to choose a topic for your Things Fall Apart analysis.

But don’t worry—there are plenty of great topics that can come out of the literature. The following are just a few. You can use them for your analysis or as inspiration to come up with your own topic.

Write About Story Structure for Your Things Fall Apart Analysis

Topic #1: compare and contrast the standard story structure with that of things fall apart.

Besides the portrayal of the characters and the settings, what makes Things Fall Apart so unique is its structure.

It’s a narrative view of the plight of Okonkwo (the protagonist). There’s no goal in mind, and the story doesn’t follow the structure we all learn early on in school—exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, moment of final suspense, and resolution.

Instead, it’s much looser in its structure, which makes it feel more sincere to many readers.

Need help with comparing and contrasting the two? Check out these Kibin blog posts for some guidance:

Explore a Theme in Your Essay

Topic #2: discuss the theme of tradition versus change in the novel.

Change is what pushes any story forward. The tension it causes by disrupting the status quo allows characters to develop and allows a fuller, more nuanced story to develop. In Things Fall Apart , the tension between tradition and change is one of the major themes.

The community of Umuofia certainly has a traditional way of doing things at the beginning and through the middle of the book. Everything from leadership to gender roles, and spirituality to punishment is approached from a traditional viewpoint.

But change is imminent.

In your Things Fall Apart analysis, you can discuss how changes—such as Okonkwo’s exile, the introduction of the missionaries, and the change in leadership of the missionaries—serve to disrupt Umuofia’s traditions.

Topic #3: Describe how the theme of masculinity presents in different ways throughout the book

There are many references to masculinity throughout Things Fall Apart . Okonkwo knows that the clan did not view his father as masculine and sets out to be the exact opposite of him.

The clan views strength as a masculine quality, but Okonkwo takes it a step further—he views aggression as strength and, thus, as a masculine quality. He also sees the first converts to Christianity as unmasculine.

Topic #4: Explain how the colonial and African cultures within Things Fall Apart clash

As explained above, the missionaries are a main source of change in this book. This topic delves into the cultural differences between the missionaries (and the colonial West in general) and the Igbo culture represented in the story.

The laws—and punishments for breaking laws—are different. Their language is different. Their views of each other are different. In your essay, analyze these differences , explaining how they lead to friction.

Look for Symbols

things fall apart analysis

Topic #6: Describe how fire serves as a symbol for Okonkwo’s emotions

Fire plays a major role in Things Fall Apart . It is closely tied to Okonkwo’s emotional state. Just as fire burns intensely, so too does Okonkwo’s anger. It spreads and becomes uncontrollable at times.

And just as fire consumes almost everything in its path, Okonkwo’s anger consumes him and eventually leads to his death.

Topic #7: Explain what the locusts symbolize

In Chapter 15, we get a pretty clear indication of what the locusts symbolize—Obierika mentions a comment from the Oracle that compares the locusts to the arrival of the white men.

It’s important to note that the locusts in Things Fall Apart don’t cause the mass panic that the Biblical plague of locusts does. Instead, they’re just a part of everyday life. In fact, Umuofia residents even eat the bugs, believing the bugs won’t cause any harm.

But locusts do cause harm, much like the missionaries they represent. At first viewed by Umuofia residents as just some harmless pest, the missionaries soon take over the village and destroy the Igbo culture.

Show You Know Your Characters

things fall apart analysis

Topic #8: Explain what makes Okonkwo a tragic hero

A tragic hero is a protagonist who, despite some redeeming qualities, also has one or more major flaws that lead to the hero’s downfall—and that downfall is death in many cases.

Okonkwo possesses many of the traits of a tragic hero. He has hubris , or excessive pride. The story reverses the fate of Okonkwo, who was once well-respected in his community, then exiled and feared.

But most importantly, he possesses a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall—his fear of weakness. It’s the fear of weakness that leads him to kill Ikemefuna.

It’s that same fear that drives him to beat his wives and children, and to kill the British messenger. It’s this last action that ultimately leads to his suicide, but the fear of weakness behind the action is prevalent throughout the novel.

Topic #9: Compare and contrast Mr. Brown and Reverend James Smith

Both Mr. Brown and Reverend James Smith are missionaries and represent Western colonialism.

However, they each have different personalities and ways of approaching the Umuofia residents. Mr. Brown is kind, generous, and willing to learn about the culture and traditions of Umuofia.

Reverend Smith, on the other hand, is much harsher in his approach. He is completely intolerant of Igbo traditions and religion. He not only expects converts to have nothing to do with their old customs but also encourages them to be fanatical in their new beliefs.

Topic #10: Analyze the relationship between Nwoye, Ikemefuna, and Okonkwo

Nwoye doesn’t have the best relationship with his father. Nwoye wants to please Okonkwo, but doesn’t know how and receives many beatings for his failures. Ikemefuna comes along, and the two form a strong bond.

Ikemefuna teaches Nwoye how to be more traditionally masculine (without going overboard like Okonkwo), and it seems like Nwoye and his father have started to mend their relationship.

Okonkwo messes that all up by killing Ikemefuna. Nwoye mourns the loss of his friend and rebels against his father.

