Things Fall Apart: With Related Readings

Things Fall Apart: With Related Readings

by Chinua Achebe
     
 

At the end of the nineteenth century, the Igbo people of West Africa faced a formidable enemy. Queen Victoria of England had claimed their land as part of the British Empire, and soon the British imperial forces would conquer them and -- with European law, religion, and material goods -- change Igbo life forever. Okonkwo is a clan leader of the Igbo village of Umuofia…  See more details below

Overview

At the end of the nineteenth century, the Igbo people of West Africa faced a formidable enemy. Queen Victoria of England had claimed their land as part of the British Empire, and soon the British imperial forces would conquer them and -- with European law, religion, and material goods -- change Igbo life forever. Okonkwo is a clan leader of the Igbo village of Umuofia. Known as the "Roaring Flame" for his prowess in war, he has built his own fortune and is considered one of the greatest men of his time. Okonkwo attributes his success to his own inflexible will. But in this new fight, that blind determination will bring about Okonkwo's downfall. This complete study edition of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart includes information about the history of Nigeria and the culture of the Igbo, as well as questions, writing ideas, and projects. Related readings are included to give you new perspectives.

Editorial Reviews

Sacred Fire

Things Fall Apart is one of the most widely read African novels ever published. It is written by one of Nigeria’s leading novelists, Chinua Achebe. Set in the Ibo village of Umuofia, Things Fall Apart recounts a stunning moment in African history—its colonization by Britain. The novel, first published in 1958, has by today sold over 8 million copies, been translated into at least forty-five languages, and earned Achebe the somewhat misleading and patronizing title of "the man who invented African literature." It carefully re-creates tribal life before the arrival of Europeans in Africa, and then details the jarring changes brought on by the advent of colonialism and Christianity.

The book is a parable that examines the colonial experience from an African perspective, through Okonkwo, who was "a strong individual and an Igbo hero struggling to maintain the cultural integrity of his people against the overwhelming power of colonial rule." Okonkwo is banished from the community for accidentally killing a clansman and is forced to live seven years in exile. He returns to his home village, only to witness its disintegration as it abandons tradition for European ways. The book describes the simultaneous disintegration of Okonkwo and his village, as his pleas to his people not to exchange their culture for that of the English fall on deaf ears.

The brilliance of Things Fall Apart is that it addresses the imposition of colonization and the crisis in African culture caused by the collapse of colonial rule. Achebe prophetically argued that colonial domination and the culture it left in Africa had such a stranglehold on African peoples that its consequences would haunt African society long after colonizers had left the continent.

Readers Catalog
Achebe's most famous novel brilliantly portrays the impact of colonialism on a traditional Nigerian village at the turn of the century. Its hero, Obi Okonkwo, epitomizes both the nobility and the rigidity of the traditional culture.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Achebe's powerful critique of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness as a racist mirror of Eurocentric attitudes leads off this challenging collection of essays on art, literature and social issues. The famed Nigerian novelist ( Things Fall Apart ) views literature as a medium that can help Africa regain a belief in itself to replace a posture of self-abasement instilled by its traumatic historical encounter with the West. Tributes to novelists Amos Tutuola and Kofi Awoonor, as well as discerning appraisals of writers such as V. S. Naipaul and James Baldwin, reflect his belief in the power of fiction to give us a ``handle on reality.'' Overall, these concise essays deliver a forceful commentary on Afro-American life and letters. Summing up Nigeria's recent sociopolitical history as ``a snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory,'' Achebe calls active participation in the political process a prerequisite for his country's, and Africa's, regeneration. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Because the Nigerian novelist Achebe usually writes in English, his essays are informed by a sense of encounter between Africa and Europe. In this collection Achebe attacks patronizing Western views of African culture with gusto. Focusing on the role of the writer, he considers literature--written and oral--as a social force. As literary theory, the prophetic, moralizing kind of criticism Achebe favors would need more stringent argument and more careful dissection of opposing views. Beyond that, libraries holding his earlier book, Morning Yet on Creation Day (o.p.), will already have five of the best essays here. Still, the present title has obvious value for African studies collections. Also, since Achebe's novels are frequently assigned in English courses, students might find helpful background here.-- Donald Ray, Mercy Coll. Lib., Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
School Library Journal
YA-- Gathered together are 20 short stories written between 1980-1991. They are divided by region: five stories from Southern Africa; two from Central Africa; five from East Africa; two from Northern Africa; and six from West Africa. Region is important for, in many cases, the issues of the area are reflected in the selections. As an example, those from South Africa use racism as a major theme. Several have strong maternal figures struggling to provide for their families under intolerable burdens. While many of the authors are new, there are some well-established names. Nadine Gordimer's ``Amnesty'' beautifully describes the harshness of life in South Africa. The writing is mature, and the themes and moods are many, ranging from mystical to magical to supernatural to realistic. This anthology is a worthwhile addition to any library collection serving YAs.-- Pat Royal, Crossland High School, Camp Springs, MD
The Readers Catalog
Achebe's most famous novel brilliantly portrays the impact of colonialism on a traditional Nigerian village at the turn of the century. Its hero, Obi Okonkwo, epitomizes both the nobility and the rigidity of the traditional culture.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821924129
Publisher:
EMC/Paradigm Publishing
Publication date:
01/01/2002
Series:
The EMC Masterpiece Series Access Editions
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
232

What People are saying about this

Nadine Gordimer
[Achebe is] gloriously gifted, with the magic of an ebullient, generous, great talent.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >