Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

August 4, 2017
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Chinua Achebe described a village in Nigeria, and on every page the writer communicates vivid pictures. All of the details in the story were there for the audience to taste and feel how strong the language could be.


Okonkwo was a strong man in the village who thought people who lived like his father were women. He thought that because they were cowards and did not fight, that they became soft when they faced a challenge. Okonkwo did not like that type kind of person, so he became the opposite. He became a warrior with several titles, with three wives, and multiple children. He started farming at young age, but all on his own. Neither his father nor his mother helped him, and he had bad luck in his first year as a farmer. However, the gods treat everyone the same, and Okonkwo shortly succeeded. After those tests, his heart became hard and cold, but not enough to cut the connection between himself and his sons. There came one day that he was forced to kill one of his “sons”. Okonkwo did not eat nor sleep for three days straight.  The only thing he did was to drink palm wines.  He was a large man, sitting in the corner of his obi, staring at the ceiling for days. He was the image of pain. That was the first time that Okonkwo tasted that kind of pain, just like what mothers feel when they have lost their babies.  The difference between Okonkwo and his father was that he has more friends to talk to, based on his power, but his father would never have done such things like that.

The system Okonkwo lives under is fascinating. People are different from Chinese and American people. Even though the place is in middle of the world, it is similar to Chinese and Japanese cultures.  Unfortunately, the Europeans colonized Nigeria, and Okonkwo’s village, Umuofia. By this time, Okonkwo got kicked out of his village because he shot someone at a funeral. However, he still had his ambition to be the greatest man in his whole village. The Christian Missionaries changed the village, and came with a whole new system. They built a church and later a school. They successfully used the ignorance of the Umuofia people who, when they realized something was happening to their own village, knew that it was too late to stop it.

The ending for Okonkwo would not be called perfect. He tried to change the village by himself, and he is the person who knows they need to be strong like warriors, and not like cowards. But people in Umuofia did not think about it, they think being soft is the same with politeness. They were too innocent to touch the outside world, and compared to the experienced Europeans, they are like babies. They do not know the darkest thing in the world is people’s heart. There are only a few white people in the village, and the rest of them are the people from Umuofia, which are their own families. Okonkwo later hanged himself because after he killed one Christian, the whole village was behind him and he was doing what they need to do. But, there were no others to help him, no one gave applause, no one cheers. What left was questions and people who were not his people anymore. The times had changed and there was no place for Okonkwo to live. Therefore, he hanged himself. He knew that if there was to be fight between his people and the Christians, that it would become a fight between brothers, maybe even between sons and wives. But the kindness of the people did not allow them to do it.

Okonkwo once reached his highest point, and he saw Umuofia falling down in helplessness. It was not his fault; it was not anyone’s fault. Things fall apart, and sometimes there is no one to prevent disaster, even if you have heart.

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