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What would be a good thesis statement for Things Fall Apart?

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brandonkb | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 8, 2013 at 12:59 AM via web

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What would be a good thesis statement for Things Fall Apart?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 8, 2013 at 6:11 AM (Answer #1)

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This text is an excellent exploration of what the real impact of colonialism was in so many parts of the globe. Achebe in this text explores how British imperialism and the endeavours of Christian missionaries, although overtly benevolent, actually had the impact of completely destroying a society and culture that was incredibly rich and comprehensive in its own right. Achebe is clear to explore the Ibo culture in great detail: these are no ignorant savages. A great thesis statement to think about would therefore be:

Achebe in Things Fall Apart explores how British imperialism resulted in the destruction of traditional African society.

This is something that is strongly identified in the epigraph to the text, when Achebe quotes the following lines from a poem by Yeats:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

These lines are important because they clearly state the "mere anarchy" that breaks out when "the centre" of a culture or system collapses. This is seen both in the impact of colonialism on the Ibo society depicted in this novel, but it is also seen historically in the future collapse of the British Empire. This was something that Achebe, writing after this date, would have been ironically aware of.

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