A Final Note on Your Things Fall Apart Analysis

Whether you go with one of the above topics or focus on other themes,  symbols , imagery , or characters , make sure your literary analysis hits all the right points. Need help? Use these Kibin posts to help keep your Things Fall Apart  essay on track:

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Whatever topic you choose, it’s important to make sure you have enough support for your argument . Don’t choose the topic that sounds the most complex or the smartest.

By doing that, you’re only making more work for yourself and probably ending up with a worse essay. Instead, choose a topic that you know you can write about and one that’s narrow enough .

If you need a little inspiration for how to approach your paper, take a look at these examples:

When you’ve written your essay, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. The Kibin editors are here to make sure your Things Fall Apart analysis meets all the assignment requirements and is free of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Happy writing!

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The Most Important Quotes From Things Fall Apart Dialectical Journal

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“He knew that he was a fierce fighter, but that year had been enough to break the heart of a lion,” (Achebe 22). (Personification, Characterization)

What Is The Theme Of The Kindred

Dana, traveling from a time that was so far away from her own, was ridiculed for being independent, wearing what she wanted, and having her hair short. She was a woman who didn’t fit the description of other women in that era. Butler repeatedly highlights this through the words and actions of other characters. “Not with you dressed like that!” She thought you were a man at first, just like I did—and like Daddy did,” (29) Rufus said to her inferring that as a woman in the time period they were in did not dress in pants, which according was considered men’s clothing. He later said, “You don’t talk right or dress right or act right”(30) inferring that a black woman in that era would not speak with such intellect or dare to treat a white man as Dana treated Rufus. According to The Clothes Make the Man, the Woman and the Slave, female slaves never wore just pants, even in the winter they would wear a dress and pants like material underneath. Pants were for men and men only in the 1800s; therefore, Dana doing something as simple as wearing pants made other characters uncomfortable. Along with her peculiar attire, Dana was weary of the way African Americans were treated, and she did not conceal her feelings about the matter. Refusing to call Rufus Mister or Master obviously alarmed him. “And you don't call me ‘Master’ either...You’re supposed to,”(30) Rufus told her clearly serious and confused that

Experiencing Slavery Through Octavia Butler's Kindred Essay

The only people slaves could turn to were each other. In essence, they formed a community of sorts in which each one tried to watch out for one another while maintaining their own survival at the same time. This is evident when Sarah welcomes Dana into the cookhouse to help. She gives her work, despite the fact that Dana has few skills in household chores. Also, we see camaraderie when Alice’s mother welcomes Dana into her home. “I saw her glance over at her daughter, then touch her own face and wipe away blood from the corner of her mouth. “Wasn’t going to turn you ‘way,” she said softly” (38). The welcoming of Alice’s mother stretches beyond kindness because she is putting her whole family at risk. Furthermore, she is taking in a woman who she doesn’t even know. As a result, we can concur simply that slaves did all they could to help fellow slaves.

Drawing the Color Line Essay

The black slaves resisted and tried to run away they wouldn’t give up. Even though there was laws in trying to stop the blacks from running away, they still ran away. There were laws made that if anyone were to find black slave they should do to them what they feel be appropriate. Man slaves were killed or burnt in the book there was a case were a black slave was burnt in a slow fire for 8-10 hours. In some cases both white and black slaves ran way together but the punishment wouldn’t be the same white would only extend there period of serving as slaves and the black salves were hanged or killed. Even then they could see racism how the whites that committed the same crime would get treated differently then the black slaves. The black salves couldn’t do anything besides being slaves, so thought the white people. Even the white servants were treated different, not only were they working for a set period of time, but they were treated as humans and they had rights, and would receive land and pay at the end of their term. The white people justified their own slave trade because in Africa slavery existed too. This was

African American Child

This quote displays the unjust attitude toward African American children with white fathers/mothers. Despite being a child of the master/mistress of the household the African American child would be subjugated to being a slave while his white brother would continue to live lavishly on the plantation. Therefore, to save both the white families and the African American child pain he would have to be sold to another owner so the parent would not have to watch his/her child being beaten. This separation between child and parent would also occur because in the eyes of society a white family should be picked over an African American child because white’s where seen as superior in the public eyes back then and the slave and the parent (as well as his white family) would be shunned and treated badly in public.

Summary Of Things Fall Apart Dialectical Journal

There were several instances when the characters are given a chance, or experienced humaneness from a stranger. For example, when Gabi was chosen to help Herr Furst, a German engineer, pave roads, Furst noticed the conditions Gabi faced and decided to help Gabi out even if it meant he would be punished for it. He left part of his meal for Gabi almost daily, so that Gabi would have something with nutritional value to eat. According to Gene himself, to this day, he credits his survival to this man, even though he does not know his actual name or anything about him. In another instance, when the girls were walking through the town to their factory, they would often be mocked or made fun of by the townspeople. One day, a man stood up for them, and this gave the women,

