What are the important elements in Things Fall Apart?  What is its importance to the Ibo people and to its readers?

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kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many have argued that the book does a wonderful job of telling the tale of the Ibo people and their culture and in particular its demise at the hands of the colonial powers.  One of the things that Achebe makes very clear in his telling of the story is the incredible destruction visited upon their traditional way of life, sometimes with good intentions, but often simply because of the desire of the colonial powers to assume control over all functions of life, particularly those that didn't agree with their way of looking at the world.

The story serves both as a warning of what can happen with the influx of a powerful, uncaring culture, but also to tell some of the tales of the traditions of the Ibo as well as their myths and other important aspects of their culture that have mainly been lost.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would actually point out to the title as being the most important aspects of the novel.  Achebe's title, borrowed from Yeats' poem, helps to bring to light how indigenous social orders changed drastically due to Colonization.  I think that being able to fully grasp how Colonization altered the lives of so many who lived in the areas colonized brings to light that the term "collision" might be an apt description to reflect the old and new dynamic present in the process.  The importance of understanding how "things fell apart" in the Ibo social orders and through Okonkwo's eyes helps to bring to light that there was a great deal of destructive qualities in Colonization.  Acknowledging and validating these voices of dissent can help to ensure that such a practice is not so brazenly undertaken again.

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Things Fall Apart

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