Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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In Things Fall Apart, why does Okonkwo commit suicide and what is the final message of this work? 

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Okonkwo was once considered the greatest warrior alive, but he cannot stop the European Christian white men who have come in to take control and change his village traditions. Okonkwo finally gives up hope and hangs himself, even though it is a disgrace to commit suicide in his tribe.


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Jonathan Beutlich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is a solid discussion question because there is no single correct answer. Readers are not told exactly what motivated Okonkwo to kill himself, so it is left up to individual readers to come up with a plausible explanation.

Okonkwo has had some fairly rough patches in his life. He believes that his father is a disgrace, he's helped murder his adopted son, and he's been banished from his community for seven years. Despite those things, he is quite revered as a great man in his culture. He is warrior of a man and wealthy as well. Consequently, he is generally well respected, and he's grown accustomed to getting his way about a lot of things. Okonkwo doesn't believe that his people should stand by and let...

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