Things Fall Apart

This novel starts out with a description of a wrestling contest twenty years before. What is the effect on the reader of such an opening.

This is from chapter 1

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Achebe takes any opportunity he can to tell us about a past incident which is only indirectly connected to his central story. These digressions allow him to flesh out his portrait of tribal life.

Ambition and greatness are two closely connected themes. Okonkwo is determined to be the opposite of his father. He has already taken two titles (honorary titles that give a man status in the tribe) and he is quite rich. Success and honor are very important to Okonkwo. He has worked his whole life to win the respect of his people. His work ethic and his ambition also give rise to his faults: he is a harsh man, quick to anger and without humility.