Saturday Climbing W. D. Valgardson Analysis

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

Early Childhood Slavery Book Review

There were many skeptics from both the North and South who did not believe that an escaped, uneducated slave could have written such a narrative, nor did they believe the detailed atrocities that were said to exist in the slave states. The freedoms that Douglass was fighting for were the same freedoms that the early American revolutionaries wanted for themselves. As Childs was saying about the slaves vs the law, in the Narrative, Douglass talks of the slave owners and their overseers as the law. Chapter 4 in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass makes it clear that slaves live in continual terror and in an extrajudicial system. Douglass makes an argument here against the existence of two different legal and moral systems, one for whites and another for slaves. Again, Douglass illustrates that slave owners rule by example; the horrible punishment exacted on Demby was meant to be an example to others. Slaves are scared into subservience. The control of slaves requires complete physical, as well as mental,

Negro's Complaint

The slave explains how they are forced from their homes in Africa and the effect that enslavement has on all the individual slaves as we see in lines 1 and 2; “Forc‟d from home and all its pleasures, Afric‟s coast I left forlorn;”

The Emancipation On The Mind, Soul, And Spirit

Truth described this belief as, “over beings designed by God to be as free as kings; and at the perfect stupidity of the slave, in admitting for one moment the validity of these claims.” This race found themselves subdued by the nation when they objected and this lead to many young children being raised to believe the statement to be true. Truth comments on how silly she feels now looking back, as accepting her status as a slave and failing to fight for her own free will. They were not viewed as human beings and at one time the law read, ““Whereas the teaching of slaves to read and write, has a tendency to excite dissatisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion,” This stripping of the freedom to pursue an education showed that for African Americans to truly be released from slavery they must be seen as equals. They would have to be able to be given a fair chance in the nation to pursue happiness whether that was knowledge for some, religion for others or family. Freedom was the ability to become a respected member of the community and no longer a piece of property as they were treated.

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Things Fall Apart - Literature Guide, Quiz & Vocabulary List

Things Fall Apart - Literature Guide, Quiz & Vocabulary List


Things Fall Apart Literature Guide

Literature: ‘Things Fall Apart’ Bundle III Complete – Chapters 1 to 25 (17x

Literature: ‘Things Fall Apart’ Bundle III Complete – Chapters 1 to 25 (17x

Flynn's Educational Grotto

Literature Study: ‘Things Fall Apart’ (Parts 2 and 3, Chapters 14 to 25 7x 2hr)

Literature Study (14): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 3 – Chapters 20 and 21

Literature Study (14): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 3 – Chapters 20 and 21

Literature Study (3): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 4

Literature Study (3): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 4

Literature Study (6): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 8

Literature Study (6): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 8

Literature Study (5): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapters 6 and 7

Literature Study (5): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapters 6 and 7

Literature Study (9): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapters 12 and 13

Literature Study (9): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapters 12 and 13

Literature Study (2): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 3

Literature Study (2): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 3

Literature Study (7): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapters 9 and 10

Literature Study (7): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapters 9 and 10

Things Fall Apart Chapter 5 Fill-in-the-blank Note and Summarizing Activity

Things Fall Apart Chapter 5 Fill-in-the-blank Note and Summarizing Activity

High School English and Special Education

Also included in:  Things Fall Apart Unit Plan Bundle

Literature Study (15): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 3 – Chapters 22 and 23

Literature Study (15): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 3 – Chapters 22 and 23

Literature Study (13): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 2 – Chapters 18 and 19

Literature Study (13): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 2 – Chapters 18 and 19

Literature Study (16): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 3 – Chapters 24 and 25

Literature Study (16): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 3 – Chapters 24 and 25

Literature Study (1): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapters 1 and 2

Literature Study (1): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapters 1 and 2

Literature Study (11): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 2 – Chapters 14 and 15

Literature Study (11): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 2 – Chapters 14 and 15

Literature Study (12): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 2 – Chapters 16 and 17

Literature Study (12): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 2 – Chapters 16 and 17

Literature Study (4): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 5

Literature Study (4): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 5

Literature Study (8): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 11

Literature Study (8): ‘Things Fall Apart’ Part 1 – Chapter 11

Things Fall Apart Part 2 Overview

Things Fall Apart Part 2 Overview

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Things Fall Apart Nwoye Quotes Analysis

all things fall apart essay

Show More Nwoye’s Cultural Identity “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known” –Chuck Palahiuk. Chinua Achebe kept this quote in mind when she told the story of Nwoye through her book, Things Fall Apart. Nwoye was poorly mistreated by his father, Okonkwo, because Okonkwo felt that Nwoye acted like a woman. Weak, emotional, and scared. Okonkwo also killed Nwoye’s best friend and brother, Ikemefuna. However, the Western nation’s culture collided with Nwoye’s and changed his life because he was able to worship a forgiving god ad escape his old life. The new religion told Nwoye that changing his name would help him connect with his new culture and forget his old one. Nwoye’s name became Isaac and he was soon accepted into the school in Umuru. Achebe even states in the book, “To signal his break from his old heathen ways, Nwoye changes his name to Isaac in an attempt to change his identity and Christianize himself” (Achebe Chapter 21). Nwoye was a peaceful and caring man, and that was not acceptable in Ibo culture. Nwoye joined the Christians because he wanted to feel at …show more content… Nwoye not only embodied everything Okonkwo hated, but Okonkwo was the one who killed Ikemefuna. In Things Fall Apart it is written that, “Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness. At any rate, that was how it looked to his father, and he sought to correct him by constant nagging and beating. And so Nwoye was developing into a sad-faced youth” (Achebe Chapter 2). Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, was a terrible disappointment and Okonkwo didn’t want any member of his family to be anything like that. However, Nwoye saw nothing wrong with being kindhearted and peaceful. Thus being why the idea of Christianity appealed to him. They allowed him in with open arms and taught the grace of

