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Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions & Essay Topics

full title  ·  Things Fall Apart

author  · Chinua Achebe

type of work  · Novel

genre  · Postcolonial critique; tragedy

language  · English

time and place written  · 1959, Nigeria

date of first publication  · 1959

publisher  · Heinemann Educational Books

narrator  · The narrator is anonymous but shows sympathy for the various residents of Umuofia.

point of view  · The narration is in the third person, by an omniscient figure who focuses on Okonkwo but switches from character to character to detail the thoughts and motives of various individuals.

tone  · Ironic, tragic, satirical, fablelike

tense  · Past

setting (time)  · 1890s

setting (place)  · Lower Nigerian villages, Iguedo and Mbanta in particular

protagonist  · Okonkwo

major conflict  · On one level, the conflict is between the traditional society of Umuofia and the new customs brought by the whites, which are in turn adopted by many of the villagers. Okonkwo also struggles to be as different from his deceased father as possible. He believes his father to have been weak, effeminate, lazy, ignominious, and poor. Consequently, Okonkwo strives to be strong, masculine, industrious, respected, and wealthy.

rising action  · Enoch’s unmasking of an egwugwu, the egwugwu’s burning of the church, and the District Commissioner’s sneaky arrest of Umuofian leaders force the tension between Umuofia and the colonizers to a breaking point.

climax  · Okonkwo’s murder, or uchu, of a court messenger

falling action  · The villagers allow the white government’s messengers to escape, and Okonkwo, realizing the weakness of his clan, commits suicide.

themes  · The struggle between tradition and change; varying interpre-tations of masculinity; language as a sign of cultural difference

motifs  ·  Chi, animal imagery

symbols  · The novel is highly symbolic, and it asks to be read in symbolic terms. Two of the main symbols are the locusts and fire. The locusts symbolize the white colonists descending upon the Africans, seeming to augur good but actually portending troublesome encounters. Fire epitomizes Okonkwo’s nature—he is fierce and destructive. A third symbol, the drums, represents the physical connection of the community of clansmen in Umuofia, and acts as a metaphorical heartbeat that beats in unison, uniting all the village members.

foreshadowing  · The author’s initial description of Ikemefuna as an “ill-fated boy,” which presages his eventual murder by Okonkwo; the arrival of the locusts, which symbolizes the eventual arrival of the colonizers; Obierika’s suggestion that Okonkwo kill himself, which foretells Okonkwo’s eventual suicide

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important facts

by adamracz95, March 03, 2013

What is the name of Okonkwo’s motherland?
(C) Mbanta

2. What holy animal does Okonkwo’s clan suspect the Christians have killed and eaten?
(B) A python

3. What is the name of the first missionary who comes to Umuofia?
(A) Mr. Brown

4. How many villages does Umuofia comprise?
(C) Nine

5. Whom did Okonkwo beat in his legendary wrestling match?
(D) Amalinze the Cat

6. In what country does Things Fall Apart take place?
(B) Nigeria

7. What do the inhabitants of Mban... Read more

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1424 out of 1487 people found this helpful

tthings fall apart

by nelsy10, March 18, 2014

things fall apart take place in the south of Africa;;; Nigeria
the ibo people believed in multiples gods
okonkwo its a tragic hero

1 Comments

2 out of 21 people found this helpful

Culture of the Igbo society in the light of the novel Things Fall Apart.

by touhidsm, May 06, 2014

Read Full Answer at

http://josbd.com/Things_Fall_Apart.html


Answer: Things Fall Apart is a novel written in English by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. The novel depicts the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia - one of a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria inhabited by the Igbo people. It focuses on his family and personal history, the customs and society of the Igbo and the influence of British colonialism and Christian m... Read more

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36 out of 42 people found this helpful

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