Things Fall Apart. Chinua Achebe 1958. Last modified on 05/5/1998 . Basic Ideas in Achebe’s Novels.
Things Fall Apart
Last modified on 05/5/1998
Basic Ideas in Achebe’s Novels
Things Fall Apart- Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart is Chinua Achebe’s response to inaccurate portrayals of African civilization by British writers. The novel reiterates how colonization by European missionaries changed Igbo society after Nigeria was claimed. Leslie Omoara wrote that in this novel we see "only the beginning of the subjection of a people to an alien will".Arrow of God- This novel picks up where Things Fall Apart leaves off, showing further impacts of imperialism. It also illustrates an important theme in Achebe’s novels, in that it reinstates the validity of life without white man’s interference. Achebe’s belief in the importance of dialogue is shown in this novel, as well as others. Almost all novels by Achebe contain proverbs in them.No Longer At Ease- Corruption is the underlying theme in this novel. The novel is a flashback answering one simple question: Why does an educated man succumb to bribes?A Man of the People- This novel is a satire on political motivations in post-independence Nigeria.
3rd Most populous ethnic group in Nigeria
Lived in villages based on male lineage
All male heads of household were related on father’s side
Villages shared a market and meeting place
Also believed in similar ancestral spirits
Villages arranged in clans of approx. 5,000 people
Diala: free adult malesosu: religious outcasts; priests to the godsIbo treated osu with contemptohu: slaves captured in war Chukwu: common god of allChi: each person’s protective ancestral spirit; each person, clan, and village had one
agbala: woman or man with no title
kotma: court messenger
ogbanje: child who repeatedly dies and returns to its mother’s womb
iwi-uwa: a stone which connects a changeling to the spirit world
cowry shells: money
efulefu: worthless man
foo foo: pounded yam
obi: male living quarters
iba: a fever
nso-ani: abhorred religious offense
agadi-nwayi: old woman
ekwe: a wooden drum
kola: a a stimulant similar to coffee
No culture is static; refusal to change or to adjust will not stop the process.
Okonkwo represents a traditional view of masculine power: he is physically strong,
courageous and hardworking but incapable of compassion and humility
Individuals derive strength from the societies to which they belong; when that relationship fails Okonkwo, he commits suicide
Main God Is ChukwuCreator of the worldand of lesser deitiesThe will of the deities is revealed through the oracles.Ani: earth goddesswho regulates life Ugwugwu: Represent the ancestral spiritsChielo: Priestess of Agbala
Okonkwo realizes that the hostage boy Ikemefuna is more manly than Nwoye, yet he feels he must kill him to appear manly.
Proud Okonkwo is banished to the clan of his mother.
Nwoye rejected Okonkwo just as Okonkwo rejected his own father
Shows rich, positive view of African culture
Gives Africans a vision of their past
Different from typical African novel told from European point of view
Precursor to pluralism
Affirmation and acceptance of diversity
Title implies cultural breakdown is not limited to Ibo society; it is universal
To refuse to accept change is to be destroyed by it
Style and Point of View
1914 Nigeria is created as a political entity
1861: Official British control
1866: Nigeria becomes separate British colony
British traded in palm oil; missionaries converted
Colonialism was ending when TFA was published
Nigeria gained independence in 1960
Yoruban (southwestern Nigerian) beaded crowns.
Dancing to tribal Christian rhythms.
A Nigerian farm, possibly similar to that of Okonkwo.