In the novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, what causes things to fall apart?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let us consider the final speech in the novel, which gives us Okika's assessment of what has happened to the tribe and what has caused their way of life and culture to "fall apart." This comes from the final chapter of the book and refers to the vast numbers of the Umuofia clan and how some of them have deserted their culture:

They have broken the clan and gone their several ways. We who are here this morning have remained true to our fathers, but our brothers have deserted us and joined a stranger to soil their fatherland. If we fight the stranger we shall hit our brothers and perhaps shed the blood of a clansman. But we must do it. Our fathers never dreamt of such a thing, they never killed their borhters. But a white man never came to them.

We can see the dire situation that the tribe faces at this juncture. Brother is turned against brother, and the blame is very firmly laid on the white man and the way that he has entered their lives and disrupted the normal cycle of living. The power that the white man has means that they are able to bring the traditional culture of the Umuofians to an end and force a change in their previously stable and tranquil lives. Achebe therefore well and truly puts the blame on the white European colonialists for the cultural destruction this book explores.

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Things Fall Apart

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