Things Fall Apart

by

Chinua Achebe

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Things Fall Apart can help.

Everything you need
for every book you read.

"Sooo much more helpful than SparkNotes. The way the content is organized
and presented is seamlessly smooth, innovative, and comprehensive."
Get LitCharts A+
  • Easy-to-use guides to literature, poetry, literary terms, and more
  • Super-helpful explanations and citation info for over 30,000 important quotes
  • Unrestricted access to all 50,000+ pages of our website and mobile app
Get LitCharts A+

Things Fall Apart Characters

Okonkwo

The novel's main character and an influential clan leader, Okonkwo fears becoming an unsuccessful, weak man like his father, Unoka. As a result, Okonkwo is hardworking and aggressive, traits that bring him fame and… read analysis of Okonkwo

Nwoye

Nwoye is Okonkwo's eldest son. Nwoye resembles his grandfather Unoka, in that he's drawn to gentleness and music, even though he recognizes that his father disapproves. This tension between Okonkwo and Nwoye leads to… read analysis of Nwoye

Ikemefuna

Ikemefuna is the ill-fated boy the Mbaino sacrifice to Umuofia in order to prevent war. Ikemefuna is unaware that his father had a hand in killing one of the daughters of Umuofia and doesn't understand… read analysis of Ikemefuna

Ogbuefi Ezeudo

Ezeudo is oldest man in the village and a great orator. He warns Okonkwo not to take part in the killing of Ikemefuna, but Okonkwo pays no heed. Ezeudo passes away shortly afterwards, and… read analysis of Ogbuefi Ezeudo

Ekwefi

Ekwefi is Okonkwo's second wife and the mother of Ezinma. Once the village beauty, Ekwefi ran away from her first husband to live with Okonkwo. Ezinma is her only surviving child, and the two… read analysis of Ekwefi
Get the entire Things Fall Apart LitChart as a printable PDF.
Things Fall Apart PDF

Ezinma

Ezinma is Okonkwo's eldest daughter and Ekwefi's only child to survive past infancy. Ezinma resembles her mother who was once the village beauty. She understands her father well, and he in turn wishes that she… read analysis of Ezinma

Mr. Brown

Mr. Brown, the first white missionary to travel to Umuofia, institutes a policy of respect and compromise between the church and the clansmen. He engages in long religious discussions with Akunna in order to understand… read analysis of Mr. Brown

Reverend James Smith

Reverend Smith replaces Mr. Brown after the latter departs for health reasons. Unlike Mr. Brown, Reverend Smith is impatient and strict, showing no respect for indigenous customs or culture. He criticizes the way Mr. Brown… read analysis of Reverend James Smith

District Commissioner

The District Commissioner shows up in Umuofia after Okonkwo murders a white man towards the end of the novel. The District Commissioner plans to write a book on his experiences in Nigeria, and the title… read analysis of District Commissioner
Minor Characters
Unoka
Unoka is Okonkwo's father. Though a talented musician in life, he was also lazy and irresponsible, accumulating many debts. Unoka dies a shameful death, still in debt and without title. His death haunts Okonkwo, who vows to hate everything that his father loved, including gentleness and idleness.
Obierika
Obierika is Okonkwo's close friend. He questions clan tradition at times, choosing not to take part in the killing of Ikemefuna, for example, and wondering why Okonkwo's accidental crime should merit exile for seven years. He helps Okonkwo by selling his yams and visiting him in exile.
Akunna
Akunna, a respected man of the clan, discusses religious beliefs with Mr. Brown. During these discussions, Akunna brings up some striking similarities between their methods of worship.
Uchendu
Uchendu is the younger brother of Okonkwo's mother. Uchendu attempts to reassure Okonkwo after he arrives with his family in Mbanta, advising him to be grateful for the comfort his motherland offers.
Enoch
Enoch is a fanatical convert to the Christian church in Umuofia. While Mr. Brown disapproves of Enoch's blatant disrespect for Igbo traditions, Reverend Smith encourages Enoch's provocative behavior.
Chielo
Chielo is a widow who also serves as a priestess in Umuofia. She is dedicated to the Oracle of the goddess Agbala. Chielo is friends with Ekwefi and cares for Ezinma, whom she calls “my daughter.”
Nwakibie
Nwakibie, a wealthy clansman, lends Okonkwo 800 seed-yams when Okonkwo is still young, helping him build the beginnings of his personal wealth and status. However, the year that Nwakibie lends Okonkwo the seed-yams turns out to be the worst year for harvest in living memory.