'Things Fall Apart' Discussion Questions and Study Guide
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" Things Fall Apart " is a famous novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. It's considered an important work in world literature, albeit a controversial one—the book has been banned in some places for its critical portrayal of European colonialism . The book is split into three parts showing the reader the negative effects of colonization on the main characters' tribe. It also shows how Christian missionary work to convert the African population forever altered their culture. The book was written in 1958 and became one of the first books from Africa to become world-renowned. It is seen as an archetype for the modern African novel.
Protagonist Okonkwo becomes a successful farmer and earns titles and respect in his community, even though his lazy father, Unoka, was a disrespected laughingstock. His father is a source of shame for Okonkwo, who's strived to be everything his father was not. He's domineering over his family as a result, and his overarching desire to always seem "manly" leads to his downfall.
Okonkwo takes in a ward, given to him to care for as a peace offering to avoid war with the neighboring Mbaino community. An oracle says the boy must be killed, but Okonkwo is advised not to do it himself; he does it anyway. But it's after the accidental killing of a leader in his community that he and his family are exiled for seven years.
When they return, they find that much has changed in their community because of white missionaries who have come to town. They've set up a prison, a European-style court of law, a church, a school, and a hospital. Okonkwo doesn't understand why the people haven't revolted against these oppressors. Then, the benevolent Mr. Brown is replaced by a strict reverend who isn't interested in the people's existing culture. Violence eventually ensues, and the local leaders are eventually taken down by the colonizers. Okonkwo cannot cope and ends his own life.
These are the main characters in the novel:
- Okonkwo: protagonist whose fatal flaw is his inability to adapt to change and his reverence for needing to appear tough and "manly"
- Ikemefuna: clever, resourceful boy; ward of Okonkwo given to avoid war; killed by him so Okonkwo does not appear weak
- Nwoye: son of Okonkwo who becomes a Christian; a sensitive boy
- Ezinma: daughter of Okonkwo; bold; her father's favorite; the only surviving child of Ekwefi
- Ekwefi: Okonkwo's second wife
- Unoka: Okonkwo's father, whom Okonkwo strives to be the opposite of; lazy and enjoys music and conversation; gentle, cowardly, and unambitious; does not have the respect of the townsfolk.
- Obierika: best friend of Okonkwo
- Ogbuefi Ezeudu: the elder of Umuofia
- Mr. Brown: missionary to Umuofia and Mbanta; patient, kind, respectful, open-minded person who builds a school and hospital in Umofia and encourages literacy so the people keep up with the rest of the world; represents colonization
- Rev. James Smith: missionary who contrasts with Mr. Brown in that he is strict and doesn't compromise; has no interest in the native peoples' culture; also represents colonization
In addition to the themes of the effect of colonization on African society and how cultures clash, there are also personal themes in "Things Fall Apart." Readers can examine how people's character leads to their outcomes, such as how adaptable (or unadaptable) they are to change, and how that can be considered a kind of destiny. An examination of the book can also look at human emotions and find commonalities and universals.
The destiny theme can be examined on a societal level as well. Achebe illustrates the complexity of the Igbo society and how it functions—unlike the authoritarian encroachers—without a strong central government. Is it destiny for the people to have been conquered, then? You can also examine how the community and people interact to find balance and function as a society.
"Things Fall Apart" has become one of the most important books in African literature, as it was among the first major works to bring the African perspective to a worldwide audience and launched the continent's modern literature. It even made Western anthropologists realize they'd been getting the story wrong and led them to re-examine their methods and scholarship on Africa's history and peoples.
Though controversial to write a novel in the colonizers' language, the book was able to reach more people that way. Achebe was also able to work untranslatable Ibo words into the telling so that people would be able to understand them through context as they read, rather than have a translator not achieve adequate subtleties of meaning.
The book awakened pride in history and community for people in Africa and led them to realize that they could tell their own stories.
- What is important about the title: "Things Fall Apart?" Is there a reference in the novel that explains the title?
- What are the conflicts in "Things Fall Apart?" What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional) are present?
- How do the story's themes relate to the plot and characters?
- What are some symbols in "Things Fall Apart?" How do they relate to the plot and characters?
- Are the characters consistent in their actions? Are they fully developed characters? Are some characters more fully developed than others? How? Why?
- Do you find the characters likable? Are the characters people you would want to meet?
- What is the primary purpose of the story? Is it important or meaningful?
- Do you think the novel is meant to be political? What point was the author trying to make? Did he succeed?
- Why is the novel so controversial? Do you think the book should be censored or banned? Should it be taught in schools?
- How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else?
- What is the role of family and community in this novel? How does it change when the missionaries arrive?
- Does the story end the way you expected? How? Why? What point do you think the author was making with the conclusion of the novel? Does your perspective change knowing there is a sequel?
- Would you recommend this novel to a friend? Why or why not?
- How is religion portrayed in this novel? Do you think the Christian missionaries had a positive or negative impact on the characters?
- What is important about the time period the novel is set in?
- Why do you think the author's decision to write the novel in English rather than his native language caused controversy?
- What point is the author trying to make about the African identity? What problems does the author outline? Does he offer solutions?
