- Fizzy Thoughts: Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

Monday, January 14, 2008

Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe
1958
209 pages

I don't usually read "classics." Or older novels. For whatever reason, they don't really float my boat. However, I'm glad I expanded my horizons for this one. This was my choice for an African author...Chinua Achebe is Nigerian.

This is a short novel and a quick read, yet it still packs a punch. It is the story of Okonkwo, an important and wealthy village man. It is also a story of Igbo tribal life, both before and after the arrival of white missionaries and colonialism. Achebe does a wonderful job of portraying the day to day, and seasonal, activities of village life, telling how people lived, what they ate, and the stories they told. He shows readers an advanced society, with elaborate traditions.

Cue dark and threatening music. This is when the whites show up to convert and "civilize"
Africa. Unfortunately, Okonkwo, for all that he thinks he is extraordinary and in control of his fate, is simply an ordinary man going about his life, unaware of the coming changes. He is no match for the forces of change. When the white missionaries show up, things truly do fall apart. Okonkwo struggles against the changes, yet he cannot stand against the tide of colonialism.

Igbo oral tradition shines through in this book. Achebe shares a small piece of Igbo history and folklore. This is why I like this book. I remember slogging through Heart of Darkness in high school...I much refer Achebe's style and message.

3 comment(s):

Melissa said...

Glad you chose to read this one. It sounds delightful.

Becky said...

I'll have to try to remember this one. It sounds good.

Sarah said...

I read this a few years ago and remember not being able to put it down. I also preferred it to Heart of Darkness, despite some similar themes.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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