Literary Devices Chinua Achebe Uses in Things Fall Apart

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Many authors use different strategies/techniques that make their books more interesting and stand out. In Things Fall Apart, a book written by Chinua Achebe, he uses literary devices to add style to the book. Some of the literary devices he uses are irony, symbolism, and foreshadowing. I shall gives examples to these devices through this essay.

One literary device Achebe uses is irony. Irony is when what happens or what is said is the opposite of what you would have expected or are thinking. We can see an example of irony in Okonkwo’s suicide at the end of the book. Okonkwo is an important man in his village, so we think he’s not possible of harming himself. His death is especially ironic when you think about what he said, “Since I survived that year,” he always said, “I shall survive anything.”After saying he could survive anything, you would think that he would not do anything since he himself even thinks he is powerful. So his death is even more ironic because the very thing that he says can get him through anything, and his will is what causes him to kill himself. It is also ironic because everything he hated he ended up becoming.

Another literary device Achebe uses throughout the book is foreshadowing. We can see this, once again, when Okonkwo dies. Foreshadowing is when an event or action hints at the future. In this case, foreshadowing occurs when Okonkwo is exiled for accidentally killing a clansman. He could not handle this change and falls into depression. His family helps to bring him out of it, but it shows that he does not handle change well. This event and Okonkwo’s actions foreshadow his death later; it shows us that, despite what he says about surviving anything, he can’t deal with change, and becomes depressed.

Symbolism will be the last example of literary devices. In the book, we see symbols of masculinity and femininity. Others we see are yams and fire. Okonkwo is associated with burning, fire, and flame throughout the book. The problem with fire, as Okonkwo acknowledges that fire destroys everything it consumes. Just as fire feeds on itself until all that is left is a pile of ash. Fire symbolizes potential, masculinity, and life. Yam is referred as a “man’s crop”. Yams is a major symbol of masculinity. There are also “women crops”, such as cocoa-yams and melons which these symbolize femininity.

Chinua Achebe, uses more literary devices than these but these specific strategies, such as, irony, foreshadowing, and symbolism, are some of the ones we can see throughout the book. Giving the book these certain details, brings clarity to the text and helps us imagine the scenes that are going on in any story.


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