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Things Fall Apart
Chinua achebe, everything you need for every book you read..
Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Things Fall Apart: Introduction
Things fall apart: plot summary, things fall apart: detailed summary & analysis, things fall apart: themes, things fall apart: quotes, things fall apart: characters, things fall apart: symbols, things fall apart: theme wheel, brief biography of chinua achebe.
Historical Context of Things Fall Apart
Other books related to things fall apart.
- 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)
- Point of View: Third person omniscient
Extra Credit for Things Fall Apart
Joseph Conrad: “A Bloody Racist”. Chinua Achebe delivered a lecture and critique on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness , calling Conrad “a bloody racist” and provoking controversy among critics and readers. However, Achebe's criticism of Conrad has become a mainstream perspective on Conrad's work and was even included in the 1988 Norton critical edition of Heart of Darkness .
Achebe as Politician. Achebe expressed his political views often in writing, but he also involved himself actively in Nigerian politics when he became the People's Redemption Party's deputy national vice-president in the early 1980's. However, he soon resigned himself in frustration with the corruption he witnessed during the elections.
Things Fall Apart
By chinua achebe, things fall apart study guide.
Chinua Achebe 's college work sharpened his interest in indigenous Nigerian cultures. He had grown up in Ogidi, a large village in Nigeria. His father taught at the missionary school, and Achebe witnessed firsthand the complex mix of benefit and catastrophe that the Christian religion had brought to the Igbo people. In the 1950s, an exciting new literary movement grew in strength. Drawing on indigenous Nigerian oral traditions, this movement enriched European literary forms in hopes of creating a new literature, in English but unmistakably African. Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart is one of the masterpieces of 20th century African fiction.
Things Fall Apart is set in the 1890s, during the coming of the white man to Nigeria. In part, the novel is a response and antidote to a large tradition of European literature in which Africans are depicted as primitive and mindless savages. The attitudes present in colonial literature are so ingrained into our perception of Africa that the District Commissioner, who appears at the end of the novel, strikes a chord of familiarity with most readers. He is arrogant, dismissive of African "savages," and totally ignorant of the complexity and richness of Igbo life. Yet his attitude echoes so much of the depiction of Africa; this attitude, following Achebe's depiction of the Igbo, seems hollow and savage.
Digression is one of Achebe's most important tools. Although the novel's central story is the tragedy of Okonkwo , Achebe takes any opportunity he can to digress and relate anecdotes and tertiary incidents. The novel is part documentary, but the liveliness of Achebe's narrative protects the book from reading like an anthropology text. We are allowed to see the Igbo through their own eyes, as they celebrate the various rituals and holidays that mark important moments in the year and in the people's live.
Achebe depicts the Igbo as a people with great social institutions. Their culture is rich and impressively civilized, with traditions and laws that place great emphasis on justice and fairness. The people are ruled not by a king or chief but by a kind of simple democracy, in which all males gather and make decisions by consensus. Ironically, it is the Europeans, who often boast of bringing democratic institutions to the rest of the world, who try to suppress these clan meetings in Umuofia. The Igbo also boast a high degree of social mobility. Men are not judged by the wealth of their fathers, and Achebe emphasizes that high rank is attainable for all freeborn Igbo.
He does not shy from depicting the injustices of Igbo society. No more or less than Victorian England of the same era, the Igbo are deeply patriarchal. They also have a great fear of twins, who are abandoned immediately after birth to a death by exposure. Violence is not unknown to them, although warfare on a European scale is something of which they have no comprehension.
The novel attempts to repair some of the damage done by earlier European depictions of Africans. But this recuperation must necessarily come in the form of memory; by the time Achebe was born, the coming of the white man had already destroyed many aspects of indigenous culture.
Things Fall Apart Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Things Fall Apart is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Chapters 22 and 23 pages 184 - 197
Definitely not true..... when the District Commissioner returns from his tour, he invites the leaders of Umuofia to come meet with him. Six men are invited, among them Okonkwo. The meeting is a trap; the six men are taking prisoner, and the DC...
Why did Enzima marry in Mbanta even though she had many offers?
Enzima married Mbanta because she knew that her father wanted her to marry in Umuofia.
How is Ikemefuna’s death tragic?
Ikemefuna is a young boy given to Umuofia by a neighboring village as tribute. Ikemefuna is sacrificed to prevent a war. He lives in Umuofia for three years, under Okonkwo's roof; Okonkwo looks at him as a son, and to Nwoye he becomes best friend...
