Things Fall Apart by Chinua Acebe

Essay by jdperalta84High School, 12th grade May 2004

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Chinua Acebe's novel Things Fall Apart is a novel in which a perfect world indeed does fall apart.

Achebe begins the novel comparing and contrasting Okonkwo, an ambitious man, with his father Unoka, a failure. Okonkwo's determination to be successful comes from the shame and disappointment of his father. Okonkwo will live his life trying to be as different from his father as possible. Although Unoka is a failure, he serves as the heart of Okonkwo's motivation.

The title itself serves as a map for the plot making it evident that things will be good in the beginning and eventually "fall apart." Okonkwo is a very successful farmer who earns his clan's respect by overthrowing the wrestling champion. He is also a well respected warrior for the Umoufia clan.

Okonkwo's determination to be different from his father and temper help give him get a respectful reputation and ironically eventually leads to his fall.

Okonkwo is so stubborn and "emotionless" that it becomes his flaw. There is an incident in which he beats his wife during Peace Weak and leads to punishment by the clan. Okonkwo lives his life with strict rules and Umoufia follows the same standards making no exception for Okonkwo, a great warrior, when he kills Ezuedu's son. After fleeing because of the murder, Okonkwo's life starts to fall apart. He and his family must start from scratch. This is a good example of Okonkwo's strict life coming back to haunt him and lead to his fall.

Many years later Okonkwo returns to Umoufia and realizes that Christianity is the reason behind the splitting of the tribe. Okonkwo is forced to face reality and see that the European influence has caused his clan to fall apart. Okonkwo is taken hostage and...