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an understanding that he must educate to his children and wives how to succeed through power, determination, and work ethic. Although, Okonkwo disciplines Nwoye, his eldest son, with beatings to drive him away from femininity. Even though the purpose of the beatings is to drive his son into a successful and content life, the lashes pull Nwoye away from Okonkwo and the Ibo culture. Okonkwo shows affection towards his children and wives, but the affection is distributed with harsh brutality and…

Things Fall Apart Character Analysis Essay

EA 3.2 Literary Analysis: character analysis An individual’s persona and character can have an ongoing effect to how they react to events. However, it is how they react to these particular events that can affect the overall purpose of the author’s text. In which, this all relates to Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, as Okonkwo’s personality traits lead to how he reacts to certain cultural events. These events being, the disruption of a new western culture slowly gaining dominance and control…

Okonkwo, The Most Powerful Defenseless Man

Okonkwo, the Most Powerful Defenseless Man In the novel, Things Fall Apart, the protagonist, Okonkwo, overcomes many obstacles that make it difficult for him to be respected in his culture and community. His father, Unoka, was imprudent and was not respected in the community, as he was in debt to many of his neighbors and kept asking for more when he knew he would not be able to pay it back. “When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt.”(Achebe 8). Despite these…

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Exploring Nwoye’s Response to the Cultural Collision in Things Fall Apart

Jan 4, 2023 | 0 comments

all things fall apart essay

Jan 4, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


The purpose of this essay is to analyze how Nwoye responded to the cultural clash caused by the Westerners. It will also explain how the collision of culture challenges his sense of identity and further discus on how his response shapes the meaning of the work in general.

Nwoye is the eldest son of Okonkwo. He faced a lot of criticism from his father who considered him to be lazy. “Okonkwo ruled his house hold with a heavy hand”(Achebe, 1959).His father thought the best way to straighten him was by beating and nagging constantly, this resulted to so much sadness in Nwoye’s life. Nwoye’s grew so much distant from his father because of his cruelty and his treatment towards the female members of the family (Shmoop, 2018). He could not confide in his father because of fear; Okonkwo disliked gentleness and associated it with women. Nwoye’s true identity could not show because he always lived to please his father.

Nwoye grew fond of his adopted brother Ikemefuna, “he was like an elder brother to Nwoye” (Achebe, 1959). His brother made him to be the man that his father always wanted, the distance between him and his father grew even more when he came to learn that his father also took part in killing Ikemefuna (Shmoop, 2018). He could not understand his culture including a ritual where twins were not supposed to live so they were thrown away in the forest.

The arrival of the missionaries to Omuofia caused a stir among the villagers; it contradicted their beliefs about God and worship, especially when the missionaries urged them to live their “wicked” ways. They called the missionaries ‘foolish’ and lashed out harsh words to them expressing their dissatisfaction on their presence. However, Nwoye was so much interested with the new religion and I identified himself as one of them (chapter 16) when he was asked by Obierika (Achebe, 1959). In chapter seventeen, “…Nwoye had been attracted to the new faith from the very first day”. He had a positive response to the new culture and found his personality through Christianity (Young, 2014).

It is clearly stated in chapter seventeen that though Nwoye identified himself with Christianity, he was still afraid to tell his father. These are some of the challenges he faced because of his change of culture (Cliffnotes, 2016). He father nearly killed him by chocking because of the stand he took. Once he made a decision to leave his home, he found happiness and the sadness that he lived with fade away, “He was happy to live his father”. At this point it showed that the only thing that he cared for was his happiness and wished that his father would realize how fulfilling Christianity was and leave his traditional ways and follow him (Enotes, 2018).

Nwoye’s response to the cultural collision shapes the meaning of the work in general in a way that the Igbo culture becomes irrelevant. In chapter twenty when Okonkwo was talking to Obierika, “what is that has happened to our people? Why have they lost the power to fight?” it shows how things started to fall apart for the Umuofia people because they lost the determination and their traditional ways were threatened by the arrival of the missionaries (Achebe, 1959).

Achebe, C. (1959).  Things fall apart . Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett.

Cliffnotes. (2016). Major Themes in Things Fall Apart. Retrieved from

Help, H., & Apart, T. (2018). How did Nwoye change as a person in Things Fall Apart during the course of the novel (especially in regards to converting to Christianity)? | eNotes. Retrieved from

Shmoop. (2018). Shmoop Opt In. Retrieved from

Young, L. (2014). Nwoye’s Response to Western Ideas. Retrieved from

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Things Fall Apart Essays

Things fall apart was distributed.