Study Guide for Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart study guide contains a biography of Chinua Achebe, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About Things Fall Apart
- Things Fall Apart Summary
- Character List
- Chapters 1-5 Summary and Analysis
Essays for Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
- Chinua Achebe's Portrayal of Pre-Colonial Africa:
- The Destructive Clash of Cultures
- The Role of Women
- The Comparison of One Hundred Years of Solitude with Things Fall Apart
- The Release of African Culture on the World
Lesson Plan for Things Fall Apart
- About the Author
- Study Objectives
- Common Core Standards
- Introduction to Things Fall Apart
- Relationship to Other Books
- Bringing in Technology
- Notes to the Teacher
- Related Links
- Things Fall Apart Bibliography
Wikipedia Entries for Things Fall Apart
- Literary significance and reception
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Discussion Questions on Chinua Achebe's _Things Fall Apart_ (1958)
by Ronald Walker
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2018, And the Centre Refuses to Hold: Homage to Things Fall Apart @ 60
Things Fall Apart has the air of concrete facticity, and therefore has usually been taken to be a realist work, with complete coincidence of sense and meaning. Leveraging on the fact that fiction normally deploys a narrative eye, which then works like a spotlight, it is made out in this paper that as a light-bearer, literally, the principal character of a tale inevitably sets off patterns of association and resemblance to other literary light-bearers and the sequences and patterns of denouement conventionally associated with them. While it is usual practice to see Okonkwo and Things Fall Apart as rooted in a unique and stable social system, the horizontal plane which connects to personages seen in literature of other places and times should not be ignored. This paper will build on the latter viewpoint. Thus it is possible to see Okonkwo as typical-which means that he is more than what is seen at the textual level. He is a 'dreamer' and also an 'intoxicated one', and being a very important member of Umuofia, these personal traits are working out their logic-and destabilizing impact-within the heart of Umuofia, down to its foundations. The white man will enter Umuofia in the midst of all this and catalyze the process into a premature denouement. The 'dreamer' and the 'intoxicated one', however, are mythical images frequently encountered in high mimetic literature.
All African writings, specially novels, are at once literary pieces, a social protest and a medium of political reassertion. The African writings portray the post-colonial African reality in all its varied colours and texture. Writers like Chinua Achebe, in their works, have delineated the characters of their fictional heroes as leaders of the struggle against colonial and neocolonial forces stubbornly obstructing the process of social regeneration and political nativization. Literature occurs under the glow of certain socio-phychological impacts upon the author. Chinua Achebe confirms the validity of this observation most forcefully in the sense that his novels faithfully mirrors the post-colonial colours that shadow the hopes and aspirations of the community that he belongs to. The present paper attempts a critique of post-colonial discourse of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. The cross-currents that enrich the texture of the novel consists of the emergence of neo-colonialism along with the lingering shadows of old colonialism, the resistance of the post-colonial struggle of maintaining the native originality on the one hand obsessional hand washing of the old tyranny on the other, the agony of the exile, the longings of diasporic looking back into once own native past, the emotional trauma of being a witness to the structure of one's own dream falling apart and, above all, the agony of one's being misunderstood by one's own kith and kin. The post-colonial milieu of the novel Things Fall Apart finds a poignant treatment by Booth James, in such a way that the readers feel the true spirit of the post-colonial ways of life. It is relevant to reproduce the observation of Booth James regarding the post-colonial shadows that cover the efficacy of the Nigerian progress and development ; With the six years of independence Nigeria was a cesspool of corruption. Public servants helped themselves freely to the nation's wealth … Elections were blatantly rigged… The national census was outrageously stage-managed; Judges and magistrates themselves were manipulated and corrupted by foreign business interest. 1 The literary construction of post-colonialism within the force of a novelistic discourse produces the necessity of fore grounding of the quests for identities, the voices of resistance and the conditioned mind of the subjugated swinging between it's innocent individual learning and the compulsive obligations of the social expectations. To set the thesis initially, it would be proper to quote the following conceptualizations of post colonial conditions by Homi Bhabha ; … a range of contemporary critical theories suggests that it is from those who have suffered the sentence of history, subjugation, domination, diaspora, displacement-that we learn our most enduring lessons for living and thinking. There is even a growing conviction that the affective experience of social marginality… transforms our critical strategies. 2 Achebe views the novel as an exercise in self discovery. It is through writing, he believes, that an African can determine and establish his identity by exploring and rediscovering his roots. This reflexing and self defining nature of the novel is singularly important to post-colonial writers who have been confronting an erosion of their traditional values owing to the overpowering exposure to European culture which has already made insidious advances upon the native way of life and local customs, modes and habits in many countries. Things Fall Apart is a typical Igloo novel which describes Okonkwo's rise and fall. He was well known throughout the 'nine villages and even beyond.' 3 (p.3) His greatest achievement at the age of eighteen was 'throwing Amalinze the Cat.' Amalinze, the great Wrestler was called the cat because his back would never touch the earth. But Okonkwo threw the cat at last. It was said that Okonkwo never used his words, when he was angry he used his fists instead. His father Unoka owed every neighbor some money, from a few cowries to quite substantial amounts. In the first part of the novel various ceremonies of the triables are narrated. From the very beginning of the first part, Okonkwo's place in the Iglo society is highlighted. It is Okonkwo's will, determination and boldness which take him to the rank of one of the lords of the clan. He is a prosperous man, one who is acclaimed by the nine villages as a great warrior. In one year the harvest was unsatisfactory A farmer committed suicide in Okonkwo's village but Okonkwo tried not to lose his head. His
Okonkwo is a flawed hero and his misfortune arises out of just that—his flaws. In his first and most impressive novel, as Iyasere calls it, Achebe presents a rather complex character and to attribute his failure solely to his inability to accept change would be to ignore a multitude of nuances that help build up Okonkwo as a tragic hero.
