Summary of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Okonkwo is a wealthy and respected warrior of the Umuofia clan, a Nigerian tribe. He is constantly haunted by the actions of Unoka, his weak and unaccomplished father, who died in shame, leaving many village debts unsettled. To counteract his father’s bad reputation, Okonkwo became a strong warrior, successful farmer, and a wealthy family provider. 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.
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.
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.