Things Fall Apart - Wikipedia
Ikemefuna became very close to Nwoye, and Okonkwo's decision to participate in Ikemefuna's death takes a toll on Okonkwo's relationship with Nwoye. Ezinma. Things Fall Apart follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo man famed for his The two most important familial relationships for Ezinma are with her. The Things Fall Apart characters covered include: Okonkwo, Nwoye, Ezinma, Their relationship is atypical—Ezinma calls Ekwefi by her name and is treated by her as he borrowed money from his clansmen, and he rarely repaid his debts.
They enforce taboos against twins and suicide, and offer explanations for high infant mortality. The second and third parts of the novel trace the inexorable advance of Europeans. The first white man to arrive in a nearby village is killed because of an omen, and in retribution all are slaughtered by British guns. Christian missionaries seem to be madmen, their message of wicked ways and false gods attractive only to outcasts.
But along with Christianity come hospitals and schools, converting farmers to court clerks and teachers. Trading stores pay high prices for palm oil. Government is closely linked to religion and literacy. Okonkwo, upholder of the ways of his ancestors, is inevitably cast in the role of tragic hero. In exile during the first years of colonization, he has less understanding of the power of the Europeans than his now-passive kinsmen. His doom is swift and sure. This guide uses the contemporary spelling, Igbo, rather than Ibo.
It provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual society. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing the life of nature, history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.
Things Fall Apart is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.
The novel is structured in three parts. What do the divisions reflect about the stages of life of the protagonist? How do the divisions move toward and illustrate the collapse of Igbo society? What is the point of view of the narrator? How does the point of view contribute to our understanding of the conflicting cultures? What techniques does the narrator use to evoke a participatory role for the reader? How does this contrast with the ending, when Okonkwo is deliberating about an adequate response to the British humiliation of the Igbo elders in jail?
Achebe uses storytelling flashbacks to describe the relationship of Okonkwo and Unoka. What do the flashbacks reveal about their relationship? What is the effect of the use of storytelling to illustrate the flashbacks?
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - Teacher's Guide - pdl-inc.info: Books
In Chapter One, how does Achebe foreshadow the presence and ultimate fate of Ikemefuna? Describe the judicial function of the egwugwu and its relationship to the living, particularly to Igbo women. Why is it also related to the spiritual world?
How does Achebe illustrate the blending of the spiritual and real worlds? How does the killing of Ikemefuna foreshadow the fall of Okonkwo? Why is Okonkwo exiled? Why is the exile ironic? When and how is the white man introduced? What attitudes toward the Igbo people do the white men bring and how do their attitudes determine their treatment of the Igbo people? How does Achebe use incidents to paint the general character of the white colonizers?
Character and Conflict 1. How does Okonkwo achieve greatness as defined by his culture? Why is Unoka, who suffers from a swelling in the stomach, left to die in the evil forest? How does Okonkwo differ from his father? What are his feelings toward his father? Cite examples in the attitude and actions of Okonkwo that show the Igbo division of what is considered manly and what is considered womanly. Why is Okonkwo unhappy with his son and heir?
How do his feelings toward Nwoye compare with his feelings toward Ikemefuna? Why is Ikemefuna killed? How does Nwoye react to the sacrifice? Okonkwo changes significantly after the killing of Ikemefuna.
Uchendu in Things Fall Apart | pdl-inc.info
Why does Nwoye convert to Christianity? How does his conversion affect his relationship with his father? How is his portrayal different from the Igbo characters? Compare and contrast him with other white colonists. How do his actions show disdain for Igbo traditions?
Setting and Society 1. The novel begins in Umuofia and ends in Umuofia. What surprises you about life in an African tribal community? What preconceptions did you bring to your reading that were either reinforced or changed? Why do the community celebrations make Okonkwo unhappy?
Igbo culture is patriarchal. What is the role of women in the community? Does their role make them less valuable than men? How does wife beating reflect the community attitude toward women? Near the beginning of the novel, we learn that Okonkwo has several wives.
What does this arrangement reveal about family life in the community? Describe the Igbo extended family system. How does it help Okonkwo to survive his exile in Mbanta? Compare and contrast Umuofia and Mbanta.
How do their similarities and differences add to an understanding of the Igbo culture? A significant social marker in Igbo society is the honorific title system. Describe how the use of titles allows Igbo members to compare themselves with each other.
What is the symbolic meaning of the Week of Peace for the Igbo people? Agriculture is important in the Igbo community. How does sharecropping contribute to the prosperity of the community? How does it affect individuals? What is the significance of the yam? What is the purpose of the New Yam Festival? How is it related to the religion of the community? Explain the concept of ogbanje. Show how it is reflected in the relationship of Ekwefi and Ezinma.
Things Fall Apart Teacher’s Guide
Nwoye connects to Ikemefuna, who presents an alternative to Okonkwo's rigid masculinity. He is one of the early converts to Christianity and takes on the Christian name Isaac, an act which Okonkwo views as a final betrayal. Ikemefuna is a boy from the Mbaino tribe.
His father murders the wife of an Umuofia man, and in the resulting settlement of the matter, Ikemefuma is put into the care of Okonkwo. By the decision of Umuofian authorities, Ikemefuna is ultimately killed, an act which Okonkwo does not prevent, and even participates in, lest he seem feminine and weak. Ikemefuna became very close to Nwoye, and Okonkwo's decision to participate in Ikemefuna's death takes a toll on Okonkwo's relationship with Nwoye. Ezinma is Okonkwo's favorite daughter, and the only child of his wife Ekwefi.
