Review: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

– Have a book review! I agree that the book is too short and the craft is lacking. The reason I think it is important and enduring is because, look at how few white people appear on the page in this book, and look what they do to this entire culture. That is what makes it art for me.

Behind on Books


Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

I’ve struggled with this review. I’m torn. There’s the academic side of my brain saying ‘you know why this book is important’ and the fluffy part of my brain saying ‘yeah but the story wasn’t good enough.’

This book is on my reading list for the ‘Post Colonial Literatures’ module which starts next week, so it was a case of ‘read this or look like an idiot in class’.

What did I like?

  • Okwonko’s daughter – She could have held the story on her own. I was far more interested in her character than any other. The potential for a kick ass chick right there.
  • Setting – There’s no getting away from the environment. Achebe puts you right into the thick of it, unapologetic about using local terms and language, and at times it was alienating. But it worked to great effect.
  • Yams – Man alive. I want a yam.

What didn’t…

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Was Your English Lit Teacher Wrong About Symbolism?

– I am not a symbol-hunter myself, and I think talking about intentional symbolism, unless you are dealing with an allegory, is a waste of time. But I do agree with Asimov that’s its impossible to avoid unconscious symbolism, and I like what Ellison says about readers finding symbols being an indication that their mind is collaborating with the author’s work. I’ve said this before – there is a social element to writing that we do not talk about enough. “Composition” is a solitary activity, but it is only one component of what I think of as “writing.” Writing begins when you have an idea and doesn’t end until you have someone reading the finished piece. That is what I think.

101 Books

You always wondered if your college lit professor was just making crap up.

Turns out, maybe they were.

This article from The Paris Review offers a revealing take by many famous authors on how much symbolism played a part in their work.

Their comments were prompted by a letter from a 16-year-old Bruce McCallister in 1963. He was tired of the constant find-the-symbolism game in English class, so he took it upon himself to ask them what the big deal was with symbolism.

He mailed a simple four-question survey to more than 150 novelists. About half of them responded. The responses were varied, but most of the authors seemed to think symbolism is overanalyzed. Their comments were awesome:

The survey included the following questions:

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Surprise Post!

– I’ve decided to give this a go with The Writing Catalog. I’ll register in the next day or two as a Writing blog. The rules are already laid out, and they suggest short posts. I will use it to build something nice for the resources page I am planning. I’ll follow up soon with more info.


I’m just going to put this here, because you need to see it, and so does everyone else. The Monster will be participating in this event, and I hope others of you will join in.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

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