Study Guide

Things Fall Apart Themes

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Respect and Reputation




Traditions and Customs

Man and the Natural World

Fate and Free Will

Language and Communication

Things Fall Apart revolves around Okonkwo, a leader of an Igbo community who faces the constant fear that he will become much like his father. Attempting to be the polar opposite of his father, he works tirelessly to become a wealthy and hardworking farmer. Things Fall Apart’s themes emerge as Okonkwo attempts to navigate his way through his culture, relationships, and community.

Discover Themes for Things Fall Apart

While this life may be exactly what he wanted, Okonkwo gets too caught up in his reputation, causing him to act tough when in reality he’s hurting internally. His constant efforts to prove his bravery and strength ends up being his failing, affecting him significantly by the end.

Additionally, the story highlights a problem of emergent Africa in the 1890s, which was the intrusion of white missionaries and colonial government. There are various themes for Things Fall Apart that connect to these story threads, including:

  • Language and communication
  • Gender
  • Family
  • Respect and reputation
  • Fear
  • Religion

Be sure to review the other themes that are showcased in this story. Happy reading!

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