Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

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Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart is a story built on Okonkwo- a man who is respected in the Igbo tribe in the days that white men were making their first appearances in the African countries.  The novel is simple and tells of how Okonkwo went through the ups and downs of life at the end losing his life by committing   suicide.   The book further delineates the cultural values and beliefs that African people upheld, and how the appearance of the Christian missionary tainted these beliefs and customs (Booker 96). The essay systematical describes episodes that portray how the things fell apart.

Okonkwo, while a child dreamt of being a great man and a man that would command respect in the village and it neighborhood. He worked extra hard towards his goals and achieved most of them. He is a man of strength; he worked hard to achieve fame and amassed a lot of wealth. Even though, he managed to achieve his goals at an early age, his life began to fall when tragic episodes befall him (Nnoromele 268). His first fall is when a captive that stayed with him Ikemefuna is killed.   Ikemefuna was seen by Okonkwo as his own son and his killing saddened him. This episode caused a lot of trauma on Okonkwo making him not to catch a sleep for three consecutive days. The man also decided to begin drinking as away to reduce the emotions. This showed that indeed Okonkwo was depressed because of the death. The death also arose suspicion among the family members who perceived that Okonkwo was behind the death of Ikemefuna. He therefore, loses faith from his family members in this turn of event. Likewise, Okonkwo lose faith in his father whom he views as the force behind the ordeal that befell on him. Hence, how things fall apart is demonstrated.

An episode whereby Okonkwo is thrown outside of his clan for a number of years shows that things were falling apart for him. His hopes of becoming populous and rich were diminishing.  The punishment meant that he could not be near his farm and animals which made a great percentage of his riches. The isolation also contributed to loss of faith with his friends. His friends lost faith in him crippling his reputation hence an indication of things falling apart.

Another episode that shows how things fall apart is when Nwoye, the oldest and favorite son decided to convert to Christianity (Samatar 60). Okonkwo had bestowed a lot of expectation from his son and the news of the conversion was upsetting and an indication that his life has been affected. The white men came with different cultures that were far from what the community was practicing and this was going to be a blow to the continuity of the community traditions.

Another episode of things falling apart is in the introduction or coming of the white men with their new Christian values. These new values were to replace the traditional and beliefs and values of the society.  For instance, the people believed in Gods of wood and stone and believed in superstitious belief. Therefore, the coming of Christianity shows the fall of African culture and values.

By pinpointing at Okonkwo life in the story, it is clear that the title of the book is in tandem with the ordeal that he was caught into.  When Ikemefuna died, the episode elicited debate, resulting to depression, family squabbles making the life of Okonkwo to drift. Furthermore, when he was thrown out of the clan he lost ties with his friend and his ambition to become rich was crippled.  Coming of Christianity and conversion of his favorite son- Nwoye to the new beliefs indicates that indeed things were falling apart. Therefore, the book is a clear demonstration and elucidation of how things fall apart.


Works Cited

Booker, Keith. “Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart.” Critical Insights: Things Fall Apart, 2010:96-123. Print.

Nnoromele, Patrick. “The Plight of a Hero in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.” Critical Insights:          Things Fall Apart, 2010: 268-282.Print.

Samatar, Sofia. “Charting the Constellation: Past and Present in Things Fall Apart.” Research in   African Literatures, 42.2(2010):60-71.Print.

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