Study Guide

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart Essay - Critical Essays

Sample Essay Outlines

Topic #1
Discuss the significance of Things Fall Apart as a social document and a novel dramatizing traditional Igbo life and its first encounter with colonialism and Christianity at the turn of the twentieth century.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Things Fall Apart recreates the conflict between European and Igbo cultures at the turn of the twentieth century by focusing on the cataclysmic changes introduced by the forces of colonialism and Christianity.

II. Social and Economic Life of the Igbo
A. Social structure of the Igbo
B. Role of men and women
C. Role of marriage and the family
D. Significance of the yam

III. Traditional Politics
A. Umuofia and the political structure
B. Success and personal achievement
C. The title-taking system
D. The leadership role of elders
E. The judicial role of egwugwu

IV. Colonial Changes in Economic and Political Life
A. Significance of the palm-oil trade
B. The colonial administration
C. The District Commissioner
D. The native court
E. The role of court messengers

V. Traditional Igbo Religion
A. Chukwu, the Supreme Creator God
B. Ani, the Earth goddess
C. Agbala, and the Oracles
D. Ritual sacrifices
E. The feminine and masculine principles
F. Ogbanje children
G. The abandonment of twins
H. The role of the ancestors
I. Titles and reincarnation
J. Children and reincarnation

VI. Christianity and Changes in Social and Religious Life
A. The missionary factor
B. The first Igbo Christians: osu, mothers of twins, unsuccessful men
C. Zealots
D. Conflicts with traditional beliefs
E. Breakup of the Igbo clan

VII. The Author’s Recreation of History through Literary Techniques (Optional)
A. Characterization of Okonkwo
B. Use of proverbs
C. Use of stories within the text
D. Significance of the title in relationship to “The Second Coming”

VIII. Conclusion
A. The use of...

(The entire section is 867 words.)