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African Literature

Members

Alibanban, Cielo Mae

Gales, Rowena Ann

Samson, Hans

Woods, Sophia

12-Brazil
Things Fall Apart
By Chinua Achebe

Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is considered a modern African novel. Things Fall Apart is
written in English, which means that, in addition to being a popular book in African schools, the novel has been widely
read and taught outside of Africa, too. Although it was only published about 60 years ago, the novel takes place in the
1890s. Things Fall Apart deals heavily with the effect of colonialism on the native people of Africa, in addition to
examining the traditional culture of the Nigerian villagers in the novel.

Meaning
Things Fall Apart tells the tragic story of a Nigerian tribesman who holds on to tradition in a changing world. In this
lesson, you'll learn about the basic story and the characters involved, and you'll pick up on a few of the novel's major
themes. One of the 20th century's great novelists, Chinua Achebe, was Nigerian, and his masterpiece, Things Fall Apart,
tells the story of a traditional tribesman who clashes with British imperialists in a changing Africa Achebe published
Things Fall Apart in 1958, and the novel exposed the corruption and oppression that was going on in British-controlled
Nigeria in the mid-20th century. Only two years later, Nigeria declared independence. Coincidence? Perhaps, but there's
no denying that Achebe's book brought worldwide attention to his African homeland.
Novels of Chinua Achebe, the best of the new generation of West Africans writing in English,1 begin with the coming of
the white man to the bush and end in contemporary Lagos, and show the process of moral and cultural disintegration that
results from colonialism. The novels reveal the changing perspectives of each succeeding generation, which have also
been described by the Nigerian leader Awolowo before independence: “Our grandfathers with unbonded gratitude adored
the British. … Our immediate fathers simply toed the line. We of today are critical, unappreciative, and do not feel that we
owe any debt of gratitude to the British. The younger elements in our group.
Things fall apart" can be said when something we believed would last forever, comes to an end. The title Things Fall
Apart refers to the fact that without proper balance, things do fall apart. The notion of balance in the novel is an important
theme throughout the book. Beginning with the excerpt from Yeats' poem, the concept of balance is stressed as important;
for without balance, order is lost. In the novel, there is a system of balance, which the Igbo culture seems but at the end of
the novel the society people can not listen the leader, so a chaotic situation is created.

Interpretations
Things Fall Apart, was a society in which males had control of everything, and the women had control of nothing. As
wives, women were seen as property, rather than as partners to be loved and cherished. The men of the Ibo tribe usually
married more than one wife because the more wives, yams, barns, and titles each Ibo man held, the more successful he
was considered. These possessions determined a man's social status. An example of a man looking for social status in
these ways was Nwakibie, "who had three huge barns, nine wives and thirty children, and the highest but one title which a
man could take in the clan"
The interpretation about the novel which Igbo society begins to fall apart. Religion is threatened, Umuofia loses itsself-
determination, and the very centers of tribal life are threatened. These events are all the more painful because so much
time has been spent in sympathetic description of Igbo life and realizes that he has been learning about a way of life that
no longer exists.
Okonkwo he is very afraid of failure, and he is afraid of being considered weak. This fear drives him to rashness, and in
the end contributes to his death.