Things fall apart

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe's novel, "Things Fall Apart," is a well written narrative about the Ibo community in Nigeria, Africa. Achebe took the title of the novel from a poem called "The Second Coming," by W.B. Yeats. It appears that Yeats is making some judgement on the European way of thinking that was so greatly affecting the rest of the world at the time. The poem describes human flaws resulting in social collapse. Achebe successfully holds on to the same theme in "Thing Fall Apart," as the narrarator tells the story of a small African society and the British colonizers that come to take over the Ibo community introducing new religion, technology, and government.

Yeats' poem implies that the final invocation of collapse is lead by an anti-christ. Achebe does not trail away from this same idea. In his novel he introduces the colonizers as invasive religious men that ultimately lead the collapse of the Ibo community.

Achebe's initial purpose for writing "Things Fall Apart," was to illustrate the dynamics of African society. Until then, native Africans were judged as primitive. The most common adjective for the natives, as described by Joseph Conrad on behalf of western Europeans was "black." For example, in his novel, "Heart of Darkness," he writes, "A black figure stood up, strode on long black legs, waving long black arms...." In Achebe's essay, "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness," he writes that, " Heart of Darkness projects the image of Africa as 'the other world,' the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization." Achebe wrote his novel to tell the misunderstood story of African society.

In the novel, the narrator tells the story of an African culture in it's complexity, including religion, tradition, and even a government with a...