Things Fall Apart was distributed in 1958 and was composed by Chinua Achebe, who was conceived in Nigeria on November 16, 1930, and passed on March 21, 2013. His family was a piece of the Igbo clan, where Chinua was the fifth of six kids. Chinua Achebe experienced childhood in the Igbo town of Ogidi, Nigeria. In spite of the fact that Chinua Achebe was raised as a Christian, despite everything he stayed inquisitive about the conventional Nigerian beliefs. At […]

Things Fall Apart is Story Depicting

Things Fall Apart is story depicting how colonization changed the culture of Igbo villages in the early 19th century through the protagonist, Okonkwo. Although Okonkwos father was a pauper, Okonkwo was a respected leader of the Umuofia clan, after he defeated Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contest. To overcome his fathers bleak legacy, Okonkwo made sure he maintained the faade of a manly, respectable man. Over some years, the clan leaders make Okonkwo care for a war prisoner, until […]

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Things Fall Apart and its Themes

Themes are the fundamental and universal idea in literature works and Things Fall Apart is no exception to this rule. This novel is presented to the readers from the point of view of a man who goes by the name of Okonkwo and the way he deals with the effects of colonization. Nigeria became colonized by Britain in 1901 where the novel sets in, while we are witnesses of the changes his village goes through as the colonization of his […]

Things Fall Apart is a Catastrophe Novel

Things fall apart is a catastrophe novel composed by Chinua Achebe. Okonkwo, who is the hero of the novel and a standout amongst the most influential men in the Ibo clan regularly falls back on viciousness to make his focuses comprehended. Down in his heart, Okonkwo is certifiably not a pitiless man, however his life is commanded by his interior clash, the dread of disappointment and of shortcoming. He despised his dad, Unoka, on the grounds that he was a […]

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

In the novel things fall apart by chinua achebe. Nwoye is a character who is discouraged by his father. The main details of nwoye are, he’s lazy he doesn’t like the rules or cultural of the village his father calls him a female cause he doesn’t like to go hunting and do things on top of that he will never forgive his father because he killed his younger sibling this is what pushed him to leave the village in search […]

Things Fall Apart is Going to be

I predict that Things Fall Apart is going to be about the white men that live in Great Britain taking over the native village of Umuofia with imperialism and colonialism. Things Fall Apart is a historical fiction novel that was originally written by Chinua Achebe and was published by the First Anchor Books in 1959. The most recent edition was published by the Penguin Group in 2017. The main character’s name is Okonkwo and he is a warrior and the […]

Things Fall Apart: Okonkwo the Tragic Hero

       The protagonist in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, is Okonkwo he is a man who grew up with little to nothing in his pocket, nothing to inherit but, he made a name for himself. He was the first person to beat the fiercest wrestler in the village, “Amalinze was the great wrestler who for seven years was unbeaten, from Umofia to Mbaino.”(Pg.1) Okonkwo was very strong and helpful to his village, but he was very mean […]

Things Fall Apart Change Vs Tradition

Custom and change are as much at battle as individuals are in Chinua Achebe’s epic Things Fall Apart. The occasions that characterize this conflict are focused nearby the fundamental person, Okonkwo, who gets himself incapable to adjust to the progressions occurring in his general public. His refusal to change, appeared differently in relation to his general public’s ability to change, is both an individual and more extensive misfortune. The topic of custom versus change in Things Fall Apart is utilized […]

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

As a child, we are introduced to not only the world we live in, but in how we must live in it. We are taught how to speak, act, dress, etc… all from those that are molding us to conform to what they have also grown up learning. Culture is an essential part of our identity and where we come from. Our cultures dictate and shape our mentalities and create that roadbridge to which we walk on as we mature […]

The Novel Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe wrote the novel Things Fall Apart to show the Igbo culture and the effect of colonization on it from an Africans point of view. Throughout the novel, the themes of masculinity vs. feminism and weak vs. strong were developed with regards to a clansman named Okonkwo. Pre-colonial Okonkwo was a wealthy clansman who had many titles. After colonization, he was poor, lost all of his titles, and lost his freedom. This, in part, was due to Okonkwos internal […]

The Book Things Fall Apart

Just imagine, something or someone that annoys you the most and you were stuck with that thing or person for the rest of your life. That type of situation occurred in the book, Things Fall Apart and the poem Beat! Beat! Drums! Things Fall Apart was written by Chinua Achebe and the story sets around the life of Okonkwo, a prominent man living in the village of Umoufia. Then, all of a sudden, newcomers arrive into town that changes the […]

The Writing in Things Fall Apart

The writing in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, is different than what I normally read. I think this has to do with the proverbs that are used. Achebe uses lyrical and visual language through the use of proverbs and short stories to provide a photographic view of the Ibos culture. Yam, the king of crops, was a very exacting king. For three or four moons it demanded hard work and constant attention from the cock-crow till the chickens went […]

African Culture in “Things Fall Apart”

In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebes African culture is shown rampantly throughout the book. The book replicates his culture and also replicates history. The things that influenced his novel the most were, the European literature surrounding Africa, where he grew up and what was happening to Nigeria at time. During the time of European colonization, many pieces of literature were written about Africa. According to Things Fall Apart Further Study, Achebe was tired of seeing his culture represented as primitive, […]

