Rationale for Things Fall Apart – C

Rationale for Things Fall Apart – C. Beamon with revisions by V. Person and A.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is set in Nigeria during the early 19th
Century before and during European colonization. The plight of the Ibo tribal culture is
depicted through the experience of protagonist Okonkwo, a warrior who rises to
prominence despite many difficulties in overcoming adversity. The novel traces
Okonkwo’s fall from power and his eventual tragedy after the British infiltrate and
destroy the native culture over time. The clash between tribal tradition and Western ideas
offers an opportunity for students to examine diverse cultures and to recognize the
importance of understanding and respecting worldviews different from our own,
significant because culture influences people’s thoughts and actions.
Things Fall Apart comes highly recommended and has been deemed as one of
the most important 100 books of all time by literary critics. The novel is frequently listed
among the must-reads for world literature and also builds a foundation for complex texts
found in most college-level English courses, including AP Literature and Composition.
The book’s rich description of tribal life offers a plethora of teaching
opportunities for examining the impact of imperialism and cultural differences,
specifically with a close analysis of character development. Additionally, the book
provides opportunity to analyze literary devices such as the classic tragic hero,
The book contains limited violence, a natural part of Nigerian tribal life but also
an impact of the colonialism; however, the violence is not graphically described. The
depiction of Western culture, including Christianity, as a negative influence, from
Okonkwo’s perspective, can be disturbing, but it is necessary in helping students see
Western culture from a different perspective. With careful thought, the students will
begin to appreciate the differences of various cultures while recognizing the effects of