2016, Things fall apart
THINGS FALL APART : Chinua Achebe narrator · The narrator is anonymous but shows sympathy for the various residents of Umuofia. point of view · The narration is in the third person, by an omniscient figure who focuses on Okonkwo but switches from character to character to detail the thoughts and motives of various individuals. tone · Ironic, tragic, satirical, fablelike tense · Past setting (time) · 1890s setting (place) · Lower Nigerian villages, Iguedo and Mbanta in particular protagonist · Okonkwo major conflict · On one level, the conflict is between the traditional society of Umuofia and the new customs brought by the whites, which are in turn adopted by many of the villagers. Okonkwo also struggles to be as different from his deceased father as possible. He believes his father to have been weak, effeminate, lazy, ignominious, and poor. Consequently, Okonkwo strives to be strong, masculine, industrious, respected, and wealthy. rising action · Enoch's unmasking of an egwugwu, the egwugwu's burning of the church, and the District Commissioner's sneaky arrest of Umuofian leaders force the tension between Umuofia and the colonizers to a breaking point. climax · Okonkwo's murder, or uchu, of a court messenger falling action · The villagers allow the white government's messengers to escape, and Okonkwo, realizing the weakness of his clan, commits suicide. themes · The struggle between tradition and change; varying interpretations of masculinity; language as a sign of cultural difference motifs · Chi, animal imagery symbols · The novel is highly symbolic, and it asks to be read in symbolic terms. Two of the main symbols are the locusts and fire. The locusts symbolize the white colonists descending upon the Africans, seeming to augur good but actually portending troublesome encounters. Fire epitomizes Okonkwo's nature-he is fierce and destructive. A third symbol, the drums, represents the physical connection of the community of clansmen in Umuofia, and acts as a metaphorical heartbeat that beats in unison, uniting all the village members. foreshadowing · The author's initial description of Ikemefuna as an-ill-fated boy,‖ which presages his eventual murder by Okonkwo; the arrival of the locusts, which symbolizes the eventual arrival of the colonizers; Obierika's suggestion that Okonkwo kill himself, which foretells Okonkwo's eventual suicide
Ekpunobi Paulinus Mario
Suhair Fuaad Hajo
A first reading of the novel reveals the fact that what fall apart in Things fall apart are Igbo’s cultures and traditions. Accordingly a lot of readings have been done on the novel with almost similar disclosures; considering it as a postcolonial novel and as Achebe’s response to the white racism embedded in European literature, which presented Africa as a primitive and socially retrograde nation. Hence, reading Things Fall Apart from a new and distinct perspective with the aid of trances from reader response criticism, this study aims to answer the question of; what really falls apart (in Things Fall Apart) and how? Through a close and transactional reading of the novel this study demonstrates that Igbo’s culture and religion didn’t fall apart but changed and in fact, what falls apart in Things Fall Apart is Okonkwo, the protagonist of the novel. By studying and comparing his conducts, before and after killing Ikemefona it reveals that his mortal sin parts him beyond the limits of his cultural conventions, in the process of gaining his individual purposes, which later leads to his downfall.
FREE RELATED PAPERS
Abukar Sanei, Ph.D Candidate
This article aims at exploring the causes of the fall of Okonkwo, the protagonist of the Nigerian Novel. Things Fall Apart by the renowned novelist, Chinua Achebe. Though the novel mainly deals with the fall of Igbo Culture where Okonkwo has played the sheet anchor role in the novel, Things Fall Apart at the hands of British establishment in Nigeria, the other vital reasons that make him vulnerable will also
Jean Damascene Ngendahayo
2021, Journal of Literature, Languages and Linguistics(JLLL)
Things Fall Apart (TFA) is the novel written and published by Chinua Achebe in 1958 for recounting all social and cultural life and beliefs as well as the arrival of British Colonizers in the Igbo society of Nigeria. This paper aims at identifying the effects of the protagonist’s masculine perception in Things Fall Apart as the sign of Igbo society breakup. Okonkwo, the protagonist of the TFA is said in the whole novel and his different behaviors are still analyzed until now. This study elucidates the Okonkwo’s resistance against the British colonizers where he refuses to submit himself to them after slaying their messenger and prefers to die as a man by hanging himself, the act the Igbo society consider like an abomination. Along with that, the research analyzes how much Okonkwo scorns the women by considering them like weak people. Based on the analytical findings, this research reveals how his masculine perceptions portray the breakup of Igbo society socially and culturally as it has been noticed from TFA where he often blames those who behave like a woman among his clan members. The protagonist’s suicide openly exhibits the end of traditional Igbo society for the benefit of the British colonizers.
Cross-Currents: An International Peer-Reviewed Journal on Humanities & Social Sciences
Okonkwo is a man of fame, wildly acclaimed in Umuofia as a man of valour. He at the same time has a notoriety for violence. With a nagging fear of failure, he overreaches himself most often to counter the notion of his not being a woman. This inner desire for manliness plunges him into avoidable acts of shame and wrong decisions. Okonkwo lives in two worlds of fame and shame. He is caught in the crossroad of valour and overzealousness. On the contrary, Okonkwo is reputed for violence. His anger and shot temperedness portray his ugly side which is very well known among Umuofia. His superfluous show of power forces him into exile after he accidentally shoots Ezeudu’s son during Ezeudu’s funeral rites and consequently he embarks on a forced exile. His killing of the white man’s messenger saw his final disgrace and eventual death. Using the concepts of fame and shame, this paper examines the two worlds of the protagonist, the world of gallantry and fame and the world of shame and eventu...
