Things Fall Apart – One of the Best Novels: Book Review

Things fall apart Novel Book review

Things Fall Apart is about the tragic hero Okonkwo, who does not want to leave his culture and values. It is all about Igbo culture and Umuofia community of Nigeria. The protagonist Okonkwo wins the wrestling by beating Amalinze the Cat and earns honour, fame, respect in his community and becomes a leader.

Before that, If we read the earlier life of the hero of the story ‘Things fall apart’, Okonkwo. It’s really a heart-touching. His father Unoka was a lazy person. He often borrowed money from others. So, they lived a difficult life. Whole community called Unoka as a failure. Unoka died and left debts.

Okonkwo had to work really hard, in order to remove the bad reputation of his family. He wanted to give his family a bright future. He worked in the fields and returns all debts. Okonkwo regretted on being the son of a lazy person (Unoka). He was violent, warrior and a leader since his childhood. He was given a young boy, Ikemefuna by neighbour village Mbaino in a peace treaty. Ikemefuna was a very loving child and meanwhile becomes a good friend of Okonkwo’s son, Nwoye.

Once Okonkwo beats his wife because she forgets to prepare food. These days were the weak of Peace and full of violence. An Oldman of Oracle tribe sent a message to Okonkwo that Ikemefuna should be killed in the revenge of Umoufian women, who was killed three years earlier. Accepting the message, with the help of his partner, he killed Ikemefuna. Nwoye realizes that his father has killed Ikemefuna, so he wanted to get separation from his father. Okonkwo becomes depressed after killing Ikemefuna and realized that he had done something very terrible in his life. To forget the regret, he went to visit his friend Obierika to share his feelings and get some relief.

Meanwhile, his friend, Ezeudu died, and he went to attend his funeral. During the funeral, his gun goes off and killed a sixteen-year-old son of Ezeudu. According to their tradition to kill his clansman is the crime against the goddess of the earth. So, Okonkwo and his family were exiled for seven years.

Okonkwo with his family went to Mbanta, to live and spend the years of punishment. His maternal uncle was there. He gives him land to build a compound. Okonkwo becomes sad and blames himself to become failure to lose his greatness and to lose his friends, home, and the fields.

Missionaries come in Mbanta to preach Christianity. Okonkwo believes that they are nonsense but his son Nwoye believes in them and becomes Christian. The Missionaries build Church on the land which was given to them by a village leader. The land was a part of Evil Forest and according to tradition, Missionaries will not going to survive there for a longer. But they were wrong, and missionaries managed to remain alive. Villagers thought they have some magical powers. So many villagers including women become Christian. Missionaries then went to Umuofia and build a school there. Nwoye also left the Mbanto and attended the school.

After completing exile years, Okonkwo returns to Umuofia. He observes that the village has totally changed in his absence. So many people have renounced their titles and become Christian. Whiteman has built a prison and established a government system. He wonders why Umuofians have not tried to get rid of Church and Whiteman. Mr Brown, the White Missionary, respected Igbo culture and befriends with Umoufians. He encouraged them to attend school. Okonkwo was afraid of changings of Umoufia.

Mr Brown becomes ill and to replace him, James Smith was sent to the Umoufia. He was very strict and against the clan system. It creates violence and Church was burnt to the ashes. District Commissioner imprisoned all the village leaders including Okonkwo and asked villagers to pay a fine of two-hundred and fifty bags of cowries. The people of Umoufia collected the money and paid in exchange for the release of the tribe leaders. All leaders were then released.


The next day at the meeting for clansman, five court messenger who intend to stop gathering approached to the group. Okonkwo jumps forward and holds a man in charge of the messengers. No other clansman attempted to stop the messengers. Okonkwo knows that they will now surrender him. So, he started feeling everything falling apart from him and thus he commits suicide by hanging himself.

This book shows the pro-colonial era of Nigeria and arriving of Europeans in Africa. This book is the most prominent African novel in English. It is part of the course in so many schools, colleges and universities in the entire world. It is widely read in Africa and all other English-speaking countries. Things Fall Apart is a milestone in African Literature. It also becomes famous in India, Austria and North America. Its more than 20 million copies have been sold in the world.

Things Fall Apart has generated the most critical responses and literary criticism. The New York Times included it in the list of TIMES 100 BEST ENGLISH-LANGUAGE NOVELS from 1923 to 2005. The novel is translated into more than fifty languages. Achebe is now considered as the essential novelist on African identity, nationalism and decolonization. This book tells about African culture and the history of colonization and it shows that Africa needs a leader to save their culture, language and identity.

Things Fall Apart encourages readers to become Hard-worker. Things Fall Apart helped other African writers to write in English. This novel helped other writers to focus on Africa and African culture and to write about them. Hilary Mantel Lists Things Fall Apart as one of her five favourite novels in this genre. The Importance of book can be seen from this line that Achebe’s fiction and criticism are continuing to inspire and influence writers around the world.

Favourite Lines of Things Fall Apart

There are so many great quotes and lines, which inspire readers. I am inspired by so many great lines from this novel: These are given below,

  • The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under it.

  • A proud heart can survive a general failure because such failure does not prick its pride.

  • A man who makes trouble for others is also making it for himself.

  • A child belongs to its father and his family and not to its mother and its family. A man belongs to his fatherland and not to his motherland and yet we say Mother is Supreme

  • It’s true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother’s hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good, and life is sweet. But when there are sorrow and bitterness, he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. And that is why the mother is supreme.”

Note: The author was supervised By Mr Farhan Ali Soomro (PhD Scholar) & Teaching Assistant Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management Sciences, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur.

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3 Thoughts to “Things Fall Apart – One of the Best Novels: Book Review”

  1. Nasir

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