Things Fall Apart Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

This lesson plan should be used after reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Students will cite specific details and quotes from the novel to write a paragraph-length literary analysis.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • write a paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting details, and analysis
  • explain one major theme in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe


Approximately 60 minutes

Key Vocabulary

  • Topic sentence
  • Detail
  • Analysis
  • Quote

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts; extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information; and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic.

Materials Needed

  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Copies of the hamburger paragraph diagram (optional)


  • After your class has finished reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, explain that they'll use one of the major themes of the book to write a literary analysis paragraph.
  • As a class, watch the video lesson Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe: Summary & Analysis.
  • Write each of the four major themes on separate pieces of chart paper and post them around the room.
  • Explain that before they can write, they'll need to gather evidence. They'll pick one of the four themes and search for quotes or details from the book that are related. As they find these quotes and details, they'll come to the chart paper and write the quotes using one of the provided markers. They must also include a page number as a parenthetical citation next to their direct quote or detail. Model this search for the class by adding an example to one of the charts.
  • Allow 10-15 minutes for students to fill the chart papers with quotes. Encourage or require students to add quotes to more than one poster.
  • Introduce the hamburger paragraph diagram. This structure starts with the topic sentence, adds several juicy details as the filling, and ends the paragraph with a conclusion. If your class has more visual learners, give them copies of the hamburger diagram and have them use it to plan their paragraphs before they write.
  • Have students choose one of the four themes. Their literary analysis paragraphs will be a statement of theme with details and analysis to support it, so the topic sentence will be little more than a direct statement of one of the major themes of the novel. Have your students write their topic sentences and then choose three items from the chart paper to support their selected theme. At least one of those should be a direct quote. Demonstrate how to incorporate these details in the body of the paragraph to support the theme and how to correctly include and cite a direct quote.
  • Explain how to end the paragraph with an analysis of the details to support the theme listed in the topic sentence.
  • Collect the paragraphs to assess understanding of the lesson.

Lesson Extension

  • Require students to write another literary analysis paragraph independently, using a different theme.

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