Sterling Review of Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart


My name is Taiwo Akinmegha. I am the second reviewer of Chapter One. I have it in the following lines.


Chapter one is an account of some characters that played important roles in the book.  Okonkwo in particular is a man whose profile cannot be overemphasized.


Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As  young man of eighteen, he had brought honour to his village by throwing Amalinze the cat.  Amalinze was the great wrestler who for seven years was unbeaten from Umuofia to Mbiano. The exploit of Okonkwo gallant victory over a wrestler whose back has never touched the ground earned him popularity money couldn’t buy. The two young men engaged in a fight with every strength and energy within them.  Although Amalinze to whom victory is ever common was a wil craftsman, but Okonkwo was  slippery as a fish in water. Every nerve and every muscle stood out in their arms, but in the end Okonkwo threw the cat and got victory over a skillful wrestler who has always been victorious.  This had grown Okonkwo’s fame like a bush-fire in the harmattan that doesn’t need reinforcement to burst into flames of wild infano.


Surprisingly Unoka was his father. In the African setting and largely globally, statics shows that children usually follow after the lifestyle of their parents.  But reverse is the case with Okonkwo and his father.  His father died 10 years before he defeated Amalinze.  Unoka was a lazy and improvident and was quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow.  If any money which seldom did  come his way, he immediately bought guards of palm-wine, called round his neighbours and made merry.  He has only defined life enjoyed this way.  Unoka was a failure.  He was poor and his wife and children had barely enough to eat.  People laughed at him because he was a loafer, and they swore never to lend him any more money because he never paid back.  This was a nasty experience Okoye had with him when he couldn’t recover the money loaned him, so he could finance his prestigious Idemili title ceremony.  Nevertheless, he always succeeded in borrowing more and piling up debts.


The kind of life Unoka lived till death was a very shameful one. Fortunately Okonkwo was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father.  Okonkwo was clearly cut out for great things.  He was still young but he has won fame as the greatest wrestler. He has lots and lots of achievement to his credit. Has two barns, got chieftaincy title. In those days and in our time, age was and is respected but achievement is revered. An adage says if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.  Okonkwo had clearly washed his hands and so he ate with kings and elders. And that was how he came to look after the doomed lad who was sacrificed to the village of Umuofia by their neighbours to avoid war and bloodshed.  The ill-fated lad was called Ikemefuna.


I believe it is neither early for the mid aged nor late for the aged of our society to live up to standard that will resonate good values for the future generation.  Many children are today journeying on the wrong path due largely to values and influence picked from those who have gone ahead of them. Okonkwo’s case was an exception. He must have been created and preserved for a special kind of life so as to attain greatness.  Not following the path of Unoka his father without necessarily being mentored by another person of positive character and yet became who he became is an act of God, I believe.  Leaving good values to the upcoming generation is key.


The values we give to our children and all other children today will determine what becomes the future of our nation, other nations, continents and indeed the entire world long after we had all gone.


Let us be change agents and positive influencers.