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North Smithfield High School Library: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe:


Mr. Brown
The first white missionary to arrive in Umuofia, Mr. Brown is respectful and patient, never attacking clan customs or religion directly. His early success is endangered by his ill health.
The District Commissioner
The highest English official in the region arrives with the missionaries and oversees the fall of the villages from a distance.
Okonkwo's second wife, who left her first husband for Okonkwo. She has borne ten children and lost all but one, her daughter Ezinma. Her love for Ezinma leads her to stand up to Okonkwo on occasion.
She is Okonkwo's favorite child, beautiful and connected to her father in a deep way. Only she can understand him and his moods. Her only flaw, in his eyes, is being a girl.
A boy from a neighboring clan who is seized by Umuofia warriors. He lives with Okonkwo's family as a peace offering, and is a more satisfying son to Okonkwo than Nwoye.
This self-made man has worked his way up from poverty and, as he sees it, freed himself from the disgrace of having a lazy, "feminine" father. While Okonkwo possesses real virtues of hard work, far-sightedness, devotion to his clan, and love, these co-exist uneasily with impulses of fear, pride, and impatience.
Okonkwo's eldest son shows every sign―so far as Okonkwo is concerned―of being a lazy, weak man like Unoka. Beaten and belittled by his father, Nwoye will become a prime target for conversion by the English missionaries.
Nwoye's mother
Okonkwo's first wife, whose name is not told to the reader. She, unlike her husband, understands the value of pity, gentleness, and forgiveness. Her stories instruct and delight the children.
A thoughtful member of the clan who is Okonkwo's best friend. He tries to help Okonkwo navigate the troubles that come to him, and is left cleaning up after Okonkwo's catastrophic end.
Ogbuefi Ezeudu
The highest-ranking man in the village, and holder of three titles―a great rarity.
Mr. Smith
The far more zealous Smith replaces Brown and leads his new converts on a full-scale war of ideas against the village.
Okonkwo's father, a gentle musician who left his family poor and in debt at his death. He held no titles of rank in the village―driving Okonkwo to vow that he would hold many.

Teaching tools/classroom discussion:

Things Fall Apart - Multiple Critical Perspectives by Prestwick House |  Goodreads

Teaching Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart from Multiple Critical Perspectives

With a focus on:

  • New Historicism
  • Feminist Theory
  • Mythological/Archetypal Criticism

Igbo Culture and History:

A section of Things Fall Apart: Classics in Context focusing on various aspects of Igbo culture and history

Remembering Chinua Achebe and the Importance of Struggle:

"Achebe talks about the literary trope of the white explorer or missionary living amongst the savages, and the importance of struggle."

Things Fall Apart - Part I - Crash Course Literature:

Full Text version of Things Fall Apart:

Things Fall Apart complete audiobook:

Invitation to World Literature video:

"This video introduces the world of the Igbo, whose civilization is threatened by the colonial advances of the British into their lands in Nigeria. You'll see this native world in all its logic, beauty, and problems, and then watch it begin to crack under internal and external pressure."

(appox. 27 min.)

**There are also other sections of this site that you can explore to get information related to the novel!**

Things Fall Apart - Part II - Crash Course Literature: