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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural Awakening
Okonkwo epitomized a die-hard African traditionalist with a firm conviction in the destiny of his people, yet a man who failed to accept the inevitable changes in his world. Things fall apart exposes us to the culture of the Ibo people of Nigeria and brings out the characters to the understandable to the reader. In our own little ways, we are like Okonkwo, caught in a...
Published on Dec 20 2005 by Sancho Mahle

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story - bad book
Chinua Achebe is quite a writer, with beautiful descriptions and quite a touching story.
It's just that, though, that makes "Things Fall Apart" unfinishable. With too much descritption that blows an extremely slow plot out of proportion, a reader doesn't even know what the conflict is until halfway through this book. By that time, the reader will have read...
Published on July 18 2001 by Priscilla


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural Awakening, Dec 20 2005
By 
Sancho Mahle (Charlotte, USA) - See all my reviews
Okonkwo epitomized a die-hard African traditionalist with a firm conviction in the destiny of his people, yet a man who failed to accept the inevitable changes in his world. Things fall apart exposes us to the culture of the Ibo people of Nigeria and brings out the characters to the understandable to the reader. In our own little ways, we are like Okonkwo, caught in a world where we have little influence. The lesson is that No matter how powerful we are, we should not impose our wills on others, especially a will that reflects our egos and not the interest of humanity. Clash of cultures is what this book tells us about. Just as in THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES, OLD MAN AND THE MEDAL,TRIPLE AGENT DOUBLE CROSS,NO LONGER AT EASE,one gets a better idea of what Africans and other native peoples went through after being left with no choice but to accept the values and laws of the foreign powers that came into their lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why "Things Fall Apart" proves a point, Feb. 24 2000
This review is from: Things Fall Apart. (Paperback)
About a month ago I was assigned to read a book from a suggested reading list in my Lit. & Comp. course. Last Thursday I decided I should probably start looking for a book to read. Since "Things Fall Apart" was readily available, free, and short I decided to go for it. Starting out I thought it was pretty drab and boring. Talking about customs and rituals in some African tribe. "Who cares?" I thought. Slowly as I got deeper into the novel I was beginning to realize something. Achebe put all the tribal information in the beginning to prove something. He proved that we as WASPs aren't always right. The fact that we went into a foriegn country and automatically decided that what we knew was right and everything else is wrong emits the strongest sense of ego possible. Achebe tries to prove that Europeans destroyed much of this planets culture with Onkonkwo and his struggle with life. Okonkwo tried and tried to become the best by achieving all four of his lands titles only to be squashed in the end by a bunch of hypocritical Christians. Americans view themselves as knowing what's right for everyone. None of them see the other point of view. A person knows what's right for them; so let them make their own decision
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural Awakening, Jan. 26 2005
This review is from: Things Fall Apart (Paperback)
Okonkwo epitomized a die-hard African traditionalist with a firm conviction in the destiny of his people, yet a man who failed to accept the inevitable changes in his world. Things fall apart exposes us to the culture of the Ibo people of Nigeria and brings out the characters to the understandable to the reader. In our own little ways, we are like Okonkwo, caught in a world where we have little influence. The lesson is that No matter how powerful we are, we should not impose our wills on others, especially a will that reflects our egos and not the interest of humanity. Clash of cultures is what this book tells us about. Just like in The Usurper and Other Stories.
Also recommended: The Usurper and Other Stories, Mission to kala, The Old man and the Medal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic story, Feb. 22 2006
By 
Edward Tem (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This was one of the first books in African literature that I read and I was not disappointed. It is amazing. The larger than life character of Okonkwo is reduced to disillusioned man because he could not adapt to the changing times. The big lesson is that we should never attempt to have control of everything beyond ourselves.DISGRACE, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE are fine and hilarious books to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "classic" that really is, April 16 2002
This review is from: Things Fall Apart. (Paperback)
A thousand people have said this before me, but THINGS FALL APART is truly a wonderful piece of fiction. From the first pages, you are immersed in a beautiful, strange (to me, anyway), fascinating culture that comes through in every description, in the words that come from the character's mouths, in the conflicts between individuals and the clash of cultures, and especially in Achebe's direct, articulate, sparesely beautiful style.
