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The Things-Fall-Apart Essay – Anyone Can Relate

Content 17 things fall apart

The Things-Fall-Apart Essay – Anyone Can Relate

There is a children’s book titled, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. It is a classic among modern children’s literature today, but unless you have young kids, you probably have not read it. It’s a humorous tale of young Alex for whom absolutely everything goes wrong that could, all in one day. At the end of the day, however, as he is ready to fall asleep, the idea that is presented to kids is that there is always “tomorrow” and things will get better.

Okonkwo, a leader in his Umuofia clan, has spent his adult life trying to undo the reputation of his dead father. He wants to be seen as a moral, masculine man who has accumulated solid wealth and who has managed his family well. He is a bit disappointed with what he perceives as a lack of masculinity in his own son and vicariously “adopts” a boy from another village who is more masculine. His entire life falls apart, as the story unfolds, and ends in his own suicide.

Just What is Things Fall Apart All About?

Lots of things fall apart – dreams, goals, marriages, plans, computers, cars. When you are a leader in your clan, however, and the traditions and “rules” fail you, and when fate deals you heavy blows, one after another, your resiliency fades. The tale of Okonkwo is such a tale, and it is told against the backdrop of European missionary efforts to convert his people to Christianity, something he fears will result in loss of stature in this new order. All of these complex elements give lots of possibilities for Things Fall Apart essay topics.

Check Out These Good Essay Topics

  1. One of the themes of this novel is tradition vs. change. Discuss the irony that Okonkwo’s resistance to change and his insistence upon maintaining tradition resulted in his downfall.
  2. The Westerners demonstrate their total lack of understanding of the Umuofia clan and its culture. Point out examples of this throughout the novel. What is ironic about the district commissioner’s choice of a title for his narrative accounting at the end of the story?
  3. Write an analysis essay on the influence of tradition on Okonkwo’s behaviors.
  4. Develop the statement, “The district commissioner was the truly only evil character in this story.
  5. In a society dominated by masculine males, explain Okonkwo’s relationship with his daughter in which she is almost an equal.
  6. In what ways is our culture moving away from some of its traditions and adopting a more “global” outlook of diversity? Are there groups who are resisting this evolution? If so, which ones?
  7. Did the author make Okonkwo a sympathetic figure? Or was Okonkwo simply a victim of his own beliefs and decisions?
  8. The protagonists and antagonists in this story are really not clearly defined. Certainly Okonkwo is a protagonist, but who are the antagonists among the characters?
  9. Given that the author is African, why do you suppose he chose to write and publish this book in English?

These topic ideas should get you “moving” a bit. If you are still struggling, you might get online and read some of the professional reviews that have been written about this book. The author had many points to make.