Masbah Ahmed Period 6 12/23/12 Part 1 1. Why does Achebe chose to the title of his novel from Yeats’ poem? How does Achebe’s literary allusion to Yeats’ poem might deepen or extend—by comparison and/or contrast—the meaning(s) of Achebe’s title and his novel? Achebe chose the title because Things Fall Apart foreshadows the disaster which this novel portrays. It’s deepens the comparison by showing that thebook may be about how inner issues cause a usual end. 2. Describe Okonkwo, the protagonist of Things Fall Apart. How does he work to achieve greatness as defined by his community and culture?
How does he differ from Western heroes whom you are familiar with? Okonkwo was famous throughout nine villages and beyond because of this toughness. He was tall and huge with bushy eyebrows with a wide nose. Okonkwo achieves this greatness by defeating the greatest wrestler (Amalinze). He expressed his anger by using physical violence. He was nothing like his father Unoka. Oknonwo is different from western heroes unlike the western heroes, he earned his fame by his genuine strength, he beats his wide if they disobey him, and he was proud of his father. 3. a) Descibe Unoka, Okonkwo ‘s father?
Unoka was tall and very thin. He was lazy, reckless, and quiet. He was a loafer, never gave back the money he borrowed from people and because of that everyone in the village swore not to give him any money. Unoka was a coward when it came to war and he could stand blood. b) What are Okonwo’s feelings toward Unoka, and why? Okonwo isn’t proud of his father because of his father was a failure. Everyone in the tribe made fun of his father. His father was scared of blood and war unlike him, and Okonkwo thought a man should be strong like a warrior. c) How does the (negative) examples of the his father shapes Oknokwo’s uccess and character and actions? The failure of Okonkwo’s father turned into hate in Okonkwo’s heart and that hatred lead him to his success and he earned a title in his tribe. d) What do early descriptions of Okonkwo’s success and Unoka’s failure tells us about igbo society? It tells us that people that weren’t successful and was weak were looked down at in Igbo society and people that were strong and successful were held high. e) How does one succeed in this cultural context? One can succeed in this by taking control of its family (especially women) and proving their strength. Also by being honest and hard worker. ) What do we learn from the system of the taking of titles? We learn that having title(s) earns you respect in the tribes. In order for someone to earn title(s), they must be successful and prove their strength. e) Who seems to be excluded from opportunities to gain such a success? People that are excluded from opportunities are people that are lazy and weak. 4. Describe who Achebe’s intended audience(s) might be. What is the effect on you, as a Western reader and outsider to Igbo culture? How do Achebe’s language choices contribute to the novel? For example, “proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten. ” What does this mean? Ch. offers the story of the mosquito, one of several West African tales that explains why these insects buzz irritatingly in people’s ears. Can you think of any similar folktales told in your culture? What is the moral of the fable of the tortoise told in Ch. 11? What values do these stories reflect? Note that some stories are women’s stories, and others are men’s stories. Achebe’s intended audience might be some who isn’t familiar with Igbo society. The effect Igbo society has on me is being amazed by their life style except the part where the men beats the women, other than that, the culture of Igbo society is classic and indescribable.
I think this means proverbs are as important as palm-oil. I don’t think there are any folktales in my culture. The moral of the story is not to take advantage of people and be courteous to them. These stories reflect Igbo society’s culture, values, and love. 5. a) Describe the setting (time, place, culture) of the novel. The setting of the novel is around 1900’s of Nigeria in the village of Umoufia b) How is social life organized? Social life is organized based on you what you can do and you success, not on your ancestors. c) What are the important celebrations? Two important celebrations are the New Yam Festival and the Week of Peace. ) What is the role of war, of religion and of the arts? Wars don’t take place that easily. At first they try to come to a solution. Religion is a big part Igbo people. They worship the goddess of the earth and are always careful to avoid committing sins against her (god). Art is mostly of playing drums and flute. e) What is the role of the individual in relation to the community of Umuofia? Individual relation to the community is having control and respect by proving his strength, and also his wealth. f) Compare/contrast Igbo life ways, customs, perspectives, beliefs, and values of those of your own culture.
