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The book I chose and read throughout the duration of this quarter was Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, an incredible story of the chronicles of pre-life colonization of Nigeria and the arrival of Europeans, that would change Nigeria for years to come. It can’t be expressed enough how much I enjoyed this reading experience and finding joy and sorrow in every chapter.

I chose Things Fall Apart, for no distinguishable reason. I did not have a book cover or a summary but just a recommendation from a friend, who also never read the book, based on relevance and probability of appearing on the next AP Lit test. Once I had the book in hand and read the synopsis of the book I found the idea of post-colonialism an interesting setting as opposed to books such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn set in a slavery period/Civil War era novels. I found Things Fall Apart was a nice departure from these time settings into a more modern setting as well as a very contemporary idea of colonialism that coincided with my history class lesson on the colonization of the rest of America and parts of South America.

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Some of my preconceived notations going into Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart I expected a difficult read and complex plot but I was disproved as transitions between the times and whether the read was in the present or a flashback made the story easy to follow. Another misconception I had was since the book was set in a tribal Nigeria, I assumed that there would be many words I would have to look up during my reading in order to understand the novel but once again I would be contradicted. The book would explain these terms with an extra sentence afterward or context clues to define the word in question for example “In fact, the medicine itself was called agadi-nwayi, or old woman.”(Achebe 12).

After reading Things Fall Apart, I found the main character, Okonkwo, and his tragic story from rags to riches as well as a dire downfall to his inevitable death. The story provided many themes that can be related to our present-day such as Varying Interpretations of Masculinity, Language as a Sign of Cultural Difference, The Struggle Between Change and Tradition, Generational divide, Pride, Repression, as well as Ethnographic distance. These themes would be the main cause of my emotional turmoil as the main character embraces a masculine role and neglects emotions until he loses a loved one but the repression of his emotions causes distance. The colonization of his village and the conversion of his son to a different religion began the schism of the village causing a generational rift and loss of tradition. For these reasons, I found great interest and love for Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in being a hidden gem not being more widely recognized and appreciated for its full value and story.

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Essay on Setting in ‘Things Fall Apart’.
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