Life and Relationship in the Novel Things Fall Apart

 It is incredible how a single quote can encapsulate the main idea of an entire novel. Chinua Achebe, the author, puts the reader in Okonkwo and Obierikas shoes when their culture disintegrated before their eyes, and they let it happen. The novel takes place in the village of Umuofia in Africa. There, culture is based primarily on religion and established practice. Their religion was part of the Igbo culture and was polytheistic. However, at one point, white men arrived and […]

An Understanding of the Cultural Values in the African Tribe

In the novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s story is told so the reader can get an understanding of the cultural values in the African tribe, which take place in Igbo village of Umuofia, Nigeria. Okonkwo is the main character, who symbolizes the African culture and the European involvement. The focus of the novel is Okonkwo because he is ambitious and is trying to overcome the reputation his weak father left behind. In the following questions answered below, we can see […]

Theme of Cultural Transition

Abstract The theme of cultural transition is well portrayed throughout the two books; Things Fall Apart and The Lion and The Jewel. On the other hand, the elements of change in both books defer, as in Things Fall Apart, what brings the change originates from the outside, that is, the missionaries; while Lakunle acts as the element of change from inside the community. Lakunle understands the customs, and he even grew up practicing them, but after he comes into contact […]

Response of Heart of Darkness

In the short novel “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, the story starts off by talking about the protagonist, Marlow, leading his trip to Africa. Throughout the book, the reader’s experience stories on European colonization, and Africa in general. Chinua Achebe,writer of “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”, criticizes Conrad’s novel, “Heart of Darkness” on his different view of racism towards people of Africa and Africa as a continent. Although the language that was portrayed to […]

A Man with Power

In the book Things Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe, there is a very powerful character named Okonkwo. Okonkwo was a very strong and fearless man but that all changes while a huge cultural collision was happening in his village. Europeans were pushing Christianity on the Ibo people and were trying to change their culture. Missionaries were being pushed into their community and as many could imagine Okonkwo wasnt too happy. Through Okonkwo, Achebe is trying to show how people […]

A Powerful Motivator

In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, it follows the Umuofian tribesman Okonkwo. Okonkwo was a man who thought highly of pride and was a significant man in the tribe. The tribe of Umuofia saw Okonkwo as a man with a bad temper. Okonkwo had a quick hand towards his wives and children. He was especially stern with his son, Nwoye, who seemed to be too feminine at his age. Okonkwo took pride in his large farm and many wives. […]

Okonkwo Valued Masculinity

Okonkwo was a very well known young man, due to solid personal achievements. Achievements such as throwing Amalinze the Cat, a wrestler who was known for being undefeated for 7 years. Masculinity is something very important to him. The importance of masculinity is shown towards the beginning of the book where Okonkwo insults a man by calling him a woman. This action of his shows how masculinity is valued when ranking people in Umuofia society. Karma eventually got to him […]

Okonkwos Life was Dominated

Throughout the whole story, Okonkwos life was dominated by the fear of failure and of weakness (Achebe, 13). He tried so hard to become better than his father and raise his standings in the village. Spending his whole life doing this, Okonkwo could not let change occur because change meant things would no longer be the same, and all his respect he gained in his village would go to waste. So when the white men came and started disrupting the […]

Okonkwo is Viewed

In the novel Things Fall Apart composed by Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian essayist, the fundamental character is Okonkwo, an individual who is viewed as an innovator in the African culture. He is a wrestling champion in Umuofia which is situated in Nigeria and occupied by the Igbo (The Norton Anthology of Western Literature 2391).The real objective of the writer is to speak to the principle character’s family and individual history, to examine the traditions and customs of the Igbo, and […]

Path to a Nigerian Tribe

Chinua Achebe is a well-known writer in African history, he was a Nigerian book writer, poet, and professor. Among college students, graduate students, and even adults Chinua Achebes book has become the most read book for African Literary studies. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize. Going through many struggles in his life, Chinua Achebe has stated that when suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to […]

Obierikas Strong Sense

Change is an inevitable part of life. This is exactly what Obierika and the Ibo clan must do, change, in order to survive the cultural collision of the Ibo and the colonizers in Chinua Achebes Things Fall Apart. Obierika is an example of the type of personality that has a strong sense of self and at the same time is open to new ideas. For this reason, Obierikas forward-thinking is key to how he survives the cultural collision; he respects […]

Stark Portrayal of the Beauty

In the late nineteenth century, industrialization came to be seen as the hallmark of a progressive society. As Britain spread across the globe, bringing progress and Christianity to the masses, many ancient yet still viable societies suffered under the yoke of their new masters, facing an almost certain extinction of their cultures. The Igbo of Nigeria in particular struggled to retain their identity in the face of overwhelming British odds. The richness of the Igbo belief system and a tribal […]

Child Abuse and Trauma: why i Think Childhood should be Carefree

Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul(Malone). Parents are one of the main reasons why children are being abused. Child abuse is behavior by an adult who harms a child’s physical, mental, or emotional health and development. In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe shows how Okonkwo treats his children. Okonkwo only treated his children a way because he had a fear of ending up like his father. Child Abuse […]

Essay About Things Fall Apart

Within the novel, Things Fall Apart states: Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper.

In the Igbo society, women are seen as merely tools, or the means to bore the child of a warrior of their clan. With this, men are seen as the “dominant” sex and they hold sovereignty over their families. Women are relegated to a more or less humble position, usually in fear of their husbands. Though Okonkwo’s temper with his family is never portrayed as admirable, he apparently has the right to be aggressive at home.

