Everything Falls Apart Review: An Important African Novel (2023)

'Things fall apartit is a hugely important novel that shines not only for the relevance of its themes but also for the poignancy built into its simplicity and the grandeur that lies behind an apparently simple plot. It is the most prestigious work of African literature. Here we find out what he does'things fall apart'so worthy of that gigantic reputation.

an important novel

Before Achebe wrote'Things fall apart“Students who learned about Africa through novels had to read works like Joyce Cary”Mr Johnson', e Joseph Conrads'heart of darkness.” They are supposedly respectable literary works with a clean reputation that intend to faithfully portray the African man.
In fact, these works only served to further the imperialist goals of the European colonizers, portraying Africans as lovesick simpletons, at best, or primitive animals, at worst. Joyce Cary's work typifies the African within a very limited and specific category: that of the passionate and emotional, yet simple, individual. What "Things Fall Apart" did was introduce Africans to a broader range of attributes that marked them as fully human, with typically human strengths and weaknesses. So we have people like Okonkwo and Nwoye who have very different worldviews and temperaments. We also have people like Obierika who fall between the two types of characters.

Achebe is building an Umuofia society with a very sophisticated way of life and institutions. The people of Umuofia judged disputes based on the imperative of maintaining the harmony and cohesion of society. They had elaborate wedding rituals that emphasized a greater sense of family and community. They buried their dead with great respect and fanfare. However, it was also a very patriarchal society that marginalized women, killed twins, and expelled people with certain debilitating illnesses. While this is a society that did very well with the sophistication in medicine and technology that the West had to offer, it was by no means the primitive, cannibalistic society full of bloodthirsty savages that people like Conrad portrayed in their books. Achebe's book is important because it offers a truer picture of Africa, one that shows much more respect for Africans and values ​​their humanity.

'things fall apart'It may be a fairly easy read, with a style that doesn't seem up to the high standards of Western style, but it's no less powerful. With a structure and style more in keeping with African than Western oral tradition, Achebe's work demonstrates its authenticity and strength. The work is structured to strongly imitate traditional African forms. The novel is divided into three unequal parts, the first part being as large as the second and third together. The first part is so good only because so much time is spent on the events that showcase the culture and traditions of the people of Umuofia rather than advancing the plot.

The narrative nostalgically dives into agricultural practices, religion, marriage, burial customs, and the community's legal system before returning to the plot at the end. This narrative structure does not correspond to Western literary forms, but has its roots in the oral traditions of African storytelling. Igbo speakers often avoid a topic by dealing with side events before finally finding it. With the arrival of the white man and his religion, the plot advances at breakneck speed, as if signaling the swift end of that society of Umuofia that Achebe had described for so long.

'things fall apart'He is known not only for the originality and topicality of his songs, but also for his style. Achebe's command of the English language earned him critical acclaim. The critic Obumselu praised Achebe for maintaining a literal fidelity to the Igbo words and contexts he translated into English.
He felt that Achebe managed to preserve the local character of these words and contexts. His thoughts were echoed by critic G. Adali Morty, who succinctly observed in 1959 that Achebe's use of language "has the timbre and rhythm of poetry. Deep in the words is the growing syncopation of the sound of Africa: the gongs, the drums, castanets and horns”.

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The novel's reputation as an authentic work is also reinforced by its apparent objectivity and lack of bias and agenda. Achebe's decision not to go to the other extreme and to combat racist representations of African society with idealized representations of the same society earned him praise from the likes of Gerald Moore. Moore contrasts Achebe's honesty and intellectual realism with the chauvinistic idealism and African mythologizing he seems to detect in the works of Achebe's contemporaries such as Camara Laye. Moore believes that Achebe's refusal to "justify, explain, or condemn is responsible for much of the book's success. The novelist presents us with a picture of traditional Igbo life as best he can. The replacement is left to us."

nationalist criticism

Another way critics single out Achebes."things fall apart', and indeed most of his other works, were at the center of the anti-colonial and pan-Africanist call for African writers to remove any vestige of Western forms from their works. One of these forms is the use of the language of the colonizers, such as English. For those who agree with this school of thought, African writers should write in native African languages, not English. These critics believed that African writers' use of English would limit the writers' ability to do justice to the complexity and originality of the African imagination.

Several anti-colonial writers such as Ngugi Wa Thiong'o criticized Achebe for writing in English. It was impossible for them to fully convey an authentic African experience when writing about it in a foreign language. But their criticism rings hollow in the face of Achebe's command of the English language, which conveys this authentic African experience clearly and effectively. The original Igbo feeling, humor and depth behind the dialogues are conveyed effectively.

Critics such as Obiajunwa Wali believed that English-speaking African writers held their work to European standards and that their novels were merely a continuation of Western literary and philosophical traditions and not part of the development or maturation of an authentically African tradition. For him, novels like "Everything Falls Apart" cannot be purely African, as they borrow European style and narrative strategies. Achebe's response to this position was to argue that what really matters is not what language you use, but how you use it. In your essay "The African Writer and the English Language”, from 1965, Achebe explained that there is nothing inherent in the English language that negatively limits the originality and authenticity of the African novel. He stated that the African writer was able to accurately and authentically convey his message through his creative and masterful use of the English language.

feminist critic

Achebe finds'things fall apartwithin an obviously patriarchal and contemporary Igbo society, however, he has been criticized for his portrayal of women in the novel. Critics such as Ifi Amadiume and Florence Stratton have argued that Achebe's depiction of women reveals deep-seated prejudices against them. They argue that Achebe often went beyond what could be achieved in pre-colonial Igbo society to weaken and silence women's voices. Stratton found that Igbo women had considerable influence and power in pre-colonial Igbo society and that Achebe's failure to record this reveals his prejudice towards women.

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In short, it's easy to see why.'things fall apart'maintained its former reputation. It's easy to see why, despite its simplicity of narrative and language, it continues to enjoy the reverence of some of the world's leading writers and critics, as well as readers. It is an important historical work, an important ammunition against racist literature, a successful presentation of the possibilities of using indigenous African forms, as well as a great demonstration of an authentic way of using the English language to accurately convey African thoughts and feelings. . and sentiment events.

everything falls apart review
  • History
  • characters
  • Dialogue
    (Video) Understanding Things Fall Apart from a Postcolonial Perspective| Chinua Achebe| African Novel
  • plot
  • Influence
  • Style


everything falls apart review

'things fall apartis not only an important novel that successfully confronts racist representations of Africans in Western literature, but also a fascinatingly rich work that incorporates traditional African ways in revolutionary ways. The structure may be unusual, but only because it remains true to African oral tradition rather than Western standards. 'things fall apart' owes much of its success and recognition to the nuance and maturity with which it carries out its task of rehabilitating Africa's battered image, refusing to go to the other extreme and present things as they were.

(Video) Things Fall Apart the movie


  • affordable right
  • Great representation of traditional African society
  • Revolutionary use of traditional African forms and styles
  • Ability to accurately translate original Igbo contexts into English
  • Very influential for later African writers.


(Video) Things Fall Apart - Thug Notes Summary and Analysis

  • Female figures are unnecessarily disempowered


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