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When Things Fall Apart Fell Apart

A review on Chinua Achebes Post-Colonial novel on the colonization of the Nigerian people from the British people entitled Things Fall Apart.
This book review is presented to Jocelyn Pinzon, Literature 3 C Professor from the Humanities Division.

Mark Anthony A. Cabanlit University of the Philippines - Cebu 10/2/2012

When Things Fall Apart Fell Apart

This book review will give you a not that detailed idea on the book by Chinua Achebe entitled Things Fall Apart. The Fell Apart in the title means that this review will divide the evaluation of the story in a few parts for us to understand it clearly. This review will first give you a background of Nigeria on which the story happened. The 158-page book will also be summarized into less than a page. An in-depth character analysis of the main character Okonkwo will also be given. The author and the postcoloniality of the novel will also be discussed later in the story.

When Things Fall Apart Fell Apart

A Perfect Setting for the Novel

The story of Nigeria is a selfless history of leadership in many areas. (, 2003) The story happened in the Nigeria /nadri/which is commonly known today as the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The story happened within the Igbo tribe, it is an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria. African culture is well-known all throughout the world because it is very unusual and rich at the same time. Imagine a savanna with giraffes, tigers and some other wild animals that you can only see on pictures and on screen. Imagine a whole tribe of almost naked man and woman with skin as black as the slate in iPhone5 adorned with yellow, green, and red beads with necklaces and bracelets made of pure gold. Imagine a world where people sing, wrestle and dance to the beat Egwu nkwa ndi Igbo with the udu, ogene and ekwe. Let us also take note that Nigeria is split half between Muslims and Christians and a very small group who practice traditional religion. The story used the traditional religion where people used to believe in gods made of wood, in misfortune brought by twins, in oracles and many other distinctive beliefs. Furthermore, according to Gobles Public Schools (2007): The Igbo people lived in a patriarchal collective political system. Decisions were not made by a chief or by any individual but were rather decided by a counsel of male elders. Religious leaders were also called upon to settle debates reflecting the cultural focus of the Igbo people.

When Things Fall Apart Fell Apart

A 99-Word Summary
Being afraid of becoming a failure like his father, Okonkwo worked hard to prove to the people of Igbo that he can be successful. He then adopted Ikemefuna but later on was decreed to be killed. Okonkwo was told not to take part of the killing but he was hard headed. After killing Ikemefuna, Okonkwo had a series of unfortunate events then he accidentally killed someone and was banished for seven years together with his family. Upon returning from banishment, Igbo has already changed a lot due to the colonization of the British. He kills himself: an unjustifiable act.

A Man of Steel with a Heart of Gold

The story even if its a postcolonial one and must talk about the state of the country it still mainly revolves around a man named Okonkwo. He is tough in the front but soft on the inside.

As A Son
Unoka is Okonkwos father. Unlike many other families in Igbo, it is expected that a father must work hard in order for him to feed his family. Unoka was different he always borrows money and cant even easily pay them. Unlike most of the men in the tribe Unoka felt terror when he sees brutality. Having a father like this, Okonkwos childhood might have been rough. Being insulted by having a father like Unoka, Okonkwo strived hard to create a new definition where people will respect him and not maltreat him because what his father is.

When Things Fall Apart Fell Apart

As A Husband
Beating a woman is normal in the Igbo culture. It seems very hard for me to define if what type of husband is considered loving in the Igbo culture. As what Ive read he beat his wife no reason, tried to shoot her, and beat her wife again during the sacred week. But for having three wives, I begin to think that he surely is a lover boy.

As A Father
It is said in the story that he is tough to his sons and not that sweet to his daughters. But that was in the outside, deep inside Okonkwos heart is a loving father who always appreciates his son/daughters work and is always doing the best he could do so that his children will be ready for the future. There was a part in the story where he scolded Ikemefuna his adopted son and Nwoye his son for not carefully preparing the yams. He said in his mind that he was aware the the kids were too young to understand the basics of farming but he was still hoping that his kids might appreciate it so that they can also be successful farmers just like him.

As A Member of Igbo
In the earlier parts of the story, Okonkwo is an avid fanatic of Igbos tradition but later on when he was about to lose his daughter Ezinma due to the calling of Agbala, the oracle, he rushed to protect his child together with his wife Ekwifi.

As A Man
I think that Okonkwo is soft hearted. There was a part in the novel where something broke inside him. He felt it after killing Ikemefuna and he first felt it a few years ago when he heard an infant crying in the Evil Forest. By this I think he is torn between believing in the traditions of their tribe and the life of an individual.

When Things Fall Apart Fell Apart

A Post-Colonial Novel
When I was reading the novel I just thought of it as a novel where an African hero rises against a giant tiger but then my classmates told me that it was a Post-Colonial one but then I didnt believe them since I almost approached and all I can see are African people then I came to the end where there were white people, the British. The novel is post-colonial because it was written in the English language by a native from Nigeria namely Chinua Achibe. It also described the state of the colony before the colonizers came and also when they came. Before the British came, the people used to have pagan gods but then the British came and introduced Christianity. It cost the tribe to lose some of them. The effects of the colonizer can be seen in Obierika statement in the novel: Does the white man understand our custom about land? How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? 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.

When Things Fall Apart Fell Apart

A Novel by Achebe
I think that the purpose of writing this story was to tell a story. To make the people learn from the things that happened in the story. As the GCSE English and English Literature for OCR resource sheets by Harcourt Education Limited (2006) says: Achebe said that Things Fall Apart was an act of atonement with my past, the ritual return and homage of a prodigal son. He wished to teach his (African) readers that their past with all its imperfections was not one long night of savagery from which the Europeans acting on Gods behalf delivered them.

Works Cited
Gobles Public Schools. (2007). Things Fall Apart Political Structure. In . Retrieved September 30, 2012, from .aspx (2003). Basic Facts About Nigeria. In Nigeria Today. Retrieved September 30, 2012, from Harcourt Education Limited (2006). GCSE English and English Literature for OCR resource sheets. Retrieved September 30, 2012, from dmills/NewWindmillsFiction/Resources/ThingsFallApart(OCRGCSEsettext)/Thi ngsFallApart_OCR.pdf Photo in the cover .