Title Significance of “Things Fall Apart” | Chinua Achebe

Title Significance of “Things Fall Apart” | Chinua Achebe

Title “Things Fall Apart” is self-explanatory even then much significance is given to it because it summarizes the whole novel. No other title can define this novel better than this. May be Chinua Achebe has chosen this title, by minutely observing the theme of this novel as we can ensure that the main idea of novel is flattering of Igbo culture. Some writers, choose an ironic title, some choose modest but Chinua Achebe’s novel is based on its title or vice versa. Thus, we can imagine, just by a glance on the title, what is going to be happen in it. “Things Falls Apart” is actually a story of devastating of something. We can hardly imagine any other meaning of this title. In simple words, the meaning of title is splinter of something and what is it? We can understand by reading the description of novel. However, why Chinua Achebe has selected this title? Let’s spread some light on it.

First of all, as mentioned supra, it is not only a title but the main theme. We know that the novel is about the people of Nigerian society, spending life according to their culture and values. They have their own beliefs, enough for them to pass their lives with satisfaction. The story actually describes about the values and customs of a society, which are precious more than anything. The recognition of an individual may be his deeds but the real appreciation of a society is based on its cultures and social norms, which is also given the name of customs. In every corner of the world, we find different nations and we recognize them either by their names of by their social habits, called as their social norms. Every nation has his own morals as well as ethical values, give them confidence to choose their method of living. They may be awkward for some nations but they are acceptable and proud habits of that specific nation. It is relevant to mention here that African people were not considered as cultured people in the eyes of other societies but Chinua Achebe wrote this novel and showed the truth of those people who were much close and intenselyattached to their culture as well as social norms. The novel clearly paints towards the life of Nigerian people, who were much depressed after the arrival of white men in their society as it shattered their credibility. Hence, Things Fall Apart is not just a title but the main idea of the novel.

As it is cleared that the novel is about the Nigerian people but how the title is relevant to it. Well, the climax of the novel is very much related to this question, when the culture of Igbo society was ruined by the expansion of European society and coming of white men with a new faith as well as customs i.e. Christianity. The effect on the people was much deep and they were deeply weakened by the new religion. They were well aware with the datum that it will finish their culture. As the protagonist of the novel tries his best to save his social norms but he could not do so. Neither he could stop them to expand their culture nor he could save his people from them and ultimately he found no other way but suicide. He did not want to accept and see his people converting to Christianity, thus he committed suicide.

Thus, there is no ambiguity in the title as it mainly focuses on Igbo society which wasfell apart by the expansion of imperialism and Christianity but on the other side, the life of Okonkwo is also related to it. He was a man of great strength, in the start, who by struggling, achieved respect and rank in his society but by a mistake, when he inadvertently kills a boy, he has to face exile from his society. The life of Okonkwo starts with prosperity and ends in poverty. Not only the culture of Igbo society but the life of the protagonist is also relied upon the title of this novel. It is much shameful for a nation when he accepts other cultures with happy hearts, while forgetting his original one. In this backdrop, we can easily justify the title that it totally gives us not only a hint but summarizes whole tale of the novel.

At last but not the least the title is totally justified because it explains the story of a society whose values were shattered by colonialism, who could not save itself nor could it save its social values. The conclusion of the novel is in its title. Chinua Achebe was very much right while picking this title as the story is totally related to it. Consequently, firstly, the morals, values and standard were shattered, secondly the life of Okonkwo (protagonist of the novel) was ruined and the people become helpless in front of colonialisms, therefore, the title is very much correct for this novel. The standards and norms of that society were vanished and they become deserted, therefore, their culture as well as liveswere fell apart. With the growth of European ideas and beliefs, the old traditions of Igbo society begins to falter, things begin to fall apart, traditional beliefs and old practices begins to receive assault. As a result, Chinua Achebe cannot induce himself to choose any other title else than “Things Fall Apart”.

Related Question:

  • Discuss in detail the title “Things Fall Apart”, the novel by Chinua Achebe.