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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Things Fall Apart


Plot Summary Part 1

Unoka was a black guy who lives in a rural African village. He was lazy and didn't work hard and his family starved. He was heavily in debt, and eventually people stopped lending him money because he never paid them back. One time a man came to demand repayment of a loan and Unoka laughed and laughed at him for being so foolish as to believe that Unoka would pay anyone back.


His son Okonkwo was the opposite. He was a hardworking and prosperous yam farmer with three wives. Yes, he had three wives so he could have sex with a different woman every night. Each had their own hut so the others wouldn't have to watch him at it with one of the other wives, heh heh. Okonkwo was good at fighting wars and physically butchering people, and the townsfolk loved him for it, at least until he started butchering them.

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Villagers feared the night because that was when evil ghosts roamed. Children were warned not to whistle because that might upset the ghosts. Snakes could not be called snakes because the snakes might hear their name and become upset.


One day, someone from a rival village killed a woman in Okonkwo's village. To pay for what had been done, the rival village was required to do two things. First they had to provide a virgin to be given to the husband of the wife who was killed so the husband would have a replacement woman he could bone. Secondly, they had to provide a boy to be taken as a hostage. This boy, named Ikemefuna (rhymes with "I can eat tuna") was taken in as a son of sorts by Okonkwo for three years until the village decided what to do with him.


Okonkwo, angry that his father was ridiculed as a lazy son of a bitch, tried to be the exact opposite. He was a very hard worker on his farm. He also built a barn filled with yams. To have a lot of yams meant you were like a billionaire in Africa, relatively speaking.


Okonkwo is a very religious man. He makes sacrifices to the many gods he believes in so his harvest will be good, he thinks. He sacrifices a "cock" to the "god" called "Ani". I am guessing that a cock means a rooster though perhaps it could also be a p_nis in which case Okonkwo cuts off someone's p_nis and gives it to his "gods" to get a good harvest. Okonkwo also gives a cock to the "God of Yams". A god of yams--imagine that! I wonder if there is a god of cantaloupe and a god of peanut butter too?


Unoka, Okonkwo's father, died of a "swelling" in his stomach. Not sure what it means but I think he died of OBESITY! Anyway he was dumped in a place called the "Evil Forest" which is where all the diseased people were deposited.


A lot of the story now focuses on the planting of yams, and whether it rained too little for the yams or too much for the yams. This is truly an exciting story, but let's skip this part of it entirely  as well as additional yam-related content later on.


Okonkwo's youngest wife, Ojiugo, didn't make dinner one day like she was supposed to and Okonkwo beat the crap out of her.

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