Things Fall Apart
Want a study guide too?
Anyone who has ever bought anything from IKEA knows this to be true.
|Author||Achebe - Chinua Achebe|
|Post-1945 Literature||Post-1945 World Literature|
Fate and Free Will
Language and Communication
Man and the Natural World
Respect and Reputation
Tradition and Customs
So Okonkwo works hard to be an awesome farmer.
He wrestles like a champ.
And he’s a brave leader of his people. But when Okonkwo hangs himself at the end
of Things Fall Apart....
…sorry… belated spoiler alert…
Is he acting as a brave martyr, living up to his manly reputation?
Or is he being a coward just like his dad? When white missionaries invade the land...
Okonkwo is ticked off.
Really ticked off.
The missionaries are shoving the tribe’s beliefs to the side....
And replacing them with Christianity.
Before, the village elders made the laws.
Now, it’s a foreign Queen.
Okonkwo wants to free his people from this foreign power.
He tries to rally his tribe to fight...
But many refuse... Some even join the other team.
Enraged, Okonkwo even beheads a kotma <<CAHT-muh>>, one of the Africans who collaborate with the
But still his people won’t rise.
So for the first time in his life Okonkwo purposefully breaks the laws of his community...
By committing suicide.
Sounds like a bold move, right? He bravely faces Death rather than submitting
to the white man…
And dies on his own terms… just like he lived.
On the other hand...
Is it possible that Okonkwo kills himself because he’s afraid of change?
Should he have had the courage to adjust his warrior ethics?
To lead his people toward a peaceful compromise with the missionaries?
Or should he at least have stayed in the world of the living to fight some more?
He lived his whole life afraid of the ghost of his father...
Afraid he’d turn out to be a coward just like him.
But in the end, did he do the cowardly thing?
Shmoop amongst yourselves.
y particular pronunciation here? any particular pronunciation here?