Course Hero. "Things Fall Apart Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 July 2016. Web. 25 Feb. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Things-Fall-Apart/>.
Course Hero. (2016, July 28). Things Fall Apart Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Things-Fall-Apart/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Things Fall Apart Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed February 25, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Things-Fall-Apart/.
Course Hero, "Things Fall Apart Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed February 25, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Things-Fall-Apart/.
The story is set in the fictional village of Umuofia, Nigeria, in the late 1890s. Okonkwo, the protagonist, is a member of the Igbo tribe (spelled Ibo in the novel), an ethnic group that resides in nine villages by the lower Niger River in Southern Nigeria.
Years ago Okonkwo gained fame because of his wrestling exploits. He has since become a successful farmer with a large family, including three wives. Because of his respected position, Okonkwo is given responsibility for the boy Ikemefuna, who has been sent to the tribe from another clan as a way to avoid war and bloodshed.
Readers learn that Unoka, Okonkwo's father, was a lazy man who enjoyed music and talking. People did not respect him, and his family struggled. Unoka owed money to all of his neighbors and had no intention of paying his debts. His indebtedness left Okonkwo ashamed.
This chapter opens the first of three parts of the novel. In Part 1, readers meet Okonkwo, the novel's larger-than-life protagonist, and gain a sense of his almost mythic reputation. Achebe also provides a thorough introduction to Igbo culture before the devastating effects of colonialism.
In Chapter 1, readers become acquainted with both Okonkwo and the person whose behavior has shaped Okonkwo's character: his despised father, Unoka. The chapter presents these details about Okonkwo:
Why, then, does Okonkwo so readily resort to violence? He has no patience, particularly "with unsuccessful men." It's no coincidence that the most unsuccessful man in Okonkwo's life is his father, Unoka. Although Unoka has been dead for 10 years, he still influences Okonkwo's life. Readers learn the following about Unoka:
Okonkwo was ashamed of his father, and that shame drives him as an adult.