Chinua Achebe's classic novel Things Fall Apart, clocks 50 in 2008, and, expectedly, the global literary community is celebrating this great African masterpiece, a permanent staple of the academic curriculum of most tertiary institutions of learning around the world. As part of the commemoratives in honour of the work and its creator, I have chosen to do a reappraisal of a tiny aspect of the numerous interpretive interest which Things Fall Apart continues to generate, namely, the subject of heroism. Mainstream or conventional readings of Things Fall Apart ascribe the hero of the novel to the novel's protagonist, Okonkwo, and, consequently cast Unoka, Okonkwo's father, and Nwoye, Okonkwo's first son, in a bad light. We are constrained to reexamine these positions, and, thereby contest their apparent validity. We also use various literary theories to evaluate Okonkwo's claim to heroism as we profile his tragic, grace-to-grass career.
This essay is an attempt to a deconstructive interpretation of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's " Things Fall Apart ". It begins by reviewing literary comments on Chinua Achebe and later dovetails an explication of the meaning of deconstruction as a way of enabling to grapple with the realities of this post structuralist critical formulation. This essay observes that Okonkwo is not only a brutal cannibal but also a barbarian. This refers to the backdrop of his penchant for killing as shown in the novel. This opinion is buttressed by Okonkwo's ruthless habit of drinking from his first human head, which is a tilled smack of cannibalism. Based on the theory of deconstruction, it concludes that the scientific reading relies only on the text which functions as the real mirror of society which literature is all about.
In Chinua Achebe's masterpiece of the destructive forces of colonial conquest in Africa, "Things Fall Apart", Okonkwo is driven to control his family and achieve power through fear and violence; using his masculinity to destroy any signs of femininity in his sons. Ironically, in the end, Okonkwo is reduced to a feminine status by the British colonizers that overthrow his power with fear and violence as well, leaving him stripped of power and his masculinity - transformed into what he feared most: of becoming effeminate and powerless like a woman and like his father -who he resented and was ashamed of.
2023, Erothanatos, Volume 7 Issue 2
Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart shows cultural disintegration in the Igbo people represented by the protagonist Okonkwo and some others. This paper will show how the disintegration of that community creates an irreversible condition for the protagonist. Okonkwo can neither change society nor himself. Consequently, his death is inevitable. However, the disintegration is expressed in many ways in the novel. Initially, the disorder is found on the personal level; gradually the whole community surrenders before it after the arrival of the colonisers with their government and religion.
The paper deals with the circumstances surrounding the death of Chinua Achebe's protagonist in his novel, 'Things Fall Apart'.
D'Angelo Jovaughn Jenkins
Achebe shows the outside influence of the Europeans whose ethnocentric views coupled with the ethnocentric views of the Ibo caused the collapse of the culture itself. Achebe primarily portrays Okonkwo as both the cause and a victim of the collapse of the Ibo culture. Okonkwo accelerates the downward spiral of the Ibo culture, but would not have been forced to do so if the outside influence of the Christian did not infiltrate his tribe.
2013, East West Journal of Humanities, Vol. 4
This paper analyzes the resistance of Achebe’s two ‘heroes’ Okonkwo, the protagonist of Things Fall Apart, and Obi Okonkwo, the protagonist of No Longer at Ease. While Okonkwo takes up arms to preserve the culture and tradition in a “things fall apart society”, Obi Okonkwo’s honesty and his love for Clara, remain constant with him and he is “no longer at ease” in the flux of colonial Nigeria. In pre-colonial Nigeria, Okonkwo’s resistance to the white man’s religion, education and technology is defeated and Obi’s desire for a corrupt-free Nigeria fails during British colonial rule. In line with this development, we find Okonkwo’s son converting to Christianity. Eventually, Okonkwo commits suicide realizing that he is going to be defeated. However, the history of resistance does not end here and Okonkwo’s and Obi’s apparent defeat has far-reaching implications for Africa’s subsequent anti-colonial fight.
Mary J . N . Okolie
2021, Okike: An African Journal of New Writing
Celebrating sixty years of Things Fall Apart calls for a reimagining of the themes and structures that have sustained the critical gaze over the past years. The conventional reading of exile in the text has concentrated on the banishment of Okonkwo from Umuofia to Mbanta. Also, hardly have critics examined exile in the text from the existential perspective that implicates other exile characters such as Unoka, Nwoye, Ikemefuna, and Umuofia community as a whole. Filling this gap is the concern of this paper. So, while it critically looks again and remaps the notion of exile beyond the physical to alienation and powerlessness, it exposes Okonkwo"s exile as spanning through the text-from his inner flight from his father, through the actual banishment to Mbanta, to his terminal flight from Umuofia in suicide. The paper claims that these three exilic clusters comprise the fulcrum upon which the narration thrives.
