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Bookrags Things Fall Apart Essay

Things Fall Apart Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

The tragic story of the life of warrior Okonkwo is the focus of the story “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. Although Okonkwo strives to overcome his father’s reputation as a sluggard who refuses to pay his debts, his life ends almost as tragically as his father’s as he commits suicide, the ultimate crime for the African community in which he lives. Okonkwo’s story plays out against a backdrop of change in this culture, Christianity has come into the village which once was the pride of Okonkwo because of its reputation for war and strength. The characteristics that Okonkwo once strived to have are no longer as prized as they once were. Okonkwo is left feeling betrayed by his village, as if everything he has worked to have means nothing.

Okonkwo’s goal in his life is to be a leader in his village. He works hard to build himself a farm and successful yam crops. His family becomes respected despite his father’s legacy. An accident where Okonkwo’s gun explodes, causing the death of a teen boy, makes Okonkwo and his family seek refuge in his mother’s homeland. His farm, barns, and crops are destroyed as is the custom of the people. Although his mother’s people greet him warmly and are good to him, Okonkwo is not happy because all that he has worked for is gone.

When Okonkwo finishes his required seven years in his mother’s homeland, he returns home, but things have changed. Missionaries have come into the village. Okonkwo’s son is one of the village members who has been swayed by the promises of this religion. The missionaries, along with politicians, meddle in the traditions of the village, angering Okonkwo. Okonkwo sees more and more signs that his village is not the village of warriors that it once was. When he sees that the other men refuse to stand against the missionaries and politicians, he kills himself.

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Through his use of language and choice of words, Achebe enables us to experience life in Ibo society before it was changed by the coming of the white men. By inspecting Achebe's incorporation of Ibo words throughout the novel, examining his selection of Ibo character names, and exploring his integration of proverbs and folktales, we can understand Achebe's attempts to educate us about Ibo life and at the same time unraveling the story of Okonkwo's tragedy. Examining the author's use of language throughout any novel is an important step to understanding that novel. The use of language is especially important in Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart because as we read about Okonkwo's tragedy, it is vital to see him in the world in which he lives in to understand his actions and overall, the underlying message of the story.

In the duration of the novel, Achebe used certain...

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This section contains 1,312 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)

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