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Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart


by Chinua Achebe

Unoka Timeline and Summary

  • As a young man, Unoka plays the flute for festivals and enjoys the audience, feasts, and good company. As an older man, he does nothing but laze around and rack up debts.
  • When his neighbor comes to request that Unoka pay back the money he borrowed years ago, Unoka laughs in his neighbor’s face. Unoka shows the man the magnitude of his debt (which is staggering), and sends him away empty-handed.
  • When he asks the oracle of Agbala why he has such bad fortune with farming, the priestess answers that his bad luck doesn’t stem from offending the gods or his ancestors –he has nobody to blame but himself and his laziness for his bad harvests.
  • Unoka is supported by Okonkwo’s productivity. He lives off his son’s hard work and charity, much to Okonkwo’s resentment.
  • Unoka becomes ill with a disease that cause him to swell, and is left to die in the Evil Forest. He leaves Okonkwo no inheritance.
  • The shame and debt which Unoka brought upon his family haunts Okonkwo for the rest of his life.