The True Meaning of Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”

"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe is often regarded as the finest piece of African literature ever written. Here is a look into the meaning of the plot, and the emotions the author wants emanated from the reader.

The candor of words is paramount in communicating directly with those who read them. When it comes to writing, the title of your work should reflect the style of writing contained in the work itself. In, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the title is well chosen for two key reasons. First, the bluntness of the title is evidenced with the simplistic and direct way the book is written, and second, the title directly reflects the sorrowful sentiment of the novel.

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Achebe’s Writing Style

The way Things Fall Apart is written is by no means frivolous. Achebe lays it each situation by showing only the events taking place, and with little to no emotion emitted from the characters themselves. Near the end of the book, when messengers arrived in Okonkwo’s camp, “Okonkwo’s machete descended twice, and the man’s head lay beside his uniformed body.” There are no romantic details regarding the emotion of the scene, but Achebe just presents the circumstance. Perhaps the reason Achebe writes in this matter is to cater to Okonkwo’s demeanor. All the same, the title nicely exhibits the methodology of Achebe’s penmanship.

Relevance of the Title

Although simple, Things Fall Apart offers a look at both the mood and tone of the novel. Things Fall Apart is, to be frank, an incredibly depressing story. The plot speaks for itself: from Okonkwo being exiled to Okonkwo hanging himself, tragedy follows the character wherever he goes. In other words, things fell apart. The reader is left wondering if anything could have been done to stop the Umofian tribe’s situation from unraveling. Therefore, Achebe’s choice of title perfectly fits the intended mood of the story.

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Things Fall Apart, is a story of pride, culture, but most of all the tragedy of a tribe losing its values, leaders, and its way of life. Told in a folk-tale manner, Achebe illustrates a world that unsuccessfully tries to stem the the tied of objectionable change. In doing, he creates a title that both represents the intended elementary style of the writing and gives the reader a three-word summation of the mood and message he wished to convey.

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1 Comment
  1. Posted May 18, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I always loved this book. Good job in providing an overview of this incredible book.

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