Things Fall Apart

Why Things Fall Apart

“The white man is very clever…He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart is a prime example of African literature that demonstrates the clash between cultures and peoples that occurred across the African continent as a consequence of European colonialism. The novel is set in the 1890’s in the lower region of Nigeria and creatively paints a picture of the complex social institutions and traditions of Ibo culture prior to its contact with Europeans. The consequences of this contact are quickly revealed as Achebe artistically introduces the reader to the changes that have taken place on various levels among the Ibo people indigenous to the region. The author’s choice of the title “Things Fall Apart” was not simply a creative decision but a message on the book’s cover alluding to the changes that take place in the novel—a culture and people quite literally fall apart because of their contact with white European missionaries and colonialists during the late nineteenth century.

The way in which Achebe has constructed his novel demonstrates the motivation behind his work and his desire to create an accurate representation of one of many indigenous ethnic...

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