Uncertainty in Things Fall Apart, a Novel by Chinua Achebe

The title Things Fall Apart is significant to the book because it shows that nothing ever stays the same and things are always changing. Sometimes for the better, but in this book – for the worst.

The first instance of things falling apart is in the first story with the same title, “Things Fall Apart.” The tribe in Umuofia had always done things in a certain way. They lived their lives according to their beliefs and customs and raised their children according to them. That was the way it was, and that was the way they always wanted it to be. However, while Okonkwo was in exile, the white men came to Umuofia. They tried to change the natives’ customs and make them believe in their own god instead of the gods they believed in for thousands of years. The white men managed to convince a lot of the tribe’s young people, and they moved away and started their own church and small town. This angered the elder members of the tribe and the parents of the children. All their goals and hopes were starting to fall apart. Men like Okonkwo worked hard their whole lives so that they can have a good life and their children can have a good life. But after the white men came, even Okonkwo’s oldest son, Nwoye, was convinced by them and moved away. A man’s oldest son was supposed to take over his farms after he died, but now Nwoye would never be able to do that for his father. Before his exile Okonkwo was a powerful man with a lot of strength in the tribe but when he returned, things had changed. Nothing was the same and the white men were taking over. To solve his problems he hanged himself. His whole life fell apart because he wanted it to continue the way it always was, instead of changing as time went by.

In “Shooting an Elephant” the white men had already taken over the African towns. They policed them with guns and became very powerful and in charge. The natives had no control about what happened. For example, when George Orwell shot the elephant, he did it only to avoid looking like a fool in front of the natives. He had no real reason to do so, and although it angered the elephant’s owner, there was nothing he could do about it. Things were falling apart so much that the white men had to appear infallible to the natives.

Things fall apart in some way throughout the rest of the stories, however it is most evident in the two stories titled “Things Fall Apart” and “Shooting an Elephant.” Things change in these stories, teaching the people, just like the title of the book says, that nothing stays the same forever. Things will always eventually fall apart.

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Uncertainty in Things Fall Apart, a Novel by Chinua Achebe. (2022, Nov 30). Retrieved February 23, 2024 , from

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