As other reviewers have noted, it's usually not the best when you're being forced to read it for a class. But look at it this way: most books aren't. If you're in that situation, try to get past the coercion factor and the problem of grades, and read this book for yourself. It's a "classic" -- that's why they're making you read it -- and no one hates "classics" more than I, but THINGS FALL APART is much, much more than a "classic" work of fiction. It is a tragedy, deeply felt, that draws an unerring portrait of human nature and especially human conflict. It is a good story, and one beautifully told. It is an education you owe to yourself. And if that's still not enough: it's short.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Window Into an African Culture, March 29 2002
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This review is from: Things Fall Apart. (Paperback)
The main character of this novel, Okonkwo, is a man who is haunted by the shame of his lazy and cowardly father. Even after earning fame and respect in all of the 9 villages of his homeland, he is still controlled by the fear of becoming weak like his father. This fear often causes him to be cruel to his family or to take strange and thoughtless actions. The story follows Okonkwo as he is faced with a series of troubles: caring for a boy from another village who is doomed by his own father's actions, watching his favorite daughter approaching death, and finally seeing the possibility of the destruction of all his beloved traditions when a group of Christian missionaries comes to the village. This novel introduces you to a culture that is so opposed to American culture that you will be amazed to find yourself appreciating their rituals and superstitions. By the end of the novel, I felt that I understood Okonkwo's way of life so well that I could see the Christian missionaries and their effect on the village from his point of view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Universal Truths or Culture Clash?, March 25 2002
By 
booknblueslady (Woodland, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Things Fall Apart. (Paperback)
Things Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe in 1959 is a lasting study of how one man's strengths and weaknesses are universal qualities. So many of us vow to lead our lives differently than our parents and in that effort of identity and purpose allow the pendulum to swing too far in the opposite direction. Such is the case of Okonkwo, a proud Nigerian tribesman who is embarrassed by his father Unoka. While Unoka is popular, he is also lazy and fails to adequately provide for his family.
Okonkwo is an African Horatio Alger who lifted himself up from the poverty his father left him with to become an influential and successful man in his tribe. Okonkwo is not without vanities and frailties. As he once lived in shame over his father's laziness and poverty, so now he walks in pride, failing to see his imperfections and need for guidance by others. He is rightly proud of his accomplishments and feels his achievements somehow put him beyond the rules and mores that guide the tribal life. This is a story about how social systems work to control personal behavior and the consequences for ignoring them.
Things Fall Apart is and interesting and entertaining look at tribal life in pre and early colonial Nigeria. It details daily life in a tribe, carefully examining superstitions and laws which guide the day to day living. Throughout the book tribal myths and stories are interspersed to illustrate how a cultures mythology effects there everyday living.
Things Fall Apart works on two levels. In part it is a character study which reveals universal truths for individuals living in any society and secondly it is a study of a society which existed prior to the colonization of Nigeria. Both levels make this book a valued one. It is a relatively short novel and a quick read.
I recommend the book for anyone who is interested in learning about Africa and learning about human nature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Center Cannot Hold, Feb. 8 2002
By 
Doug Anderson (Miami Beach, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Things Fall Apart. (Paperback)
Achebes novel of life in an Igbo village is very enjoyable and interesting as it depicts characters with human qualites and flaws that are very recognizable. Especially memorable are scenes of a witch(who lives outside the tribe but is seen to be an integral part of it), the yam festival, and the way the tribe deals with imbalance within. The organic structure of the tribe is especially appealing and apparent as its self-regulating laws and beliefs are a built-in way of maintaining continuity with the past and maintaining a balanced way of life . What the tribe cannot portend is the arrival of the colonist.
