What is a major event that occurs in Things Fall Apart?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would argue that the major event that occurs is the arrival of white man to Okonkwo's tribe and the way that slowly but surely, it begins to insidiously change his society so radically and topple indigenous beliefs and values. This is of course the major point of the novel, as Achebe seeks to present colonial history from the perspective of those being colonised, dispensing with the narratives that of native ignorance and heathenism that seemed to justify the colonial endeavour on the part of the whites.

It is the arrival of the European colonists that also gives the novel its title, which is a direct allusion to "The Second Coming" by Yeats. The way in which centuries of stable cultural identity is displaced in a matter of a few years by white settlers forces us to look at the image of a world losing control and the absolute collapse of tribal society that is summoned up by the words of this poem by Yeats. The image of the falcon turning further and further away from the falconer speaks of the sense of imminent disaster that we see featured in this book as Okonkwo's world changes forever.


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