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Analysis on Things Fall Apart

By AntonioLamar Apr 17, 2013 1361 Words
Antonio Church March 21, 2013 Things Fall Apart Analysis The purpose of this paper is to provide the audience with my analysis of Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart.” I am going to start off by explaining the setting of the book. I feel that these types of facts are important to the story in making it readable to the audience. If you understand where and when the story is taking place, you will get a good understanding of what the story is actually symbolizing. Once I finish that, I am going to discuss some of the key characters in the book along with some of the problems they faced. After that, I plan to fully analyze Chinua Achebe’s book that includes key themes, maybe some important symbols that make you dig deeper into the point of the book itself. This also includes the decisions of the main character that lead to rising action and/or falling action in the book. This is pretty much the meaning behind the book and helps the reader understand what the author wanted us, as readers, to know as far as the main point of writing about the subject he or she chose. Then I am going to end it off with an ending statement of what I actually thought about the book summarizing what was talked about previously. Chinua Achebe’s, “Things Fall Apart”, take place in the lower villages of Nigeria, Africa. Further reading states these could possibly be the villages of Mbanta, Iguedo, and Umuofia (where it is most of the time) in the time period of the 1890s. The setting shows that the story could be about an African successor of some sort before even starting to read. The setting also sets the narrator’s tone for the story. It seems, by reading on, that the narrator is or was possibly a native of the villages by the way he talked and discussed


the actions of the characters. The narrator’s tone also show signs of sympathy for the characters which makes the reader believe he was once or still is a native of the village. Now I am going to discuss some of the key characters of the story and their significance in the story. After reading a couple chapters of the book, the reader can catch on to who the protagonist (main character) could be. I believe the main character is Okonkwo, a native of the village Iguedo. It was said that Okonkwo was a great warrior and he proved those words were correct by defeating the once undefeated Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling match. The Cat was undefeated for seven years before going down to Okonkwo. Okonkwo was trying everything he could not to be anything like his deceased father, Unoka. I remind you that Okonkwo was considered a warrior in his village because his father was the exact opposite. In the reading, the narrator states that Unoka didn’t like blood or the sight of blood so there was no warrior type qualities in him. Okonkwo prided on being active and being what he calls, “manly.” He always wanted to prove that laziness got you nowhere and he really despised lazy men because his father was nothing but a lazy man. His father would always borrow money and eventually lose any money he had. As a kid, Okonkwo remembered his father being unable to feed his family because he was so lazy and made them starve of hunger. So Okonkwo set the standards of a man to be everything his father wasn’t rejecting anything his father stood for. Okonkwo was married three times to three different wives and with that brought many children. While trying not to be like his father, Okonkwo eventually started having a hard time adjusting to the lifestyle he had. He started having trouble being a father and remaining relevant in the village he resided. As he started to realize that he cannot keep up, the reader was left wondering if he’d ever get it together.


The major conflict in this story has something to do with change. A change in tradition causes Okonkwo to become more irrelevant and his decision-making is weighed heavily to be negative. The renovations in tradition of Umuofia, brought about by the whites, were eventually followed by most of the villagers that caused the tradition of the village to take a sudden change; a change that Okonkwo could not keep up with. The theme for this conflict could possibly be the struggle between tradition and change. I think this theme fits because it describes that there was a change from traditional (original) to something new, which would be tough for anyone at any time. Another conflict would be the obvious of Okonkwo trying not to be anything like his father. I don’t blame him by the way he described his father. No strong willed man wants to be a lazy, weak individual who can’t provide for his family. Every man wants to be strong, stand on his own two feet and succeed both financial and physically. Things take a abruptly negative turn when Okonkwo is eventually exiled for unintentionally killing a member of the clan. To my understanding, Okonkwo believed that it was a court messenger. Okonkwo then starts to feel weak because of this. He starts to think he has no power, no respect, or support from the fellow villagers. Of course, when your own all take a stand to turn against you, one will feel betrayed and ashamed. This led to Okonkwo believing that not only he has become weak, but his clan has become weak as well. So what does he do? He separates himself from the trouble; the anguish of depression and the thought of becoming anything like his father was something he simply could not take. So like any coward that cannot take the pressure of becoming a failure, he commits suicide by hanging himself. For someone who doesn’t want to be a disgrace, failure, and weak individual, he sure went out like one.


This was a good book to me. I believe that it had much significance to the Nigerian villages in which were discussed in the book. The author wanted us to know about Okonkwo and his struggle to accept change in a traditional environment. He wanted us to see how failure could eventually lead to depression and downfall. I feel that the author was trying to tell us that Okonkwo ended up trying not to be anything like his father but, in some cases, ended up to be just like him. By reading, I can say I feel that Okonkwo went out like a coward because anyone who commits suicide is nowhere near a strong willed “manly” man. His whole life, Okonkwo was trying to set an example for his deceased father by being everything he couldn’t be. This eventually led to his downfall because he was so strung on being this dominant individual; he lost sight of what was really going on, which was change. Change was the main reason life was eventually hard for him. But overall, I believe the book to be a great read. In conclusion, “Things Fall Apart,” by Chinua Achebe was a book about nothing less than a traditional man struggling to change. The setting was said to be in about the 1890s in the villages in Nigeria. One village in particular, Umuofia was where most of the story took place. I’ve explained to you that Okonkwo was a native of Iguedo and was this great warrior of the Umuofia clan. His father, Unoka, was considered a weak, poor, and cowardly man. Okonkwo set out in his life to be everything his father couldn’t be. He later became a victim of change and found himself becoming weak and unable to provide just like his father. Unable to deal with the agony of becoming any split image of his father and realizing his clan was becoming weak, he decided to hang himself and commit suicide. The perfect story of how success plus anger and violence brings a strong willed man to become weak.


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