Achebe, a well-known poet, story writer, and novelist in addition to being a critic had been a mentor and role model to many African writers – and is often referred to as ‘father of modern African writing’ by many. However, like many other novelists who do find their success with an early book, he had found himself almost entirely defined by “Things Fall Apart.” This novel in particular was about the strength that the human society found in their communities alone, and the changes to come along with colonial stress. Within Things Fall Apart, Achebe sheds light on the way that the women are treated in Igbo Society by making it seem as though they serve very little purpose and showing that the men have dominance over the females and their families instead of allowing them peace.

In a society where masculinity defined who you are as a person, women were not treated as though they were an important part of society by many. Achebe portrays in TFA that the women of the Igbo village’s only purpose were to cook, look after their children, educate them, and finally attend to their husbands when needed. Despite the fact that these women of the Igbo village were described as being insignificant to this society, the women were really the only people who of which filled the gaps of the Igbo society and did pretty much most of the work needed to be done. Along with this fact, the women are the only ones who do all of the work within their households and families, unlike the men. For instance, they are the ones that cook, clean, take care of everyone, as well as do other everyday tasks that are easily overlooked by the men of their society.

While all of this may be true, there is still the fact that women play other very essential roles within the Igbo community. They were seen as Goddesses, and they were the only beings fit to be that very role, Along with this, women are seen as child’s educator. They educate these children by reading to them stories, teaching them to socialize with other people of the village, and overall have a good demeanor, especially to a female.

As it states within Things Fall Apart: Children sat around their mother’s cooking fire telling stories.

The children were taught good morals by their parents and in this instance the mothers, who of which had encouraged these children to expand their knowledge on having good social values and human interaction skills. The women really were regarded as inferior within this society, however, this fact did not turn her down from performing her duties especially that of being a mother and model to the following generation to come. 

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  1. Things Fall Apart: A+ Student Essay: The Role of Storytelling in Things

    A+ Student Essay: The Role of Storytelling in Things Fall Apart Within the complex oral culture of the Igbo, elaborate storytelling is a prized art form as well as a crucial social tool.

  2. Things Fall Apart: Study Guide

    Things Fall Apart is a novel by Chinua Achebe that was first published in 1958. Summary Read one-minute Sparklet summaries, the detailed chapter-by-chapter Summary & Analysis, the Full Book Summary, or the Full Book Analysis of Things Fall Apart . Sparklet Chapter Summaries Summary & Analysis Chapters 1-3 Chapters 4-6 Chapters 7 & 8 Chapters 9-11

  3. Things Fall Apart

    The novel chronicles the life of Okonkwo, the leader of an Igbo community, from the events leading up to his banishment from the community for accidentally killing a clansman, through the seven years of his exile, to his return, and it addresses a particular problem of emergent Africa—the intrusion in the 1890s of white missionaries and colonial …

  4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Essay Example

    Things Fall Apart is about a struggle between change and tradition, as the protagonist Okonkwo suffers from many cultural conflicts that lead to his ultimate downfall. Achebe wrote of Okonkwo, "His whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness."

  5. Essay Questions

    3. Achebe presents details of daily village life in Umuofia, as well as details concerning the Igbo culture. Describe the setting of the novel. 4. What is chi? Explain the importance of chi in shaping Okonkwo's destiny. 5. Obierika is a foil for Okonkwo. That is, when compared to Okonkwo, the contrast between the two characters emphasizes the ...

  6. Things Fall Apart Essay Examples

    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel full of individuals, within a tribe, as they deal with the frequently tragic and disappointing events of their lives. Okonkwo, the protagonist, and his son, Nwoye, are two of these individuals who must learn to cope... Things Fall Apart Topics:

  7. Things Fall Apart Summary English Literature Essay

    Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, depicts life among the Igbo society in Nigeria. Okonkwo is a wealthy and respected warrior of the Umuofia clan, a Nigerian tribe. He is constantly haunted by the actions of Unoka, his weak and unaccomplished father, who died in shame, leaving many village debts unsettled.

  8. Things Fall Apart Essays

    Okonkwo Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a novel about a man in West Africa. It tells about his triumphs and trial ultimately leading to his demise. It explains how the "white man" came into his country and took over. It show you how the "white man" mad things fall apart. Okonkwo was a very large and tall man.

  9. Essay On Things Fall Apart

    The essay Things Fall Apart describes the role of the head of the family and how to lead, in that process due to some weaknesses of Okankwo emotions like anger, violence, and rashness, his family breaks down into pieces. It leads to the disturbance in the Igbo society of the Nigerian tribe.

  10. Things Fall Apart Essays

    In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe the author teaches us how the Ibo and the British are both uncivilized in their own ways. The Ibo being uncivilized in their technology. While the British are uncivilized in their world view and the way they treat other people.

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    Keppo 1 Kirsti Keppo AP English Literature Ms. Sherry 11 February 2022 Things Fall Apart The year is 1958, and Chinua Achebe has just published his novel Things Fall Apart that follows pre-colonial life in the Southeastern part of Nigeria and the invasion of Europeans in the 19th century. The novel follows Okonkwo through his journey in the village of Umuofia and the ups and downs he and his ...

