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Chinua Achebe's 1958 Novel Things Fall Apart Essay

… Chinua Achebe's 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart" provides readers with an intriguing account involving concepts like African cultural values, colonialism, and exaggerated self-respect. The writer does a great job describing the fictional African community of Umofia and relating to conditions in the territory during pre-colonial times. Even with the fact that the book largely concentrates on the protagonist, Okonkwo, it also succeeds in presenting readers with cultural values promoted in Umofia and in Africa as a whole through describing the central character's interaction with people in his community. Okonkwo's life experiences make it possible for readers to learn more regarding attitudes employed by individuals in Umofia in particular circumstances.

"Things Fall Apart" is probable to influence readers in wanting to learn more about African culture…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart: Culture Disruption Book Report

… Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

Culture disruption in Chinua Acebe's Things Fall APart

The novel, Things Fall Apart rotates around the life of a central character called Okonkwo and the traditional lifestyle of the Igbo, ending up in the ultimate disruption of the lifestyle that came alongside the introduction of the Western religion (Christianity) into the Igbo community. The novel opens ten years after the death of Unoka, Okonkwo's father whom he loathes for bringing shame over him as a lazy and coward father. Okonkwo is out to cut a niche for himself despite the background and this he does by self-determination in the society and even beating AMalinze the cat in wrestling duel. He is later trusted with the security of a young boy,…. [read more]

Anthills of the Savannah Term Paper

… The stories of Ikem and Chris both suggest that you can only survive in a changing state if you accept the changes.

The novel is also about the overall conflict that involves Nigeria as a whole. Gikandi (18) describes this by saying that the novel shows the "political and cultural crisis that marks the transition from the colonial system to a post-colonial situation." In this way, the novel is about the larger political changes occurring and the forces that are pushing the changes. In the novel, this is seen by the government and the president. Ikem is important in this sense because he is originally part of the forces for change. With his position of editor of the National Gazette, he has a significant amount…. [read more]

Chinua Achebe's Fifth Novel Term Paper

… Beatrice has drawn praise from Ikem for the "odd short story and poem" she has written. Ikem is an admired poet as well as a journalist, and his prose-poem "Hymn to the Sun" is held in higher regard by his friends than all of his crusading editorials. Only Chris, the former editor of the Gazette, does not produce literature (this is only one of the ways that Achebe shows that Chris does not see what is happening around him). Not until he is on the bus heading north and he looks at Ikem's "Hymn to the Sun" again does he begin to learn how to read literature, and to see with the clarity of a writer. The poem reveals "in details he had not before…. [read more]

Chinua Achebe / Buchi Emecheta Essay

… However, we see in Achebe's novel that colonialism doesn't need to take a strong hold all at once or all on one level; precisely, colonialism happens slowly and gradually as different aspects of change start to take a hold. When the hold is strong enough and the old way of life has been set off balance, outside forces can then come in and take over. Yet, in Things Fall Apart, it is religion that makes it very hard for the Igbo to keep control of their old way of life. Religion -- Christianity, to be precise -- becomes a major point of contention among the Igbo people. The Mbanta try to regain control over their village, protect their old way of life, but it is…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Essay

… Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, is about more a tribe in African. It is a novel about the nature of man. The novel focuses on the Igbo tribe but the most fascinating aspect of this study is that it could be about any group of people at any moment in time. The Igbo are nothing if they are prefect representations of people responding in disturbing, stressful circumstances. The Igbo tribe needs to face the truth that they are not perfect. It is human to believe in oneself and it is human to resist change. They stifle Okonkwo instead of listening to him. They allow themselves to be persuaded even though we know resistance, in this case, was futile. The Igbo represent tough lessons about…. [read more]

Chinua Achebe - Bibliography Dehumanization Annotated Bibliography

… Chinua Achebe - Bibliography

Dehumanization is an oft repeated theme in literature, political science, and historiography. Unfortunately, it is a pattern of human behavior that regularly appears in historical documents as a process in which one group asserts their superiority over another group. This assertion may be done in covert or overt acts, may be directed towards a group of people (e.g. religious or ethnic minority) or against behaviors or individual diversity (the disabled, homeless, etc.). The process of dehumanization is often seen during times of war -- the enemy must be dehumanized in order for the standard cultural mores to allow killing. Colonialism (and resultant fascism) often uses dehumanization to prevent opposition and play on preexisting racist or other bias (Keen, 1991). States often…. [read more]

Character From the Novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Essay

… Okonkwo: Self-Made Man

In Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, we see the power of free will. Okonkwo is responding to outside forces but he is still making decisions based upon his personal convictions. He may not make the wisest decisions and he might not be in the most positive of circumstances but he is still free to do what he wants and no one forces him to behave a certain way. In fact, he is reacting to those that do want to control him to a certain extent. Okonkwo is somewhat bound and influenced by society, or community, but it in no way makes him the man he turns out to be. Okonkwo is responsible for himself regardless of his immediate surroundings.

