Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Things Fall Apart


Africans are really superstitious. Africans believe that ghosts inhabit people, that wearing a mask will make you a ghost, that evil pebbles buried in the ground can hurt you, that snakes shouldn't be called snakes because they will hear you, that there are yam gods that want sacrifices of yams, and so on and so on.


Whitey is comin' to town to oppress Africans! The white people appeared first as missionaries. Then they built churches. Then they built schools. Then they created a ruling government and brought in soldiers. Whitey is taking over! That's what the title of the book, "Things Fall Apart", refers to--that Whitey is coming in and changing African society. Some villagers join in, while others like Okonkwo resist, until they hang themselves, for no apparent reason.

Click here to see the rest of this review


Nuts have tremendous value. Throughout the story whenever someone tries to soothe someone else's feelings, they would offer a Kola nut. It's just a nut, but this nut was treated as something really special, even though they must have been available by the millions. It makes no sense why something so ordinary, so common, was treated as such a special gift. Okonkwo even offered the Kola nut as a gift to his gods.


Girls can't commit crimes like men can. When Okonkwo unintentionally kills a fellow villager, his crime is called a "female" or lesser one. They seem to be synonyms. Women are clearly inferior in this society, forced to share men with multiple wives and often smacked around by their men when they aren't being boned on their special hut night.


Yams are very masculine. Yams are very central to African society. Maybe even more so than Kola Nuts. They are considered very masculine. To grow a lot of them makes men feel like their p_nis is ten feet long.

Click below for more about Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Plot pg1 Plot pg2 Plot pg3 Plot pg4
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian