Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart as a Postcolonial Novel

In 1958, an influential novel named “Things Fall Apart” was published by Chinua Achebe, which became a significant cornerstone in the realm of postcolonial literature. This remarkable piece of work delves into the profound consequences of colonialism on African culture, specifically focusing on the Igbo society in Nigeria. Through the narrative of Okonkwo, the main character, Achebe unveils the intricate challenges and struggles faced by the Igbo people as they confront the arrival and influence of European colonizers. By examining “Things Fall Apart” through a postcolonial lens, we can gain valuable insights into themes such as cultural clashes, identity exploration and resistance against colonial dominance.

Postcolonial Literature and “Things Fall Apart”

Postcolonial literature encompasses works that critically explore how colonialism and imperialism impact societies that were colonized. It aims to challenge dominant narratives while giving voice to marginalized perspectives and delving into the complexities surrounding cultural identities. “Things Fall Apart” serves as an exemplary illustration of postcolonial literature since it provides a nuanced depiction of Igbo culture and its encounter with European colonial forces.

Pre-Colonial Igbo Society

Prior to the Europeans arrival, Igbo society thrived with its distinctive customs, beliefs and social structures. The Igbo people possessed a vibrant culture deeply rooted in their own traditions and mythology. They embraced ancestral spirits power, worshipped various deities both malevolent and benevolent alike, all while maintaining a profound reverence for nature.

The community was structured into clans, each having their own unique traditions and leadership. The Igbo community highly esteemed qualities like strength, courage and integrity and they had a rich tapestry of elaborate rituals and ceremonies that bound their society together.

Exciting Topic: Postcolonialism and Key Points in Postcolonial Theory

The Arrival of the Europeans

The novel vividly depicts the moment when Europeans first enter the Igbo society, bringing their own values, beliefs and technologies. This arrival disrupts the existing social order and poses challenges to the Igbo way of life. The Europeans introduce Christianity, modern education and a new economic system that fundamentally alters the dynamics of the Igbo community. The clash between traditional Igbo culture and European colonial culture becomes the central conflict in the novel.

Cultural Clash and Identity Crisis

“Things Fall Apart” delves into the deep tensions and conflicts that arise when two cultures collide. The Igbo people find themselves torn between preserving their own traditions and assimilating into the dominant European culture. This clash triggers an identity crisis as individuals struggle to navigate a changing world while grappling with questions of cultural authenticity and self worth.

Okonkwo, the protagonist of this story, personifies this struggle. He embodies a proud and traditional Igbo warrior who fiercely resists European influence encroaching upon his society. Okonkwo symbolizes the conflict between old traditions and new influences—an ongoing battle to preserve cultural heritage despite overwhelming external forces. His tragic downfall serves as a metaphor for both the destruction of Igbo society and its gradual erosion of cultural identity.

Resistance and Resilience

While the novel “Things Fall Apart” depicts the devastating consequences of colonialism, it also showcases the unwavering strength and resilience of the Igbo people. Despite the numerous challenges they encounter, the Igbo community remains steadfast in their commitment to preserving their cultural heritage and finding ways to resist and adapt in the face of changing circumstances. Throughout the book, acts of resistance are depicted, both subtle and overt, as individuals from the Igbo community navigate the complexities imposed by colonial dominance.

The Importance of Language and Narrative

Through his exceptional use of language, Achebe challenges prevailing colonial narratives and amplifies marginalized voices. He chooses to write the novel in English, which was the language used by colonizers, but masterfully incorporates elements of Igbo language such as words, proverbs and idioms. This blending of languages serves as a potent instrument for reclaiming cultural identity and disputing notions of linguistic and cultural superiority.

The narrative structure employed in “Things Fall Apart” defies conventional Western storytelling conventions. Achebe skilfully integrates traditional Igbo storytelling techniques like proverbs and folklore to craft a multilayered narrative that authentically reflects both the richness and intricacies of Igbo culture. Through these narrative devices, Achebe presents an alternative perspective to Eurocentric viewpoints while providing valuable insights into the Igbo worldview.

Legacy and Impact

It is worth noting that “Things Fall Apart” has left an indelible mark on literature, academia and postcolonial studies.This novel has gained immense popularity and has been extensively analyzed in the field of African literature. Its impact goes well beyond just the literary domain. It has motivated numerous writers, scholars and activists to delve into subjects such as decolonization, cultural identity and the lasting effects of colonialism.


In conclusion, the novel “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe beautifully represents the essence of postcolonial literature. It explores the intricate dynamics of colonialism, the clash between different cultures and the resilience of those who are marginalized. Through the captivating story of the Igbo society, Achebe raises thought provoking questions about how colonial domination impacts cultural identity and the struggle for self determination.

“Things Fall Apart” stands as a powerful testament to how literature can challenge prevailing narratives and give voice to those who have been silenced. It serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring consequences of colonialism and the ongoing battle for cultural preservation and liberation.


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