  12. All Things Fall Apart Essay

    Things Fall Apart Analysis American poet Henry David Thoreau once said, "Men are born to succeed, not to fail." These words perfectly describe the mindset and values of Okonkwo, the main character in Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart. To Okonkwo, in order to be a man he must always show strength and never reveal his true emotions.

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    Things Fall Apart By Justin J.R.K. Kirkey An Involved Essay: The Comparison of One Hundred Years of Solitude with Things Fall Apart Things - and societies - fall apart. Societies are born; they grow, thrive, decline, and finally perish. Their procession through... The Release of African Culture on the World Michael Alexander MacGill

  14. Things Fall Apart Essays

    Things Fall Apart is a fiction novel written by Chinua Achebe in 1965. He writes about Okonkwo a wealthy and respected warrior who sees his biological son Nwoye just like his failure of a father Unoka. He soon takes in Ikemefuna a 15-year-old boy and sees in the son who will not disappoint him.

  15. Things Fall Apart Study Guide

    Full Title: Things Fall Apart. When Written: 1957. Where Written: Nigeria. When Published: 1958. Literary Period: Post-colonialism. Genre: Novel / Tragedy. Setting: Pre-colonial Nigeria, 1890s. Climax: Okonkwo's murder of a court messenger. Antagonist: Missionaries and White Government Officials (Reverend Smith and the District Commissioner)

  16. Things Fall Apart Suggested Essay Topics

    Things Fall Apart Suggested Essay Topics - Suggested Essay Topics PDF Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1415 Part One Chapter 1 1. Compare and...

  17. Themes and Symbolism in Things Fall Apart: Symbols & Examples of

    The essay shall provide the analysis of symbolism in Things Fall Apart. It is an exhilarating novel that uses vast literature styles, such as symbolism and motifs, to illustrate the principles of African cultural erosion as a result of embracing western culture. By the use of symbols, the author shows how the African culture was shattered by ...

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    Things Fall Apart means that something that seems like it is believed to last forever, come to an end. A classical tragedy is meant to evoke emotions on the reader and make them sympathize for the tragic hero and recognize their humanity. Tragedies are characterized by the tragic hero overcoming obstacles only to inevitably reach their downfall.

  19. Major Themes in Things Fall Apart

    The key phrase of the poems reads, "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold." Underlying the aforementioned cultural themes is a theme of fate, or destiny. This theme is also played at the individual and societal levels. In the story, readers are frequently reminded about this theme in references to chi, the individual's personal god as well ...

  20. 10 Smart Topics for Your Things Fall Apart Analysis

    Topic #2: Discuss the theme of tradition versus change in the novel. Change is what pushes any story forward. The tension it causes by disrupting the status quo allows characters to develop and allows a fuller, more nuanced story to develop. In Things Fall Apart, the tension between tradition and change is one of the major themes.

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    The Most Important Quotes From Things Fall Apart Dialectical Journal. 1st Quote: "For a moment, the soreness confused me, forced me to recall that for me, the woman's attach has come only hours ago. Yet the boy was years older. Fact then: Somehow, my travels crossed time as well as distance. Another fact: The boy was the focus of my travels ...

  22. Things Fall Apart Character Analysis

    Unoka. Unoka is Okonkwo's father. Though a talented musician in life, he was also lazy and irresponsible, accumulating many debts. Unoka dies a shameful death, still in debt and without title. His death haunts Okonkwo, who vows to hate everything that his father loved, including gentleness and idleness.

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    SuperSummary. $12.50. Zip. SuperSummary's bundle with Literature Guide, 6 Quizzes & Vocabulary List for Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe delivers text-specific, assessment-based, and classroom-ready materials for close reading, analysis, comprehension assessment, and essay assignments.Review and plan more easily with summaries and analyses ...

  24. Things Fall Apart Nwoye Quotes Analysis

    Nwoye's Cultural Identity. "Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known" -Chuck Palahiuk. Chinua Achebe kept this quote in mind when she told the story of Nwoye through her book, Things Fall Apart. Nwoye was poorly mistreated by his father, Okonkwo, because Okonkwo felt that Nwoye acted like a woman.

  25. Cultural Clash And Identity In Things Fall Apart

    Why have they lost the power to fight?" it shows how things started to fall apart for the Umuofia people because they lost the determination and their traditional ways were threatened by the arrival of the missionaries (Achebe, 1959). References. Achebe, C. (1959). Things fall apart. Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett. Cliffnotes. (2016).

  26. Things Fall Apart Essays

    Explore a big database of【FREE Things Fall Apart Essay Examples】 All popular types of essays Literary Analysis, Book Review, Critical Analysis, Persuasive, Argument & Research Papers. ... Things Fall Apart was distributed in 1958 and was composed by Chinua Achebe, who was conceived in Nigeria on November 16, 1930, and passed on March 21 ...

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    Study Guide to Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - Intelligent Education 2020-02-10 A comprehensive study guide offering in-depth explanation, essay, and test prep for Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, regarded as one of literature's first counter narratives. As a classic novel written two years before Nigeria's independence, Things Fall Apart