Review of the book “Everything falls apart” by Chinua Achebe.
By Ander Terrones Arellano.

Chinua Achebe, one of the most famous African writers, wrote ‘Things Fall Apart’, his most important work, at the end of the 1950s. An author read and admired throughout the world, he gives us a vision of a tribe of the Igbo people, and it is especially interesting to see the vision that a native person and not a European interested in the continent gives us about it.

‘Everything falls apart’, originally written in English, shows a conflict between Christian missionaries and their acolytes between the inhabitants of that area and those who did not accept those who came from outside. Therefore, it is a novel of clash between cultures and religions, located in an area of ​​present-day Nigeria.

The story focuses on the family of Okonkwo’s character, one of the leaders of the Umuofia tribe. Through this man’s struggle to prosper through his strength and bravery in the complicated social, political and religious composition of the tribe, we are also shown the beginning of the decline of the traditions of the place. The arrival of Europeans and a new generation of inhabitants with new ideas will create conflicts that Okonkwo will try to resolve.

The most interesting thing about this novel is the different cultural expressions it shows and how, without falling into judgments of right and wrong, we are presented with a fictional story that represents the drastic change that the colonization of Africa brought about. The arrival of the Christian missionaries upsets part of the tribe, but especially Okonkwo, who believes he sees cowardly people around him.

It is precisely those thoughts of the protagonist that drive the work. Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, is shown to us at the beginning as a weak and lazy man. For this reason, his son wants to shake off his presence and, when he dies, he seeks to detach himself from his figure and be just the opposite of what Unoka was. He becomes a strict man with his children and violent towards him, which causes various conflicts with the rest of the town and with his religious traditions. What he wants most in the world is for his children to not look like his father, and scared by this, he believes he sees weakness in almost any action, which generates great frustration that he does not know how to manage.

The novel is short, barely 200 pages. It is divided into three parts, and the first of them is the one that introduces, calmly and taking its time, the world of the town of Umuofia. In ‘Everything Fall Apart’ most of it is presentation, since the main action and the outcome of the conflicts occur in the last pages. Therefore, the work serves and entertains us mainly because it shows us the organization of a tribe that is totally foreign to us and we do not understand. This work, one of the most important by an African author, is widely known in the world and catapulted Chinua Achebe to fame. It is considered the first of an African Trilogy that Achebe completed with ‘I would be glad of another death’ and ‘Arrow of God’.


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