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 .

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Things Fall Apart Analysis essay

Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Chinua Achebe that shows the conflicts in Nigeria during the nineteenth century. During this time, missionaries from Great Britain arrived in Nigeria. In this novel, the main character, Okonkwo, resists changes brought about by the British missionaries. Okonkwo’s close friend, Obierika, shares the same dislike towards the change, but isn’t as willing to fight them. Instead, Obierika, along with the tribe, is forced to accept the changes to their culture. Their attitude to change is an example of their many differences. It shows that although Okonkwo and Obierika are close friends, they contrast in personalities, family relations, and attitudes towards change.

In the novel, Okonkwo and Obierika are seen with their families. Okonkwo tended to show minimum emotion towards his family. He “ruled his household with a heavy hand” and punished them as he saw fit (22). However, Okonkwo still cared for his family and especially favored Ezinma. He went to such lengths as to follow the Oracle to the shrine to make sure Ezinma was safe. On the other hand, Obierika showed more affection towards his family than Okonkwo did. He showed pride in his son, who was a prodigious wrestler, and made sure his daughter was married to a good husband. They both cared for their family, but they have different ways to express their emotions.

As the story progresses, the British missionaries arrive in Nigeria. Immediately upon their arrival, Okonkwo and Obierika share different viewpoints. They both disliked the change occurring to the Ibo culture; however, Obierika viewed the missionaries’ culture with an open mind while Okonkwo perceived the missionaries as “insane.” Okonkwo wanted to fight off the missionaries, but Obierika said it was too late, “Our own people…have joined the hands of the stranger…They have put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart” (164). Towards the end, Okonkwo kills a white messenger and realized that Obierika was right: his people weren’t going to fight. In the end, Okonkwo’s inability to change causes him to commit suicide.

Both Okonkwo and Obierika share many differences and similarities in various aspects. They differ in personality: Okonkwo is impulsive while Obierika tends to be more reasonable. They both criticize each other and yet, are respectful, despite their different viewpoints. They also contrast in the emotion shown towards their families. Okonkwo is harsher and less affectionate than Obierika; however, they both care about their family members, even if Okonkwo rarely shows it. Finally, they show different attitudes toward change. They both dislike the change that occurred within their clan, but Okonkwo is more narrow-minded and cannot accept the change in the Ibo culture, whereas Obierika is more open-minded and views the changes, at first, in a curious way; However, he concludes that the Ibo culture had started to break and fall apart. These two friends have as many differences as they have similarities. Their differences and similarities created the balance within their friendship.  

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things fall apart analysis essay

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. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/african-studies-review/article/abs/culture-in-chinua-achebes-things-fall-apart/D123B160B650B9BE84E6E85ACF032B9A 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. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0018726705050937?journalCode=huma) 3. Ikuenobe, P. (2006). The idea of personhood in Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart. Philosophia Africana, 9(2), 117-131. (https://www.pdcnet.org/philafricana/content/philafricana_2006_0009_0002_0117_0131) 4. Parmentier, M. A., & Fischer, E. (2015). Things fall apart: The dynamics of brand audience dissipation. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(5), 1228-1251. (https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article/41/5/1228/2962093) 5. Nnoromele, P. C. (2000). The Plight of a Hero in Achebe s" Things Fall Apart". College Literature, 27(2), 146-156. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/25112519) 6. Shiner, M., Scourfield, J., Fincham, B., & Langer, S. (2009). When things fall apart: Gender and suicide across the life-course. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953609003670 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. (https://muse.jhu.edu/article/694908) 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. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01436590601153721)

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things fall apart analysis essay

Last Updated 02 Aug 2020

An Analysis of Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall apart, Okonkwo was considered a tragic hero. He used to be a great wrestler, a fierce warrior, and a successful farmer of yams in Umuofia. Shortly after Ikemefuna’s death, Okonkwo accidentally killed someone in a funeral ceremony. He and his family were sent into exile for seven years. Nevertheless, when he returned to Umuofia, he found himself unable to adapt to changing time as the white men came to live among the village. Okonkwo realized that he was no longer able to function within his changing society.

Consequently, he committed suicide by hanging himself for his final tragedy. His tragic end was led by his character flaws, a betrayal of his clansmen, and the colonization. Okonkwo was impulsive; he acted before he thought without considering the consequence. Furthermore, he isolated himself by exhibiting anger through violent, irrational behavior. He was quick to anger. During the annual week of peace before planning time, tradition permitted no one to speak a hash word to other person in the village.

However, one day during this week, Okonkwo beat his youngest wife, who went to a friend’s house to braid her hair and forgot to prepare Okonkwo’s meal and feed her children. Even he was reminded of the ban on violence, he didn’t stop the beating. However, his fear of weakness and failure also was his tragic flaw. Consequently, he didn’t take the advice that not to participate in the murder of Ikemefuna. Therefore, he actually killed Ikemefuna because he was afraid of being though weak. Moreover, Okonkwo was a man of action.