The missionaries…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart Book Review

… This kind of realism shows that the African society was not unlike our own. While they placed their meaning on different things, the society still functioned in the same way. It is not presented as a perfect world, it is presented as a real world.

By telling the story through the character, Okonkwo, the reader is also able to identify with the story more. It allows the functioning of society to be understood. The character of Okonkwo is also believable. We see that he is obsessed with success because his father was not. In his actions then, we see that he does not act for 'the good of society' but rather 'the good of himself.' In the end where he rises up against the Europeans,…. [read more]

Chinua Achebe Thesis

… Chinua Achebe: Literary Genius

Chinua Achebe is perhaps the most notable African author of the twentieth century. His concepts and ideas reveal an aspect of humanity that cannot be ignored. Achebe always writes with an intense purpose and more often than not, this points to his people in Africa. The nature of man, his delicate condition, and his coping mechanism become topics worth study. In Things Fall Apart, we see how change influences a village that was managing fine before the mysterious missionaries arrive. The missionaries, whose intent may be good, spread fear and discontent throughout the village and we see this primarily with the character of Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a man with great pride for his people and cannot bear to see the missionaries…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart Research Paper

… All this is demanded by the goddess of the earth but Okonkwo apparently believes he is above that august goddess's edict because he was "…not the man to stop beating somebody halfway through, not even for fear of a goddess (p. 30).

Moreover, the father of the bride in the Ibo culture is the one who decides the person his daughters will be married to. In fact, Okonkwo becomes negotiator in the matter of a price for his daughter to become a man's bride.

The associate professor of English at Auburn University, Donald Wehrs, reports that Okonkwo beats his second wife "on a slight pretext" and "impulsively shoots at her when she mocks him." The Ibo culture sets the pride of a male well above…. [read more]

Chinua Achebe and Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Term Paper

… African Novels

When authors are relating the African experience, must they write the original book in the native language? Does this add to the experience? Better yet, does writing it in English lose its cultural identity? These questions have led to an ongoing debate by many authors, including Kenyon author Ngugi Wa Thiongo'o and his Nigerian contemporary Chinua Achebe. Ngugi wa Thiong'o began his noteworthy career writing in English, but eventually turned to using his mother tongue, Gikuyu. Achebe chooses to write in English and uses Western forms of literary expression, instead of rejecting the colonizers' languages and other vestiges of colonial influence. Literature is an essential part of sharing culture and understanding. As the world becomes "flat" and globalization and cultural sharing continues to…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart and Gilgamesh Essay

… Gilgamesh harnesses his defiant power to overcome the Humbaba, despite the monster's pleas for his life, delivering a lethal blow to the beast's neck and striking him down with finality. This scene bears many similarities to Okonkwo's climactic confrontation with a group of Christian missionaries, who tell him derisively that "the white man whose power you know too well has ordered this meeting to stop" (Achebe 197). face-to-face with the object of his repressed hatred, a living symbol of the invisible force eroding the Umuofian way of life, the formerly fearsome clan leader acts decisively, and "in a flash & #8230; Okonkwo's machete descended twice and the man's head lay beside his uniformed body" (Achebe 197). United by the existential threats to their position within…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe's Novel Term Paper

… Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart details the personal travails of a father in Nigeria. Colonialism and its impact on social, political and economic conditions in Africa have a huge bearing on how things fall apart for Okonkwo, the protagonist of the novel. A Umuofia warrior and political leader, Okonkwo embodies the changes taking place to his motherland. The old tribal traditions are crumbling before his eyes: Okonkwo's own father Unoka left the clan in a mess, and Okonkwo strives to prove himself different but also to affirm the continued relevance of old Umuofia traditions and social structures. Okonkwo struggles to reclaim his identity in the face of inter-tribal conflict, much of which is due to colonial economic enterprises. Religion and superstition…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Term Paper

… The Ibo's religious beliefs are a rich blend of folklore, gods, goddesses, and reverence of the old and their ancestors. However, the white men cannot understand the Ibo's beliefs, they certainly cannot accept them, and so they force them to change or perish. What a terrible choice! That colonists were so inflexible and insensitive is a sad testament to the "Christian" ideals they professed to adhere to.