Ezinma, the Crystal Beauty, is very much the antithesis of a normal woman within the culture and Okonkwo routinely remarks that she would've made a much better boy than a girl, even wishing that she had been born as one. Ezinma often contradicts and challenges her father, which wins his adoration, affection, and respect. She is very similar to her father, and this is made apparent when she matures into a beautiful young woman who refuses to marry during her family's exile, instead choosing to help her father regain his place of respect within society.
Obierika is Okonkwo's best friend from Umuofia. He is a strong and powerful man in Umuofia, but unlike Okonkwo, he is a reasoning man and is much less violent and arrogant. Obierika often talks Okonkwo out of making rash decisions, and helps Okonkwo when he is on exile from Umuofia.
He fully understands the changes going on in their society, and that their clan no longer had the unity it did before the white man appeared in Umuofia. Obierika's son, Maduka, is greatly admired by Okonkwo for his wrestling prowess, which in Okonkwo's opinion is something his own son, Nwoye lacks. Obierika is considered the voice of reason in the book, and questions certain parts of their culture, such as the necessity to exile Okonkwo after he unintentionally kills a boy.
Ogbuefi Ezeudu is one of the elders of Umuofia. He is regarded as very wise, and gives Okonkwo good advice. He is the one who brings Okonkwo the message from the Oracle that Ikemefuna should be killed, but he also warns Okonkwo not to participate in the boy's execution, since Ikemefuna calls Okonkwo "father", a warning Okonkwo does not heed.
At Ezeudu's funeral, Okonkwo's gun misfires, accidentally killing the dead elder's son, for which Okonkwo and his family go into exile. Brown is a white man who comes to Umuofia. Unlike most Europeans portrayed in the novel, he shows kindness and compassion towards the villagers, thereby earning their love and respect.
He eventually develops an illness that leads to his death. Background[ edit ] Most of the story takes place in the fictional village of Iguedo, which is in the Umuofia clan.
Umuofia is located west of the actual city of Onitshaon the east bank of the Niger River in Nigeria. The events of the novel unfold in the s. The customs described in the novel mirror those of the actual Onitsha people, who lived near Ogidi, and with whom Achebe was familiar.
Within forty years of the arrival of the British, by the time Achebe was born inthe missionaries were well established. He lived in the British culture but he refused to change his Igbo name Chinua to Albert. Achebe's father was among the first to be converted in Ogidi, around the turn of the century. Achebe himself was an orphan raised by his grandfather. His grandfather, far from opposing Achebe's conversion to Christianity, allowed Achebe's Christian marriage to be celebrated in his compound.
In a interview with The Paris ReviewAchebe said, "the novel form seems to go with the English language. There is a problem with the Igbo language.
It suffers from a very serious inheritance which it received at the beginning of this century from the Anglican mission. They sent out a missionary by the name of Dennis.
He was a scholar. He had this notion that the Igbo language—which had very many different dialects—should somehow manufacture a uniform dialect that would be used in writing to avoid all these different dialects. Because the missionaries were powerful, what they wanted to do they did. This became the law. But the standard version cannot sing. There's nothing you can do with it to make it sing.
It doesn't go anywhere. While both African and non-African critics agree that Achebe modelled Things Fall Apart on classic European literature, they disagree about whether his novel upholds a Western model, or, in fact, subverts or confronts it.
Also, in the logic of colonization and decolonization it is actually a very powerful weapon in the fight to regain what was yours. English was the language of colonization itself. It is not simply something you use because you have it anyway. It has come to be seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English,   and is read in Nigeria and throughout Africa. Of all of Achebe's works, Things Fall Apart is the one read most often, and has generated the most critical response, examination, and literary criticism.
It has achieved similar status and repute in India, Australia and Oceania. Achebe is now considered to be the essential novelist on African identity, nationalism, and decolonization.
Achebe's main focus has been cultural ambiguity and contestation. The complexity of novels such as Things Fall Apart depends on Achebe's ability to bring competing cultural systems and their languages to the same level of representation, dialogue, and contestation.
Much of the critical discussion about Things Fall Apart concentrates on the socio-political aspects of the novel, including the friction between the members of Igbo society as they confront the intrusive and overpowering presence of Western government and beliefs.
Emenyonu commented that "Things Fall Apart is indeed a classic study of cross-cultural misunderstanding and the consequences to the rest of humanity, when a belligerent culture or civilization, out of sheer arrogance and ethnocentrismtakes it upon itself to invade another culture, another civilization. In Things Fall Apart, western culture is portrayed as being "arrogant and ethnocentric," insisting that the African culture needed a leader. As it had no kings or chiefs, Umuofian culture was vulnerable to invasion by western civilization.
It is felt that the repression of the Igbo language at the end of the novel contributes greatly to the destruction of the culture. Although Achebe favours the African culture of the pre-western society, the author attributes its destruction to the "weaknesses within the native structure. Influence and legacy[ edit ] The publication of Achebe's Things Fall Apart helped pave the way for numerous other African writers. Novelists who published after Achebe were able to find an eloquent and effective mode for the expression of the particular social, historical, and cultural situation of modern Africa.
Achebe broke from this outsider view, by portraying Igbo society in a sympathetic light.