CHINUA ACHEBE - Things Fall Apart

   I first heard about Chinua Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart when I was much younger, but I took no interest in it because I felt that it was not my kind of book. However, I came across the book again and since it was highly recommended and based on Igbo-African culture, I had to read it. I felt that that from reading it, I would gain a lot more knowledge about my culture both as an African and as an Igbo girl.

The novel’s main theme concerns the pre- and post-colonial life in late 20th century in Nigeria, it also re-evaluates the colonial moment, as a significant phase in the historical development of the African people. But what I like is that it doesn’t just portray the pre and post colonial history but it also emphasizes the culture of the characters - the Igbo culture; I even learnt some new things myself.

Achebe portrayed Igbo life from the point of view of an African man, and used the language of his people, he was able to greatly influence African novelist, who viewed him as a mentor.
The novel portrays the life of Okonkwo - an Igbo leader & a wrestling champion in the fictional Umuofia village. It doesn’t just talk about his personal history. It also introduces the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community and how he was affected by it. The story of Okonkwo is a very peculiar one, his character affords the reader the opportunity to explore a complex range of emotions - at first I didn’t like him, but with time I started to understand his point of view and the motivation behind his actions, even if I didn’t agree with them.
I’m trying very hard not to give too much detail but it is clearly worth a read, especially if you’re interested in African culture.

Another thing about the novel, which I find extremely amazing is the use of proverbs. I took some time to underline some of my favorites while reading and I’m sure you’ll find them interesting, especially if you’re a word collector like me.

Among the Igbo the art of conversations is regarded very highly, and proverbs
are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.

Achebe’s novel is one that humanizes Africa; it doesn’t portray Africans as savages who were in need of western enlightenment, however, it presents its culture as intriguing, profound and elaborate enough to inspire the most considered literary treatment.
Achebe sees himself primarily as a teacher, and in “Things Fall Apart” he teaches all of us something new every time we return to the novel. Have you read any of Chinua Achebe’s novels?, what is your opinion of African Literature?, Did you at any point find them not worth reading?. Let’s have a chat in the comments.

-A.O Martina