The story is quite clearly a drama not only of conquest, but also of misunderstanding and prejudice. The white men must conquer everything around them, and once they do, they must make those conquered as much like themselves as they possibly can. This shows how inflexible the colonists were, and how humankind continually plays the game of "right…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Term Paper

… Here he compares the absence of beauty to the eye of a blind man, who of course cannot see the beauty around him, but he can certainly feel a warm summer breeze, or smell the aroma of new mown hay. Wordsworth is saying that although these things are absent from him, they are not forgotten, and this is the way of all our memories, they may lay dormant, but many are never forgotten, especially as they relate to nature and the natural world. We remember a beautiful sunset, or a happy summer day, and the vivid imagery of a well-written poem can bring those memories rushing back to us, just as they did to Wordsworth.

While with an eye made quiet by the power

Of…. [read more]

Thins Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Term Paper

… Things Fall Apart in the novel, do we see anyone who stands for this sort of peace? If so, where is it best illustrated? Is Okonkwo really just full of passionate intensity or is he flawed? What is Okonkwo 'missing'?

In Achebe's novel, no man or woman really stands for peace. A true peace is hard won. A true peace is a state of societal being can only be realized with great collective effort. Yes, Okonkwo's friend Obierika embodies the most balanced perspective of all of the tribe. But because Obierika is unable to put his beliefs into proactive action, he does not generate true peace in his world. Men like Martin Luther King Jr. And Gandhi may have advocated nonviolence, but they advocated nonviolent…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Term Paper

… Okonkwo's old ways of asserting power, like his physical and military strength, are no match for the newly installed British judicial system, government, and military. The Christians refuse to live side-by-side the old tribal leaders, customs, and clans, for the new Christians there can only be one, good way to live. When Okonkwo tries to resist the British by tearing town a church, he is imprisoned, and when he kills a white man, his tribe is too frightened to take up arms and follow him in attempting to drive the outsiders from their midst. He commits suicide as a result, realizing that his old way of life is no more, and he no longer has the authority amongst the Umuofia tribe as a leader.

On…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart Is a Book Essay

… Things fall apart is a book which revolves around the tragic scenes which occur in this material world. The book describes the real life incidents and can also be said to be a documentary. It tells us about the life story of Okonkwo and his terrible death after the arrival of white men; it also documents a story of the world that the white men ruined. To put tragedy in words the structure of the book put by the author is significant, and according to Aristotle's principles of tragedy the unimportant things must be eliminated to the central action. Achebe provides us comprehensive images of Igbo civilization, background and values. By the ending of the book, the reader understands that the story he has just…. [read more]

Okonkwo the Novel Things Fall Essay

… But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and weakness. It was not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father" (Achebe 13). Throughout the novel, Okonkwo commits acts of cruelty, of anger, and of violence against many of the other characters. He is the novel's hero and yet Achebe himself illustrates that Okonkwo is not a perfect man. Okonkwo acts cruelly and whether or not he is in fact a cruel man, he chooses to act unkindly and not heroically.

Late in the novel, the character of Ikemefuna is to be killed as ordered by the village's oracle. This young man has lived in the village for…. [read more]

Chinchua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Term Paper

… ¶ … Chinchua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is a story about many things, but primarily about a man trying to hold his family and life together in Nigeria during the time of colonization. History, and indeed any fair application of moral sentiment or an ethical system, has determined the acts of the colonization efforts to be unjust, and in no way is this exercise meant to veer away from this view. Yet it must be acknowledged -- and is so by Achebe in the novel, according to fair reading -- that the individuals are often involved in unjust acts without themselves being unjust people. This is true not only of Okonkwo, but also of the individual representatives of the colonizing force, typified in the person…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart Achebe Term Paper

… He loses his livestock and property as a result. During the seven years of his exile, British missionaries come to the land, and the tribe is urged to give up its 'false gods.' The missionary, Mr. Brown, tries to act compassionately and respectfully to the Umuofia tribe, even though he believes they are wrong and worship false gods. He earns many converts, first the outcasts of the land, but then more respected individuals in the community, including Nwoye, who embraces a religion of weakness, rather than his father's cruel and barbarous ideology of strength.

