Things Fall Apart

People, Identity & Culture
Chinua Achebe
Age Group:
14 and up
People, Identity & Culture

Two intertwining stories center on the rise and fall of Okankwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. Okankwo worked his whole life to overcome his father’s weakness and has achieved great prosperity and respect among those in his village. Okankwo, however, rules his household with a heavy hand and his wives and children fear his fiery temper. Okankwo’s sense of manliness is more akin to that of his warrior ancestors than to that of his fellow clansmen who have converted to Christianity and are appeasing the British administrators who infiltrate their village. Okankwo’s fear of being perceived as weak, a fear that initially helps him achieve great power, is the same fear that ultimately leads to his fall.

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