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He did things without considering the consequence. This flaw brought him a serious consequence at the end of the story. After the release from jail, Okonkwo thought about his revenge. He hoped Umuofia will wage war on the intruders. If they didn’t, he would take action on his own. In the next morning, the clansmen were lead to a meeting which was about took action against the unwanted strangers to rid themselves. During the meeting, five court messengers approached the group and said that the white man ordered the meeting stopped.

Without a second thought, Okonkwo used his machete to sever the messenger’s head. However, his impulsiveness drove him to this deplorable condition. The betrayal of the clansmen contributed Okonkwo’s tragedy. As well as things had changed among the village, many people in Umuofia were not entirely unhappy with the white men’s influence on their village. However, the white men brought wealth to the village as they built a trading store for traded palm oil and palm nut kernels. The clans could gain great economic benefit from the trading store, hence the money flowed into the village.

Therefore, not everyone in the village was united against the white men since they had provided a new way for the villagers to profit. With this opportunity, they were willing to accept the white man's rule because they weren't willing to sacrifice the new trading community to fight for their independence. People would rather choose peace and money instead of going to the war to against the white men. This change of the clan displeased Okonkwo. His return was not what he had hoped. Moreover, when Okonkwo killed the messenger in the meeting, no one tried to stop the other messengers from escaping.

The clansmen were afraid, and someone even asked why Okonkwo killed the messenger. At that time, Okonkwo realized that the clan would never go to war and the Umuofia would surrender. He wiped his machete and walked away. Nevertheless, everything had fallen apart for Okonkwo. He failed alone. The colonization mainly contributed Okonkwo’s tragedy because they were unfamiliar with Umuofia’s culture. However, Enoch unmasked an egwugwu in the ceremony; his action was determined as a great crime and killed the ancestral spirits.

Therefore, the egwugwu went to kill him, but he took refuge in the church compound. Mr. Smith, who was intolerant in fanaticism, tried to protect Enoch and asked the egwugwu to leave. Rather than hunt Enoch down and kill him, they burn the church. When the District Commissioner returned from trip and heard about the burning of the church, they asked six leaders of the village, including Okonkwo, to meet with him in his office. As one of the leaders began to tell about Enoch’s unmasking of an egwugwu, they were handcuffed and thrown in jail for several days.

However, the DC said the leader would be treated well in the prison, and would be released after paying five or two hundred bags of cowries. Nevertheless, the guards repeatedly mistreated them in the prison. Okonkwo suffered insults and physical abuse there. The way the messenger mistreated him was humiliated. Therefore, he was put into fighting mood. His motivation for wanting revenge and his humiliation in jail were deeply personal. However, the DC was ignorant because he didn’t know the Umuofia’s culture; and he only listened to one side.

If Okonkwo was tolerant and acted with considering the consequence, he might avoid his tragedy. Moreover, if Mr. Brown was not breaking down in health, he would still stay in Umuofia. Then, Mr. Smith would not take over his place. Consequently, the consequential outcome would not happen. Besides, if the District Commissioner could listen to both sides’ explanations or understand the Umuofia’s culture more, Okonkwo would not be put in the prison tragically. Then, he might avoid killing the court messenger. Furthermore, it might help preventing his tragedy from happening.

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Things Fall Apart

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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 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 […]

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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 […]

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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. 

things fall apart analysis essay

Things Fall Apart

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  1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

    This essay seeks to establish the strengths and weaknesses of the Igbo culture as portrayed in ...

  2. Things Fall Apart Study Guide

    How to Analyse Things Fall Apart in 3 Steps Step 1: Choose your example (s) The best way to choose an example is to choose a quote that contains a technique or... Step 2: Identify your techniques With Things Fall Apart, not many techniques are used, so refer to themes and key ideas... Step 3: Carry ...

  3. 10 Smart Topics for Your Things Fall Apart Analysis

    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.

  4. Things Fall Apart Analysis

    Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Chinua Achebe that shows the conflicts in Nigeria during the nineteenth century. During this time, missionaries from Great Britain arrived in Nigeria. In this novel, the main character, Okonkwo, resists changes brought about by the British missionaries.

  5. Things Fall Apart Essay Examples

    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 the differences are not in degree, but in the details....

  6. An Analysis of Things Fall Apart

    An Analysis of Things Fall Apart. In Things Fall apart, Okonkwo was considered a tragic hero. He used to be a great wrestler, a fierce warrior, and a successful farmer of yams in Umuofia. Shortly after Ikemefuna’s death, Okonkwo accidentally killed someone in a funeral ceremony. He and his family were sent into exile for seven years.

  7. Things Fall Apart Analysis by Chinua Achebe

    Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Chinua Achebe in 1958. The main character, Okonkwo, is a tragic hero. The reader sees his rise to success and his following destruction because of his hamartia: his obsession of not becoming like his father, who represents femininity, gentleness and calmness.

  8. 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 …

  9. Things Fall Apart Essay Examples

    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.

  10. Things Fall Apart Character Analysis

    The novel's main character and an influential clan leader, Okonkwo fears becoming an unsuccessful, weak man like his father, Unoka. As a result, Okonkwo is hardworking and aggressive, traits that bring him fame and… read analysis of Okonkwo.