Achebe said he wrote this, his first, book because he did not recognize his country in the way that white authors like Conrad and Joyce Cary depicted it. In fact in addition to being a novelist Achebe has achieved much notoriety as an essayist and spokesman for postcolonial peoples. One particular essay is often cited as a seminal text in the field,"An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness".
Also by Achebe: Man of the People, Arrow of God(these two, both written in the sixties, complete the trilogy begun with Things Fall Apart,1958). And the excellent, Anthills of the Savannah(1988)about a modern African leader who slowly becomes a despot and his group of friends which include a reporter.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cultures and conflicts, Jan. 15 2002
THINGS FALL APART begins fable-like, telling us a story of Okonko, who is almost a Homeric hero. Honor and masculinity are integral to his character, and what he perceives in his father as laziness and femininity no doubt plays a role in his concern for these qualities. Two major events cause a major change in his life. As a result of an accident, he is cast out of his village for seven years. The other event is the coming of Europeans and their spreading of Christianity.
There is little idealized in the town of Umuofia, where Okonko lives. The lives of the portrayed characters is not shown to be either easy or humane. And the missionaries in this book don't bring pure evil. The converts are converted of their own accord, and due to a trading store, "much money flowed into Umuofia." This book is fortunately free of moralizing. Things fall apart, but new ways are formed, and these ways may be better or worse than the old ways. Still, Achebe's novel is not blind to the destruction that the missionaries bring, and the brutality of their increasing power, which is moving towards domination.
Achebe shows skillfully the dilemmas and problems of two cultures clashing that misunderstand each other. I just watched Nicolas Roeg's film "Walkabout" a few days ago, and though they are quite different stories, they have many parallels, such as the curious ending scene. More importantly, the theme of the mystery of culture, and destruction and self-destruction remain the same. In an age where globalization seems to be the key economic topic, it is crucial that we understand the variety of life on earth, the histories we are involved in, and the need for communication and understanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Things Fall Apart, Dec 27 2001
This review is from: Things Fall Apart. (Paperback)
Chinua Achebe's 1959 novel, "Things Fall Apart" is an extraordinarily well written and moving work. It explores the traditions and cultural practices of the Ibo people of Nigeria in Western Africa at a moment of dramatic, astounding, horrific transition. Achebe provides us with a narrative seen through the perspective of Okonkwo, a man of quality and power in his village. At the same time, Achebe's deep knowledge of European and American literature and the effects of European cultures on the native culture of Nigeria courses through the novel.
"Things Fall Apart" begins with the recounting of Okonkwo's history - his rise from a family with a poor, indolent father to being a wealthy and successful farmer, warrior, and leader. When a neighbouring village offends his own, Okonkwo represents his villages interests in a conference, in which retribution returns with Okonkwo in the form of Ikemefuna, who is sentenced to death, but forms a vital link in Okonkwo's strictly run household between himself and his own son, Nwoye. The action of the novel follows the ramifications of the culturally-demanded execution of Ikemefuna on Okonkwo and his family.
Achebe's novel shows an astute sense of awareness of the various political structures of Ibo society. Particularly, gender relations are brought into high relief throughout the novel - the councils led by men; their rank and status signalled in part by the number of wives a man has; and by Okonkwo's insistent, but shielded love for his daughter Ezinma, whom he continually wishes was a man. Relationships between families are complicated with the coming of European colonists whose Christianity and industry endanger the Ibo way of life.
With tightly controlled narrative and emotionally understated elegance, Achebe's novel presents a proud individual, Okonkwo, representing the final undisturbed generation of a long-lived people. His internal and external struggles are compelling and for the receptive reader, potentially devastating. A brilliant novel.
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Things Fall Apart: A Novel
Things Fall Apart: A Novel by Chinua Achebe (Paperback - April 21 2009)
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