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Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart Analysis

Literary Devices in Things Fall Apart

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

To Okonkwo, folktales – especially those featuring animals – are a symbol of femininity. To him, the stories seem to show a childish love for escapism and provide few useful values or m...

Setting

The setting in Nigeria around the turn of the 19th century is extremely important; it allows Okonkwo’s life to straddle the pre- and post-European imperial era. Because Okonkwo experiences bo...

Narrator Point of View

Though most of the novel is focused on Okonkwo, the narrator generally provides insight into the thoughts of most characters. There are times when the narration is focused around different characte...

Genre

As you might guess from the title, Things Fall Apart is a tragedy. It tells the story of an African clan being invaded by outsiders and falling to pieces. The novel also tells the story of Okonkwo,...

Tone

Achebe narrates events pretty objectively, without many embellishments. Readers are left largely to impose emotion on the text and decide for themselves whether characters are admirable or justifie...

Writing Style

It doesn’t take much to notice that there’s something interesting about the way Things Fall Apart is written. Although Achebe writes in English, he captures the cadence of the Ibo peopl...

What’s Up With the Title?

From its very title, Things Fall Apart foreshadows the tragedy which the novel depicts. We don’t mean to be downers, but can a book about things falling apart really have a happy ending? The...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

Turning and turning in the widening gyreThe falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. – W.B Yeats, "The Second Coming"Th...

Plot Analysis

Okonkwo’s a big fish in town.Okonkwo is widely known and respected as a wealthy farmer, a man of titles with three wives, and a fearless warrior.Okonkwo’s terrified of being feminine an...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Okonkwo sets out to make his own reputation and fortune.Okonkwo feels a deep insecurity about being like his father – weak and effeminate. Having been left with no inheritance save massive de...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Okonkwo is a respected man among the Igbo people, but he lives in constant fear of becoming like his lazy, cowardly, shameful father. Out of fear of being like his dad, Okonkwo commits his first bi...

Trivia

Things Fall Apart has been translated into 50 languages, making Achebe the most translated African writer of all time.Chinua Achebe wrote an infamous critique entitled “An Image of Africa: Ra...

Steaminess Rating

Even though Okonkwo has three wives, there are very few sex scenes in the novel. OK, fine, there are no actual sex scenes in the book, just one mention of Okonkwo starting to unfasten Ekwefi’...

Allusions

W.B. Yeats: “The Second Coming” (epigraph)Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness – “from the beginning of things” (7.23)The Bible: Exodus 10:1-20 – Plague of locusts (...

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