Things Fall Apart - Book

Penguin Classics

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Reading Level: Grades 10-12 

Lexile Level: 890L

Setting: Colonial Africa, 1800s

Genre: World Literature

Page Count: 224

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Things Fall Apart is one of the first, and finest, books to deal with European expansion into Africa from an African point of view. The author even-handedly explores the introduction of Christianity, recognizing the difference between missionaries truly spreading the gospel and those missionaries only there to spread Western culture.
Okonkwo lives with his Ibo clansmen in a Nigerian village in the late 1800s. Driven by fear that he will be considered a failure like his father, he is determined to prove himself stronger, tougher, more violent, and more honorable than anyone else. He works hard at growing yams, the "man's crop"; he fights hard, bringing back his enemies' skulls; and he takes two titles - signs of power and honor which involve generously giving to the community. He marries three wives and has eight children, all of whom he tries to keep under strict control.

A fiercely proud and short-tempered man, Okonkwo is nearing the pinnacle of leadership and power he has strived for in his village, only to see everything he worked for fall apart as he clashes with the new European government and religion.

Book Awards:
Dayton Literary Peace Prize   •   Dorothy & Lillian Gish Prize   •   Man Booker International Prize   •   German Booksellers Peace Prize   •   Campion Award   •   Booker Prize Fiction   •   Lotus Award Afro-Asian Writer   •   New Statesman Jock Campbell Award Commonwealth Writers   •   Margaret Wong Memorial Prize   •   TIME 100 Best English-language Novels-1923-2005   •   #82 in The Great American Read   •   #71 in The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time   •   more than 22 million copies sold   •   translated into fifty-seven languages.

Extra Information

Penguin Classics
Recommended Grade Level:
Colonial Africa, 1800s
World Literature
Page Count:
209 pages
Chinua Achebe
Lexile Level:
Book ISBN: