Summary of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Okonkwo strives to make his way in a world that seems to value manliness. He becomes stoic to a fault. His tragic flaw was that he equated manliness with rashness, anger, and violence, and this brings about his own destruction.
However, he declares that he must be “firm in leaving out superfluous details.” There is no room for artful, Igbo-like rhetoric in his tale of conquest. The narrative the Commissioner envisions is one that would make for “interesting reading,” that is, a written rather than oral story, which entertains rather than communicates values and customs. The Commissioner’s writing sounds the death knell for the Igbo culture, its rejection of the Igbo’s prized oral narration and elaborate rhetoric symbolizing the European conquering of Africa and subsequent uprooting of its traditions.
His resistance to their entry leads him to kill one of the white administrators, and he is unable to handle the pressure he faces due to the pending murder charges (Achebe 2004 p. 88). This drives him to commit suicide and the previously celebrated Okonkwo dies an outcast and a shame to the society.
He did a really great job and made his masterpiece available for many people, writing Things Fall Apart in clear English.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 2004. Print.
Gikandi, Simon. Reading Chinua Achebe: Language & Ideology in Fiction. Oxford: James Currey Publishers, 1991.
Mallison, Jane. Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007.