Things Fall Apart Summary

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Things Fall Apart is one of the first novels by the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe and is the most popular book in modern African literature. The novel was first published in 1958 and is very popular all around the world. The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, leader of the Ibo tribe and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia. Chinua Achebe was himself a part of the Igbo (Ibo) tribe. The story takes place in Nigeria around 1890, mostly in the villages Umuofia and Mbanta, close to the east bank of the Niger River. The action covers approximately 15-20 years but some scenarios from the past are also viewed to further the reader's understanding of the characters' background. The people of Umuofia live in huts and…show more content…
He was well known and a strong man. When he was eighteen he defeated the greatest wrestler in the village and was revered after that. His father was a disgrace and died ten years before the main story begins. Okonkwo was chosen by the elders to take care of Ikemefuma, a boy taken by the village as a peace settlement after his father killed an Umufomian woman. Okonkwo liked the Ikemefuma and he looked up to Okonkwo and saw him as his father. An oracle in the village said that the boy must die but the oldest man in the village, Ezeudu, tells Okonkwo not to partake in the murder for it would like killing his own child. Okonkwo did not want to seem weak so he killed the boy. Shortly after, Ezeudu dies and during a gun salute at his funeral, Okonkwo's gun explodes and a piece of metal went through and killed Ezeudu's son. Okonkwo and his family are exiled for seven years so they go to his mother's hometown Mbanta. While in Mbanta, Okonkwo learned that white people came to Umuofia to introduce Christianity. The villagers started to convert so the foothold of the white people grew and a new government was introduced. When Okonkwo returned from exile, he saw that the village had changed with the presence of the white people. He and other tribal members destroyed a local Christian church to reclaim their hold on their native land. The leader of the white government took them prisoner and demanded a ransom for them, he also shaved their…show more content…
Understanding that his clan would not go to war, Okonkwo wipes his machete and leaves. After this, the local leader of the white government came to Okonkwo's house to take him to court. He found a small group of men sitting in front of Okonkwo's house. They told him that Okonkwo was not at home. After asking a couple of times, the man became angry and demanded that they take him to Okonkwo. They took him to Okonkwo to discover that he had hanged himself. He commited suicide rather than be tried in a colonial court. This action ruined his reputation and was considered an abomination. The conflict is between the traditional society of Umuofia and the new customs introduced by the white people, which are adopted by many of the tribe members. Okonkwo also tries to be as different from his departed father as possible. He is weak, lazy and effeminate so Okonkwo strives to be masculine, strong and respected. The story is told in chronological order with some emerging flashbacks which makes the plot simple to follow. Major themes in the story are greatness and masculinity. Okonkwo is determined to be a powerful and strong as possible. He rises from humble beginnings to a position of power and leadership and is also a wealthy man. He is decisive and tenacious but his greatness emanates from the same features that are the origin of his shortcomings. He is haunted by a fear of failure and that is what makes

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