Mikaela Anne Laxa
This paper will focus on analyzing one of the factors that contributed to the European’s success in taking over their society, which is the Igbo’s treatment of women. That is to say, I will be talking about the different kinds of injustices towards women in the novel, Things Fall Apart which are primarily: silencing, physical abuse, and removal of autonomy. These three things are the main elements that actively contributes to the marginalization of women, and I argue that precisely this marginalization of women becomes one of the catalysts in the whites’ colonization over their society. And so, this paper will first discuss those injustices, as well as where they are explicitly shown in the novel, and then explain how it influenced the process of subjugation of Okonkwo’s people by the missionaries.
Surendra Prasad Ghimire
Formosa Journal of Multidisciplinary Research
This paper aims to investigate how Achebe utilized various symbols to project the protagonist, Okankow's, forthcoming tragic situation in the novel Things Fall Apart. I utilized the concept of the symbol as a theoretical perspective to analyze the text. Here, I argued that Achebe used various symbols in the novel to reflect the protagonist's forthcoming devastating situation. The discussion has identified that Achebe used multiple symbols, such as Okonkwo's involvement in killing Ikemefuna, Ezeudu's son, ash, fire, and so forth, which symbolized Okonkwo's forthcoming devastating situation. The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of the role of symbols in projecting the forthcoming tragic condition in the life of protagonist Okonkwo and provide a clear direction for further exploring the role of symbols in Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart
International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation (IJLLT)
Being a postcolonial narrative, Things Fall Apart experiences a wide critical acclaim. From the pen of Chinua Achebe, the Igbo cultural complexity has come into being a theme that opens up a historical account of the clash of two cultures. Okonkwo, a very well-known public figure in his community falls under the threat of a new culture brought by the white missionaries preaching the gospels of the Christianity. After the arrival of the Christian culture, the first collision that takes place is the division at the individual, and then at the societal levels. When a number of the Igbo people, including Okonkwo's son, change their religion, it creates chaos and confusions throughout the community. Although the Igbo people have a well-established way of life, the Europeans do not understand. That is why they show no respect to the cultural practices of the Igbo people. What Achebe delivers in the novel is that Africans are not savages and their societies are not mindless. The things fall apart because Okonkwo fails at the end to take his people back to the culture they all shared once. The sentiments the whites show to the blacks regarding the Christianity clearly recap the slave treatment the blacks were used to receive from the whites in the past. Achebe shows that the picture of the Africans portrayed in literature and histories are not real, but the picture was seen through the eyes of the Europeans. Consequently, Okonkwo hangs himself when he finds his established rules and orders are completely exiled by his own people and when he sees Igbo looses its honor by falling apart.
2016, The Year's Work in English Studies
Scholarly J O U R N A L S International
2018, Scholarly Journal of Scientific Research and Essay
This paper focuses on Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart and Ezeulu in Arrow of God. The study applies deconstruction theory in the analysis of the two protagonists which initially reveals them as heroes of their societies, and subsequently, faults them on account of their excesses as antiheroes. As antiheroes, the protagonists, by their actions and inactions cause and justify the colonization of their indigenous communities. Okonkwo kills the white man's messenger and commits suicide, while Ezeulu sends his son to acquire education, an accessory of colonialism, and he himself causes Umuaro people to take their yams to church for thanksgiving rather than to Ulu deity. The paper finds out and concludes that the actions of both protagonists justify and advocate the colonisation of their communities respectively. By the revelation of this research, it is recommended that the study be used in teaching Achebe's novels in schools, in order to change the earlier impression that they are anti-colonialist works.
ABSTRACT The research’s concern here is on women oppression in the Igbo society and with its impact on the societal destruction. When carrying the research, the forms of women oppression were investigated in this Achebe’s Things Fall Apart whereby inequality, inheritance deprivation for female gender, women beating and other abuses against femininity were mainly based on in this research to investigate the reasons of Igbo societal destruction. Okonkwo who ruled his wives and children with a heavy hand was both a woman hater and oppressor. Hence, this behavior and belief have to be searched on for the purpose of finding out how it might lead his society to get destroyed. This research bears the following objectives: To identify the forms of oppression in Things Fall Apart, to examine in which ways the society gets destroyed due to women oppression and to emphasize what women can do so as to get equal chances to their counterparts. Referring to the objectives mentioned above, the researcher wanted to answer these questions: the first question was how has the Igbo society demonstrated the forms of women oppression in Things Fall Apart? The forms of oppression were based on women beating, deprivation of inheritance for female gender and different abuse against women. The second one is, where did the society get destroyed in the Igbo society in Things Fall Apart? It is identified that women role is limited to households and children bearing not in economic and political whereby the women are not able to possess anything like men. The third is how the women oppression contributed to the societal destruction? The protagonist of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, a woman hater and oppressor led his society to destruction whereby his son Nwoye abused by him to behave like women became one of the people who got converted into Christianity unlike traditional and other hatred and violence against the femininity contributed much to the society destruction. The findings identified that the Igbo society practiced different women oppression such as inequality, lack of inheritance for girls’ children, and women beating. It was also noticed here that women were socially and economically undermined by men through their patriarchal culture and society. The violence against the femininity pushed Okonkwo to hung himself so that he could not be called a weak or woman for handing himself in white men’s hands after killing the white man messenger. From this death, Umuofia has completely fallen apart in the white men’s hands. The contribution of this research is to help women be aware of their rights and fight against the culture to which they belong. Men should empower women and consider them like human beings instead of limiting their lives in the kitchen and in the households. It especially motivates the other researchers who are interested in feminism and gender to make a comparison about the women life of the past and today in Igbo society. It is additionally hoped for further researchers to conduct the research in Igbo society for assessing whether the patriarchal culture has changed and women are no longer oppressed these days.
