In "Things Fall Apart", how far does Achebe manage to portray Africa against the famous stereotypes about it?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What Achebe succeeds in doing is presenting a series of individuals with need and desires that are similar to all human beings. He presents the culture of the Ibgo in a matter-of-fact style and shows how the society, even though it has different customs and religious beliefs, is still very much a part of the human race and not some strange group of uncivilized creatures.  Okwonkwo and his family experience the same emotions and tensions as families in "civilized" nations. Okwonkwo desperately wants to be successful in his own society. He is not a some kind of enlightened savage such as Friday in Robinson Crusoe. He has definitive faults---he beats his wife, he plays favorites among his children, yet he also shows great love towards Ezimna, especially when she is whisked off one night by Chielo. He follows his daughter, along with his wife, as any concerned parent would do. Achebe manages to create individuals with whom we can identify rather than large, unnamed individuals who hide in the jungles as in "Heart of Darkness".

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial