Things Fall Apart Essay

1569 words - 6 pages

Things Fall Apart

By Chinua Achebe
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
New York, New York
Copyright 1959

Author Biography

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, or Chinua Achebe, was born November 16, 1930, in Ogidi, Nigeria. His parents were Janet N. Achebe, and Isaiah Okafo, a teacher in a missionary school. Mr. Achebe was educated at the University College of Ibadan, but also attended Government College in 1944. He wrote his first novel, Things Fall Apart, in 1958. During the Biafran War, he was in the Biafran government service. After the war, Mr. Achebe taught at several universities, both in Nigeria and in the United States. In 1967 he cofounded a publishing company with a fellow author, Christopher Okigbo. Mr. Achebe’s later works include No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, and Anthills of the Savannah. A serious car accident left Mr. Achebe paralyzed from the waist down in 1990. The majority of his novels deal with Africans struggle to free themselves from European colonial and political influences, due to his experiences in the Biafran War and the Nigerian Civil War.

Main Characters

Okonkwo- Okonkwo is the main character in the novel. He is a distinguished man in the clan, and has been since a young age, when he established himself as a skilled wrestler. He had a very lazy father, and this was a source of much embarrassment to him, so to overcome this, he is an overbearing husband, and father. He feels that he always has to prove that he is different than his father, which is eventually his downfall.

Unoka- Unoka is Okonkwo’s father. He was a very lazy man and always an embarrassment to his family, especially his son. He is the reason that Okonkwo is so scared of failing.

Nwoye- Nwoye is Okonkwo’s son, and he is lazy and complacent, like his grandfather. Okonkwo’s way of changing this is to be especially hard on him, which drives him further away, eventually to join the missionaries.

Ezinma- Ezinma is Okonkwo’s daughter, and he is proud of her, even though he won’t show this because he thinks that it is a weakness. She is smart and pretty. Okonkwo wishes that she were a boy so that he could pass on his knowledge and fortune to her.

Mr. Brown- Mr. Brown is the first missionary to arrive in Umuofia. He is nice enough to the clan, so they decide to let him stay, but soon enough he brings others, both from the clan and from outside, into the church. The missionaries are what eventually bring Okonkwo to take his own life.

Principal Points of Plot

Conflict- The conflict in the novel Things Fall Apart is the conflict that Okonkwo has a lazy father and his struggle to be different and better than him.

Complication- The climax of the novel is when Okonkwo accidentally shoots a member of the clan and is banished for seven years. This is the climax because it signals the beginning of Okonkwo’s fall from a distinguished member of the clan.

Climax- The complication in the novel is when the missionaries come to Umuofia and create...

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