By Chinua Achebe
Discussion Leader: Mariam Konate
From the publisher: Things Fall Apart is the first of three novels in Chinua Achebe’s critically acclaimed African trilogy. It is a classic narrative about Africa’s cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart explores one man’s futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political and religious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.
Here are some of the things Konate asks participants to consider:
- Achebe’s deliberate use of the image of “Things Fall Apart” in William B. Yeats’s poem, The Second Coming, (1921) is extremely significant as it conveys the violent clash between the modern (Western) world and the ancient (African) world.
- Consider the single story that British colonizers told about Africans in order to justify the destruction of their cultures and civilization
- What role and place do women hold in the Igbo pre-colonial societies?
- Art is part and parcel of Igbo life. What are examples of the ways in which the Igbo people use artifacts to represent shrines, spirits, gods, and goddesses?
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