2021, Research Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities
Chinua Achebe was one of Nigeria's early and pioneer indigenous writers, and many literary scholars and critics assume that he was an anti-colonialist writer. This assumption appears not to be true. However, it can be accepted that Achebe, in his essays and public presentations, strongly appeared to be an advocate of anti-colonialism. Considering Achebe's novels as the focus and concern of this paper, substantial evidence have been projected by the author to suggest that he was a colonialist writer. The evidence abound in the manner he portrays and projects Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, Obi Okonkwo in No Longer at Ease, Ezeulu in Arrow of God, Odili in A Man of the People, and Sam in Anthills of the Savannah. Rather than portray and project them in good light. Achebe denigrates and characterises them as rebellious, temperamental, strong-headed, violent, promiscuous, corrupt and savage These heroes turned antiheroes violate the norms of their societies. For characterising and portraying the African heroes of his novels as antiheroes and tragic heroes, Achebe wittingly or unwittingly joins the colonialists in condemning Africans as uncivilized, evil and demonic others.
2006, Okike: An African Journal of New Writing
Haleshappa V V
The novel tells the fable of the Turtle who reached the sky because the birds lent it their feathers. The fable forms a pattern for the whole novel: just as the Turtle reaches the sky with the help of the birds, so Okonkwo reaches one of the foremost positions in his clan with the support of the population. But just as the Turtle plunges to the ground and crushes his shield, so Okonkwo falls from power when he loses the support of the people and the gods. The plot takes place in the fictional Ibo village of Umuofia in Iboland in eastern Nigeria in the late 19th century, just before and after the first white people arrive in the area. The theme is a tradition as opposed to change, the dissolution of traditional African society as it cannot withstand the forces of white civilization. The first part of the novel depicts life in the traditional Ibo society, its social and religious structure, its rites, and customs. It is a society where the individual is to a large extent subordinate to the collective and it is through the collective that the individual reaches his goal and life gets its meaning (Whittaker and Msiska, 2007).
2017, AFRREV IJAH: An International Journal of Arts and Humanities
International Journal of Research Publications
Anayochukwu K I N G S L E Y Ugwu
2023, Philosophy International Journal
Okolo maintains that the African is identified by his personality which is the attitudinal disposition he designates as 'beingwith'. He adopts the term 'being-with' to represent the African 'communality' which is all there is to be truly African. Though maintaining a radical communalistic viewpoint suspending in socio-ontological considerations, Okolo posits that this attitude characteristically defines and symbolically stands for that by which 'an African' is identified. However, Okolo's position inheres some problems that border on one, the question and place of right and freedom of the individual as a community-member in the face of the community-consciousness, two, imposition of the title ' African' on even non-Africans as he opines that even an American, for instance, who imbibes by the principle of 'being-with' is 'an African', among other problems. Nonetheless, this paper defends that there are serious series of challenges/disruptions to this personality of 'being-with' which today hinder a satisfactory realization of its practicability/liveability even among Africans. The expectations from the paper include one, an analysis of Okolo's thoughts, pointing out the loopholes for further academic exercise on African philosophical discourse, two, to reiterate the fact that what is African has substantial potency to sustain Africa, and address African problems hence ' African solutions to African problems', and third and finally, to propose an alternative view to ameliorating the radical communalistic positions in Okolo. The paper shall here also adopt philosophical conceptualization, content and contextual analysis and clarifications to critically review Okolo.
University of Chitral Journal of Linguistics and Literature
2018, UNIVERSITY OF CHITRAL JOURNAL OF LINGUISTICS AND LITERATURE
The present paper makes an attempt to examine how George Herbert Meade's theory explains people's use of symbols as a sense-making tool to elucidate the socialization process, role performance, identity, and meaning formation within the Igbo society for explaining various aspects of human life in the novel Things Fall Apart. This study is significant as it deals with character analysis of Okonkwo, to see how different roles of son, warrior, husband, father and a clansman are defined in Igbo culture during various phases of family and social life to clarify how Symbolic Interactionism has given a new impetus to see society, culture, psychology and relationships. It argues that the physical setting is significant to human behavior and human actions can be interpreted with the critical analysis of cultural symbols and the way they are deployed. It concludes that human behavior is based upon assigning meanings and their symbolic interpretations of the objects that surround them. The Symbolic Interactionist analysis of the novel clearly indicates that Okonkwo's self and meaning formation is built on perceptions of the reactions of his clansman and his self-concept functions to direct his behavior. The development of different roles changes role and behavior patterns. The internal and external happenings influence role performance, conflict, struggle, and affect the nature, attitude, and self-image of Okonkwo. Moreover, it also affirms that the cultural symbols for honor, respect, and manliness etc. are not fixed naturally rather these are the constructions of the mind and are given meaning through interaction of the people.
