What are the major lessons in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart?

There are many major lessons to be taken from Things Fall Apart. One is a historical lesson about how colonialism impacted Africans, specifically the Igbo tribe. Another lesson is how violence and pride can bring down an individual, specifically the book's protagonist, Okonkwo. A final lesson is that despite Europeans' claims of bringing "civilization" to Africa, there was already a complex and varied culture on the continent.

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The lessons of Things Fall Apart are not generally uplifting or optimistic. It is, after all, a book about the degeneration and destruction of a society. One of its grimmest lessons is that force, not virtue, generally triumphs. Okonkwo is initially a success because of his strength and physical violence. He can dominate all those around him and does so very harshly. His power is vanquished not by love or courage or any other positive quality, but simply by greater force, as the violence of the tribe gives way to the more organized and more destructive violence of the British Empire.

Another lesson is that societies generally decay from within before being attacked from without. The Igbo community, like the Mughal Empire in India and the Inca Empire in Peru, is already in decline by the time it is colonized. A lack of confidence, fostered by insidious external influence, accompanies and exacerbates this decline. The tribe initially has a culture and a power structure which are based on...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1013 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 13, 2020
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 8, 2020