After Mr. Brown's death he is replaced by the Reverend James Smith, who encourages the new, Christian converts to act more radically. Eventually, one of them unmasks the earth goddess of…. [read more]

European Culture in Africa Published Term Paper

… .. The African writer should aim to use English in a way that brings out his message best without altering the language to the extent that its value as a medium of international exchange will be lost. He should aim at fashioning out an English which is at once universal and able to carry his peculiar experience." (Achebe, 1994)


In the novel, Achebe put froths a specific truth, that is, Africa is becoming modern and in this process, the imperialist European culture is gaining ground and making the rich native African culture die a gradual death. This book, the Things Fall Apart aims at defying the western made pigeonholes of Africans as prehistoric brutes, in addition to portraying the intricacies of societies in African…. [read more]

Achebe and Orientalism Term Paper

… ¶ … androgynous quality of Ezinma in "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe

In the novel "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe, the apparent display of male dominance have become the focus of the novel, depicted through the character of Okonkwo. Through his character, Achebe was able to illustrate the voluntary submissiveness of women to the male members of the Umuofia and the discrimination between males and females in almost all their everyday activities. However, embedded in Achebe's narration of Umuofia life is the implicit display of female power in spite of the males' dominant display of authority in the tribe.

Ezinma, Okonkwo's daughter, best illustrates this 'power' among females in Umuofia. Apart from being Okonkwo's favorite daughter, Ezinma had shown power by possessing the…. [read more]

Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart Term Paper

… ¶ … opening scenes of "Things Fall Apart," author Chinua Achebe sets the leader of the Umuofia in a highly specific social, tribal context. Okonkwo is respected for his ability as a military fighter amongst the Umuofia, and he is both typical and atypical of his people. On one hand, the society is not entirely warlike, as Okonkwo's father Unoka is well-known for his gentle temperament and excellence in music -- but also his inability to financially provide for his family. Unoka is an "unsuccessful man" (3) Okonkwo, in contrast, has three wives and is very wealthy, with a barn full of yams (6). Although Okonkwo is able to provide his family with material wealth, his presence is not a comforting one: "He breathed heavily;…. [read more]

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

… ¶ … Fall

Aristotle on Things Fall Apart

Aristotle's Poetics has served as a seminal work of and on Western literature, defining and analyzing texts in a way that has continued to inform and inspire authors for millennia. Though Chinua Achebe is not exactly a Western author, being a Nigerian native, his novel Things Fall Apart can be analyzed form the perspective of a tragedy as defined and described by Aristotle in Poetics. The traditional arc of the tragedy is very clearly present in the novel, as an initial balance is eventually eroded away to the point of utter collapse and total devastation. Even the scope of the novel is almost ironically tragic by an Aristotelian definition; it involves the higher echelons of power within…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Term Paper

… The disruption is in fact caused by the missionaries that arrive in Nigeria, and the protagonist of the novel, Okonkwo, who returns after a brief seven-year exile, to Nigeria, finds that his village is almost unrecognizable, and he is amazed at all the various changes that have taken place in Nigeria and also in his tribe of Igbo people, just because the Europeans and colonization had arrived in his country. What made it even worse for Okonkwo is the fact that his own tribe members are now unable to recognize him at all. Instead, what everybody wanted was the "new religion and government and trading stores," which "were very much in the people's eyes and minds ... they talked and thought about little else, and…. [read more]

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Role Term Paper

… ¶ … Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe [...] role and treatment of women in the novel. The main character, Okonkwo, sees women in this novel as weak and "soft," while the men are masculine and strong. Many of the other characters share this view, and women are certainly not equal to the men in Ibo society. Achebe uses the women of the novel as a common thread to the white people, because the men of the Ibo do not treat their women any better than the white people treat the Ibo. The men like Okonkwo cannot learn from their women, who understand more than the men give them credit for. Thus, the story is a circle, and Okonkwo's treatment of his wives and children…. [read more]

Storni, Alfonsina. "You Want Me Annotated Bibliography

… This is because women may be beaten if the get out of line (domestic abuse), they raise children, they do domestic duties as well as farm work accordingly (Stewart 104). For the men of Igbo, marriage is regarded as a union between a single man and several women as he desires. The women are provided with an option of leaving if they are not happy with the marriage. Two things played a p[art in marriage and they are fertility of the women and religion. Several societies have numerous beliefs that are deeply rooted in the ancient religion. These believe are polygamy patriarchy as well as polytheism. These are dominant in Things fall Apart. The calm condones polygamy as polytheism. The men are noted to be…. [read more]

Masculinity in Things Fall Apart Essay

… Instead, Okonkwo's return and attempts at revolution should be read as selfishly motivated exercises, as he tries to resurrect a society, through brute force, that supported him after he has outlived his usefulness to it. In fact, Okonkwo's clan represents the relatively successful bridging of old to new, whereas Okonkwo represents the naive desire for a return to a golden era that never was. Okonkwo was never liked by his clan, and he was rarely if ever happy, even when lauded as a supremely masculine ideal.

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart presents a nuanced consideration of the tension between the overly masculine individual and the society which supports him only as long as he serves as useful tool. Understanding Okonkwo's role within his clan allows…. [read more]

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