In Chinua Achebe's debut novel Things Fall Apart, everything begins to become chaotic and enter a major state of flux for Okonkwo and the rest of the Igbo culture when colonial influence makes its considerable presence felt in the region. Western colonizers enter the region and inject their own norms and values into the culture, and thus forever alter the dynamics of Umuofia. The colonizers bring with them Western culture and religion, and this displaces the region's emphasis on traditional values. Okonkwo is unable to conform to these values, and he watches is dismay as the region changes around him. His inability to confront the dramatic paradigm shifts that afflict Umuofia leads to his eventual downfall, to things falling apart.
A key quote in the novel that illustrates how the community breaks down and changes comes after Okonkwo's return from exile: "He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he mourned for the warlike men of Umuofia, who had so unaccountably become soft like women" (183). Okonkwo is disappointed that the men of the region no longer value a bellicose nature, and this attitude, in part, leads to his undoing.