This essay is an exploration of how tragedy enables a colonised people to inherit, and thus survive, a traumatic past, focusing on Achebe's Things Fall Apart. In order to conjure, on the eve of Nigerian independence, that elusive spirit of the people, Achebe seems to suggest that his readers must find a way of inheriting the alienated spirit of Okonkwo. As many critics have pointed out, macho tendency to valorize violent action over reason and dialogue is only representative of one side of Ibo society. Nevertheless, Achebe’s novel is structured in such a way as to suggest that it is indeed Okonkwo’s spirit that must be recovered if his contemporary readers are to reconnect with their history. They must find a way of ‘ancestralising’ his lost spirit, of resacralising his polluted corpse, if they are to overcome their own estrangement. The essay is part of a larger project which thinks through the ways in which the African novel works as a surrogate mode of inheritance in the wake of modernity's drive to abolish ancestral ties.
Akshara, An International Refereed Research Journal of English Literature and Language , Kola Eke
This study demonstrates the validity of Maslow's theory to Achebe's Things Fall Apart (1958). Using the tragic hero, Okonkwo, as a case in point, it is seen that Okonkwo fulfils the lower levels of Maslow hierarchy of needs, excluding the apex level. Specifically, Maslow's hierarchy of needs comprises five: physiological needs, security needs, social needs, self-esteem needs and self-actualisation needs. A critical reading of Achebe's novel reveals that Okonkwo fulfils the lower level needs. Okonkwo is unable to fulfil the needs of self-actualization in that he commits suicide. In this sense the tragic hero is not self-actualised because he finds it impossible to wipe out colonialism.
Abstract. This work examine the themes and style employs by Okey Ndibe in Foreign Gods Inc. which captures or demonstrates the contemporary decadence in Nigeria and Nigerians in diaspora as well as Africa as a whole. However, this work basically uses qualitative methodology of textual analysis of the novel, Foreign Gods Inc. It adopts the formalistic approach as it deals on form and contents which we are looking at as themes and style of narration in the novel. This is to enhance readers understanding of the possible themes in the work and the style therein. We have been able to look at the themes of corruption, matrimony/marriage, and social segregation in chapter 2 of this work. Corruption is captured as an hallmark to survival in Nigeria as well as Africa in general. We also examine the discrepancies between what entails in western marriage and African traditional marriage. More so, we look at social segregation as a problem that truncates the unity of oneness of Utonki village. Having done that, we look at the style of narration employs in the novel in chapter 3 of this work. They are flashback, suspense, humour, irony, symbolism and language. Flashback reveals Ike, the protagonist as the next Chief Priest of Ngene deity. Suspense is the writer’s major devices used to arrest his readers for persistence as the story unfolds. Humour is copiously used for embellishment. Other devices or style are used altogether for aesthetic which help to pain a wonderful story in study. Moreso, this study discovers the theme of corruption, social segregation and matrimony/marriage. The form is therefore, the style of narration employs by Okey Ndibe such as flashback, suspense, humour, irony, symbolism and language.
Revd John Arierhi Ottuh
Using the comparative analysis paradigm as a method, the study aimed at comparing Okonkwo‟s tragic flaws in Chinua Achebe‟s things fall apart with that of Judas Iscariot in the New Testament. The duo characters in view were victims of ego and greed respectively. The paper showed that Okonkwo‟s tragic flaws in Chinua Achebe‟s things fall apart and that of Judas Iscariot in the New Testament were that of strength and villain respectively. The paper also showed that a cultural and religious rift was created between imperialist dogmatism via colonialism and indigenous religious beliefs when the white missionaries introduced Christianity to Umuofia.
Achebe's works have been widely studied. However, it seems that the notion of face in relation to these works have not yet been given adequate attention. This paper explores the concept of face as an influential socio-psychological constraint weighing heavily on the heroic character of Achebe's Things Fall Apart and, argues that the fear of face: the desire for positive and negative politeness from others is indeed the tragic flaw and sole cause of Okonkwo's failure and downfall. With insights from Goffman's (1967) notion of face, Brown and Levinson's (1987) face-saving politeness theory and Lazarus' (1991) appraisal theory of emotions, the paper delves into how the persistent fear of losing face by the character inadvertently creates tensions which heavily converged on him and paved the way for his eventual downfall. Analysis shows that the hero's constant fear of losing his negative face and desperation to enhance his positive face are indeed the fear of failure which haunts him throughout the text. The paper suggests further research as regards the interplay among fear, face and politeness in literary texts.
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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- Publication Date: September 1, 1994
- Genres: Classics , Fiction
- Paperback: 209 pages
- Publisher: Anchor
- ISBN-10: 0385474547
- ISBN-13: 9780385474542
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Things Fall Apart Teacher’s Guide
By chinua achebe.
Category: Historical Fiction | Literary Fiction
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