What would be a good thesis statement for Things Fall Apart?

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

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This text is an excellent exploration of what the real impact of colonialism was in so many parts of the globe. Achebe in this text explores how British imperialism and the endeavours of Christian missionaries, although overtly benevolent, actually had the impact of completely destroying a society and culture that was incredibly rich and comprehensive in its own right. Achebe is clear to explore the Ibo culture in great detail: these are no ignorant savages. A great thesis statement to think about would therefore be:

Achebe in Things Fall Apart explores how British imperialism resulted in the destruction of traditional African society.

This is something that is strongly identified in the epigraph to the text, when Achebe quotes the following lines from a poem by Yeats:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

These lines are important because they clearly state the "mere anarchy" that breaks out when "the centre" of a culture or system collapses. This is seen both in the impact of colonialism on the Ibo society depicted in this novel, but it is also seen historically in the future collapse of the British Empire. This was something that Achebe, writing after this date, would have been ironically aware of.

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andrewnightingale's profile pic

andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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You should first consider what a thesis statement is. The one or two sentences at the beginning of your essay which contains the main point, idea or theme of your paper, reflected throughout your essay, is what we call the thesis statement.

Not only does the thesis statement state your ideas in one or two sentences, but it also exposes the topic of your essay and your position thereon. It should tell your reader what the essay is about and should help guide your writing and focus your argument.

In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe explores the effects of colonialism on a particular society. Your approach may be to focus on the impact such action had on Ibo culture, its beliefs and its laws, or you could focus on its influence on individuals, such as the protagonist, Okonkwo. You may extend the focus of your essay to discuss the effects of Imperialism on the Ibo society as a whole and mention its influence on individuals. You may consider either the positive or negative outcomes, or focus on both.

Whatever choice you make, you should centralize (focus) the content of your piece in your thesis statement and also suggest your sentiment on the topic. Once you have decided, you may then consider writing a rough draft and assess your effort by answering the following questions: 

Where should I place my thesis statement?
It should normally be contained in the opening paragraph of your essay, but not later than the second paragraph.

Is my statement specific?
Keep your statement focused. This will guide your writing and give the reader a clear idea what the subject of your essay is.

Is my thesis statement too general?
The answer to this question depends on the length of your essay. The more you need to cover, the greater the scope of your thesis statement.

Is my thesis statement clear?
You must state exactly what direction your essay will take and state your position. Clarity will provide the essay focus and also make it clear to the reader what, exactly, your essay is about.

Is my thesis statement original?
Try to refrain from using others' words or cliched statements. The reader must know that the ideas expressed are your own.

Once you are satisfied with your responses to these questions, you may create a final draft. If your thesis statement is crafted well, it would indicate that you have considered it intelligently and that you are committed to and enthusiastic about what you write. 

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