Things Fall Apart Questions and Answers
by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What was the most significant theme in Achebe's Things Fall Apart?

Expert Answers info

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write5,917 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

While there are several significant themes in Things Fall Apart, such as individual alienation and loneliness, good and evil, clash between cultures, and custom versus tradition, one might say that the most significant is the theme of choice and consequence because it embraces the others. This theme is demonstrated from the early years of Okonkwo's life when he rejects his father's legacy and defeats the chi that links them together in the same pattern. It is still seen as the driving force in Okonkwo's life just before it ends after he decapitates a man.

Okonkwo's choice to challenge his early chi leads to the consequence of alienating and mistreating his son

(The entire section contains 348 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial


jipsarawat | Student

In Things Fall Apart, Achebe is guided by two considerations i.e. to recreate the past of Africa and counter the European version of the african. 

         " Turning and turning in the widening gyrE

            The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

             Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold".

Yeat's philosophy can be traced in the fate of the imaginary but typical village of the lower niger in Achebe's novel " Things fall apart" that no civilisation can either remain static or evolve forever towards a more inclusive perfection. Achebe hoped to rewrite the past of his homeland from the inside of african mind so as to reveal and recover the african traditions and culture. Or one can say he is engaged in the revival of lost edenic african world and the lamentation of the fall of a great african hero. Achebe's work always include theme of Igbo dualism. UUmuofia is a typical Igbo world of dualities depicting the coexistence of the natural and supernatural worlds, of the Igbo religion and christanity, of individual and community, and of male and female principles. The theme of misrepresentation of the uncivilised barbarian african culture in colonial discourse is constantly challenged by Achebe. Therefore Achebe wanted to prove that " african history was not long might of savages".