Things Fall Apart | Study Guide

Chinua Achebe

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

Set in 1800s Nigeria, Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, his family, and his clan. Focusing on Okonkwo’s rise and fall, it is both a tale of human relations and a commentary about foreign influence on local cultures. Okonkwo returns from exile to find missionaries have brought radical changes—changes he may not survive. The Challenge of Cultural Change THEMES Chinua Achebe 1958 English Novel Author Year Published Original Language Things Fall Apart Historical BetrayalOkonkwo feels betrayed by his son’s femininity and his clan’s passivity towards foreigners. Fate vs. Free WillBorn poor, Okonkwo exercis-es free will and works to become wealthy and raise his Culture & ChangeWhile many Ibo resist change, those who are outcasts welcome the Europeans and change. Author The Nigerian-born author is widely seen as the father of modern African literature. His first novel, the insightful social commentary Things Fall Apart, has been translated into more than 50 languages. Nelson Mandela said Achebe “brought Africa to the rest of the world.” CHINUA ACHEBE1930–2013 Main Characters OkonkwoStrong Ibo leader who falls from grace UnokaOkonkwo's lazy, flute-playing father Mr. Brown & Mr. SmithWhite Christian missionaries NwoyeOkonkwo's easy- going son EzinmaOkonkwo's bright, capable daughter IkemefunaBecomes like a son to Okonkwo District CommissionerRegional head of British government Obierika, Chapter 20 Additional novels Achebe wrote about Okonkwo’s family and other clans of the Ibo society 2 Years Okonkwo spends in exile with his family after he accidentally kills a member of his clan 7 Amount Achebe paid to have his manuscript typed up from his only handwritten copy £32 Languages into which Things Fall Apart has been translated >50 e has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart. Things Fall Apartby the Numbers Fire Okonkwo is known as the Roaring Flame and his blazing anger eventually destroys him. Yams Grown by Ibo men, yams symbolize masculinity, wealth, and respect. Locusts Locusts represent the arrival of British colonists— seemingly benign at first, then destructive. Symbols Sources: BBC News, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, The Independent, The New Yorker, Washington Post Copyright © 2016 Course Hero, Inc.

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