Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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How do things fall apart in Things Fall Apart?  

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The title of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is taken from the poem "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats. The poem states:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...

This apocalyptic vision is intended as a view of the modern condition in which religious belief, civic society, and the human connections to the divine and other humans are severed as civilization regresses to a sort of individualist and alienated form of spiritual and societal anarchy.

Achebe is applying this to the situation in Nigeria under colonial rule. Traditional Igbo culture, religion, and civic society are under threat from British colonial rule. While some people still follow traditional religion and others convert to Christianity, many are caught between with no strong bonds either to traditional Igbo culture or to the new British culture. Cynicism and individualism replace community spirit, and people caught between the world of tradition (which is weakening) and...

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