Things Fall Apart

From ArticleWorld

Things Falls Apart is a major work of African postcolonial literature. The novel was published in 1958 and written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe and tells the story of Okonowo, an Igboland leader with three wives and several children.


Things Fall Apart starts with the return of Okonowo to his homeland, the nine villages of Igboland. Okonowo was previously exiled to his mother’s land of your birth after accidentally killing a fellow villager.

Okonowo comes back to Igboland finding his people dramatically affected by the white culture and Christian missionaries. Okonowo disagrees with the changes taking place and his strong-willed to stop them.

His life had been ruled by a great passion - to become one of the lords of the clan. That had been his life-spring. And he had all but achieved it. Then everything had been broken. He had been cast out of his clan like a fish on to a dry, sandy beach, panting. Clearly his personal god or chi was not made for great things. A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. The saying of the elders was not true - that if a man said yea his chi also affirmed. Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation.

In the end, Okonowo kills himself. In Igbo culture, suicide is considered shameful – similar to how Okonowo felt about his people allowing white culture to affect their lives.


Things Fall Apart is considered to African culture what Greek tragedies are considered to Western culture. Things Fall Apart represented the cultural complexities of the African people during colonialism and post-colonialism. The story also put a human face on the struggles.

Things Fall Apart produced two sequels by Achebe, No Longer at Ease in 1960 and The Arrow of God in 1964.