The Second Coming - Carroll County Schools

“The Second Coming”
William Butler Yeats and His Influence on Chinua Achebe
Achebe’s Access to Yeats
Although Chinua Achebe is from Africa, he
was educated in England and had a love
for English literature.
The title of his novel, Things Fall Apart,
comes from a poem by Irish Poet William
Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming” (1921).
Yeats was a poet, dramatist, critic and
Senator in Ireland (another country
colonized by the English), and was
devoted to building Irish culture and
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
Yeats’ Philosophy About History
Yeats believed that the cycle of history was divided into 2000-year
cycles, which he called “gyres.”
The first great era/cycle was the Classical Age (invasion of the mortal by
immortal – think Greek mythology)
Yeats believed that the Christian Era (another invasion of mortal by
immortal with birth of Christ) was coming to an end
and the one that would follow (unknown and unnamed
was heralded by the dissolution of civilization, a mark
of all major changes in human history (evidenced
by brutality and desolation of WWI.
The Gyre