Things Fall Apart Analysis

Write an analysis paper on the novel Things Fall Apart on a subject that truly interests you.

I suggest that you don't simply create an outline in advance, but that you let the process of writing, searching in texts, and research go hand-in-hand so that writing itself becomes a mode of critical inquiry. Thus it makes sense to begin with a question rather than a thesis statement, to write about ideas and texts, expand, develop, explore, and then to focus in, rearrange, and rewrite to organize and clarify.

You could examine a theme, an aspect of Ibo culture, religion, language, the development of colonial rule, breakdown of traditional society, the use of literary techniques, the form of the novel, relationships between characters, etc. You are better off focusing in closely on something "small" and interesting to you, rather than trying to take on a major theme of the whole novel.

Don't just pick something easy! Try to learn something really interesting about this famous book. You are better off not quite fully succeeding, than simply writing something that doesn't really challenge your thinking.

Your paper should demonstrate careful thinking about the novel. It should have careful focus, utilize quotations from the text to make your argument, show a clear development of ideas, and be carefully written and edited. I imagine that the papers will be at least five pages long, typed, double-spaced.

To get a "B" on the paper, you need to do all the above and demonstrate that you have read and can correctly and meaningfully quote from an internet resource on the the novel. (See below.)

To get an "A" on the paper you will need to meet the requirements for a "B" and demonstrate that you have read and can quote and draw from a scholarly academic article on the novel. Our library is an excellent resource, use the "MLA" bibliography. Some scholarly articles on Things Fall Apart are available on line.

There are many resources on the internet to help you understand Things Fall Apart: Wikipedia, Study Guide, Postcolonial Dialogues. These may have good information and can be quoted in your paper.

Yes, there are also student papers on Things Fall Apart available on line. These are papers some students try to turn in as their own work. Some of these papers do have interesting ideas and are easier to read than real scholarship. Here are some of the places you can find them; there are many more:


Look at student essays and papers, but remember that the point is for you to do your own work. If you read other people's work you MUST properly cite it and list it in your bibliography -- otherwise you are committing plagiarism. Just so you know, I am good at detecting plagiarism, finding the source, and insuring that students who plagiarize learn their lesson.

One more resource; here is a sample paper by Shannon Corcoran from this African Literature course in Spring 2014.

Created by: allen.webb@wmich.edu
Revised: 9/14