''Things Fall Apart'' is a 1958 Nigerian novel (written in English) by Chinua Achebe. The events depicted take place in the late 19th century. An allusion to historical events seems to date the story to the 1890s.

Its hero is Okonkwo, a proud Igbo tribesman who watches his life change radically under the weight of his own decisions and the increasing encroachment of English colonial settlers and missionaries. The novel is considered one of the best books of the 20th century, partly because of its humanization of characters from both factions, and partly because it was one of the first novels in English to deal with African society from the viewpoint of Africans rather than the traditional Anglocentric viewpoint.
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!!Contains the following tropes:
* AbusiveParent: Okonkwo and possibly the other tribesmen
* BigOlEyebrows: Okonkwo has them.
* BrokenBird: Ekwefi was once the village beauty and is Okonkwo's favored wife, but a long series of stillbirths and miscarriages made her very bitter until Ezinma was born.
* DaddysGirl: Ezinma, who Okonkwo wishes had been born a boy.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: All aspects of Igbo tradition are presented in story, including things such as the subjugation of women and killing of twin babies. The English themselves are portrayed as holding the imperialistic views of the day. While there is one missionary, [[GoodShepherd Mr. Brown]], who tries to work peacefully with the Igbo, he gets replaced with [[TheFundamentalist James Smith]], who goes out of his way to provoke conflict with the non-Christian Igbo.
* DespairEventHorizon: Okonkwo [[spoiler:commits suicide]] upon seeing that his neighbors are bewildered as to why he'd [[spoiler: kill a messenger of the District Commissioner]], and won't go to war.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Okonkwo]]
* DrowningMySorrows: Okonkwo does this after [[spoiler:killing Ikemafuna, the political prisoner he had raised like his own son for three years.]]
* FatalFlaw: Okonwo being explicitly modeled after the heroes of Greek {{Tragedy}}, it's no surprise that his flaw is ''[[{{pride}} hubris]]'', leading to the ''atė'' (rashness) that caused his downfall. The pride itself is specifically pride in his own strength, and an obsession with being manly and powerful that makes him blind to consequences.
* FatherIDontWantToFight: Nwoye. One of the many reasons why Okonkwo was disappointed in him.
* FiringInTheAirALot: Okonkwo's gun exploding when he tries to do this ends up killing someone else. The elders convict him of manslaughter and he is sentenced to seven years in exile (per the customs of the village).
* FreudianExcuse: The main reason Okonkwo is emotionally distant and obsessed with manliness and power is because his father was a lazy weakling who preferred to loaf around and play music, instead of taking care of his family and farm.
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: Igbo, with a small dictionary in the back of the book.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: Both the traditional Igbo society and the new colonial Christian society are presented as having positive and negative qualities.
* TheHecateSisters: Okonkwo's wives - Nwoye's mother is the Crone, Ekwefi is the Mother, and Ojiugo is the Maiden.
* IAmNotMyFather: Okonkwo bases his character after trying to avoid his father's laziness as much as possible, which becomes [[spoiler: his TragicFlaw]] at the end of the book.
* IllGirl: Ezinma is this, so much so that she and her mother are famous in their village.
* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: At the book's conclusion, the colonialist District Commissioner considers Okonkwo's life to be [[ButForMeItWasTuesday maybe worth a paragraph of filler]] in a book he might write about pacifying savage Africans.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Okonkwo. On the jerk side: He once beat and attempted to murder his second and ''favored'' wife for making a snide remark about his poor gunmanship, and [[spoiler:disowned Nwoye after he converted to Christianity]]. On the heart of gold side: He trekked to a distant and forbidden shrine four times in the dead of night after a priestess took his favorite daughter there, because he was worried about her.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: "Things Fall Apart" is a line from Creator/WilliamButlerYeats' poem "TheSecondComing".
* MasculineGirlFeminineBoy: with Nwoye and Ezinma. Nwoye is sensitive, more emotional and considered more "feminine" by Okonkwo, while Ezinma is bold and considered to be more "masculine". Even Okonkwo frequently says that he wishes Ezinma was born a boy instead.
* MeaningfulRename: Nwoye becomes "Isaac" when he converts to Christianity. Given the whole business with Ikemafuna, his choice seems [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything especially important]].
* TheMissionary: Several, treated with varying degrees of sympathy.
* MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels: One African who acts as a translator for the missionaries is given the nickname of "My Buttocks", because in the dialect he's speaking, which isn't quite the same as that of the viewpoint characters, whenever he tries to say "myself" it comes out as "my buttocks".
* NationalGeographicNudity: Most of the characters don't wear much clothing. It is explicitly pointed out at one point that Ekwefi must hold her breasts in place to keep them from flapping against her body.
* NoNameGiven: Okonkwo's senior wife is only ever referred to as "Nwoye's mother."
* PolarOppositeTwins: Okonkwo's daughters, Ezinma and Obiageli. Ezinma is sensible and otherworldly, while Obiageli is spoiled and childish.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Okonkwo
** In fact he's so proud that he's considered a stereotype of uncompromising masculinity among his own community.
* [[spoiler:SacrificialLamb: Ikemefuna]]
* SecretIdentity: Tinkered with. Chielo acts and is treated as a different person on and off her job as a priestess, but everyone knows who she is. Also, while the spirits who judge the village on occasion are concealed in [[WigDressAccent full-body costumes]], any peculiar mannerisms or the fact that someone isn't where they usually sit are politely ignored.
* SociopathicHero: Okonkwo has shades of this. Not very many people can be considered a hero after being convicted of murder and arson, but Okonkwo barely pulls it off.
* SpiritualAntithesis: To Conrad's ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness''
* TheStoic: Okonkwo is this for the most part; the only emotion he ever openly displayed was anger.
* SympatheticPOV: Not just unique in substituting an African perspective for a British one, but the POV is pretty much that of Okonkwo and those who share his general views. Thus, while the reader is likely to sympathize with Okonkwo's son, who he abuses for not being manly enough, the narration isn't very sympathetic to the character.
* {{Tragedy}}: On the classical model, no less:
** Okonkwo is a great, successful, powerful man.
** However, he has a flaw (''harmartia''), in this case pride (''hubris'').
** He rashly ignores the consequences of the actions driven by his pride, making several mistakes (''atė'').
** He experiences a dramatic change of fortune, in this case, exile (''peripeteia'').
** The change of fortune leads to his downfall [[spoiler: (in this case, suicide).]]
** The only possible deviation is the sense of closure (''catharsis''), since Achebe seems to sympathize with Okonkwo to some degree.
* TragicHero: Achebe was more or less explicit that [[spoiler:Okonkwo was supposed to be a tragic hero on the classical Greek model.]]
* TragicMistake: A couple, actually.
* ViewersAreGoldfish: Some things are repeatedly explained to the reader as if they would've forgotten the information given just last chapter.
* WideEyedIdealist: Reverend Brown.
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