Learn English with Literature | Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe’s debut novel Things Fall Apart, published in 1948, was one of the most important pieces of literature to come out of Nigeria—and Africa—in the 20th century. The book tells the story of Okonkwo, an ambitious Igbo tribesman famous for his wrestling abilities. Though initially victorious and successful in his pursuits, Okonkwo is beset by various troubles and difficulties. In particular, his life—and the life of the Igbo community as a whole—is turned upside down by the arrival of European colonial settlers.

The book is a staple in African literature courses the world over. Achebe himself has become synonymous with African liberation and decolonisation. Though Achebe was influenced by Western culture and chose to write his first novel in English, he refused to adopt an English name (a common practice in Nigeria during his lifetime) and instead retained his Igbo name.

Below, you’ll read the opening passages of the book. Some words have been left out. First, you’ll fill in the blanks by choosing the option you think makes the most sense. Then, in the next exercise, you’ll strengthen your vocabulary by confirming the meaning of some of the most challenging words from the excerpt and from this introduction. Enjoy!

Chinua Achebe "Things Fall Apart" | Fill In The Blank

Fill out the text below with the correct answers.

Chinua Achebe "Things Fall Apart" | Vocabulary Quiz 1

Match the word with its synonym.

Chinua Achebe "Things Fall Apart" | Vocabulary Quiz 2

Match the word with its synonym.

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