Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

In Brief

Okonkwo is a well respected and prosperous warrior of the Umofia clan. He experiences several traumatizing events in his lifetime that contribute to the 'falling apart' of his character. After he wins a son from a neighboring tribe, he becomes closer to him than any of his other sons; but, when the boy is to be killed, Okonkwo kills Ikemefuma himself, even though he was instructed not to. After this incident, things begin to turn bad for Okonkwo. He accidentally kills a boy during a ceremony, and Okonkwo and his family are exiled for seven years. While at his motherland, he receives news that missionaries have come to his old land. When he returns to the village, he finds a white missionary has already converted some tribe members to Christianity. As the missionary gains strength, Ibo tradition crumbles. In his fury, Okonkwo kills a guard of the missionary and commits suicide the following day.

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