My culture is nothing similar to Igbo culture. We don’t celebrate New Yam Festival and we don’t have Week of Peace unlike Igbo society does. 6. What effect does night have on people in Ch. 2? What do they fear? How do they deal with their fear of snakes at night? On dark nights, people are scared to go outside. They fear snakes. They deal with their fear by not going outside at night unless there is enough light. On bright nights, people enjoy taking long walks. 7. a) What the important crops? The important crops are yams, kola-nuts, cassava, alligator peppers, corn, and cocoyam. b) What are the seasons?
Some seasons are the New Yam Festival, the planting season and the raining season. c) How does sharecropping work? A land owner allows someone else to live on his land and grow crops, and takes 2/3 of the crops as rent payment. d) What are the male and female designated crops, and why? The male designated crop is yams, and the female designated crops are coco-yams, beans and cassava because yams are probably more popular. e) What is the relationship of women to agriculture? The relationship of women to agriculture is that women have to grow stuff just like men, but they can only grow stuff that isn’t yams, they have to grow women’s crops. ) In contrast to other (e. g. Biblical) representations of locusts as a terrible plague, how does the village react to the coming of the locusts in Ch. 7? The village excitedly collects them because they are good to eat when cooked, in contrast to biblical representations the locust is seen as something bad about to happen. Masbah Ahmed Period 6 01-06-13 8. What does her power and status in Umofia suggest about women’s role in Igbo culture and religious beliefs? Later in the novel, note Chielo’s roles in the village (e. g.. in Ch6). What are those roles? What does Ch. 1 incident involving the priestess of Agbala tell us about the value of the culture? What side of Okonkwo is revealed by his behavior during that long night? Chielo’s power and status suggests that women are well respected and becomes the leader or advisor. Chielo was the priest of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and Caves. She was a mother of two. Incident involving Chielo reveals how loyal and dedicated people are to their culture by letting Chielo take Okonkwo’s daughter in a late night; they couldn’t refuse owing to their fear, which clearly shows that they are willing to do whatever is necessary.
This soft-side of Okonkwo was revealed and his weak-side. 9. Interpret this proverb, spoken of Okonkwo: “When a man says yes his Chi says yes also. ” Trace further references in the novel to the chi. What role does Okonkwo’s chi play in shaping his destiny? Trace the other factors in Okonkwo’s case. What this proverb means is that a man’s god will guide him and help him and he must accept what his does chi does for him. Okonkwo’s destiny was shaped by chi because it was his own chi, that he ended up fighting against and eventually he lost. He thought that anything weak needed to be destroyed.
He tries to eliminate any weakness within himself. 10. Compare Obierika—a man “who thinks about things”—to Okonkwo. Note the Instances when Okonkwo fails to heed the advice of others, especially of Obierika: What are the consequences? Three times in Part1, Okonkwo breaks Igbo taboos: what drives him to do so in each cases, and what are the consequences to Okonkwo, to his family and to his community? Okonkwo and Obierika are similar because they are both successful men in Igbo society. They are different because Okonkwo doesn’t think or ask questions before doing something.
Okonkwo would do anything to hide his weakness where Obierika shares his weakness, for instance he regrets taking the ozo title. Okoknwo didn’t pay any heed to him and leads him break the custom of Week of Peace by beating his second wife, and breaking taboos that caused the people to dislike him and his family leaving them with the fear of getting into a war for the solution of this conflict. 11. Describe Okonkwo’s relationships to his wives and children, especially to Ekwafi, Ezinma, and Nowye. What differing roles and functions do men and women have in Igbo society?
What is Okonkwo’s attitude toward women? Another African proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child. ” Compare/contrast the advantages and disadvantages in this social structure to our own family arrangements in the U. S. Okonkwo’s relationship with his wives and children is fearful nevertheless caring and loving. They all respects Okonkwo and scared of him to death. He expects his children to grow up like him. Okonkwo expects his wives to carry out duties thoroughly which includes cooking, feeding the children, cleaning the house and helping with the farming.
When they do not fulfill all of their duties, he gets very angry at them and sometimes beats them. If he feels disrespected by his wives; he beats them. His relationship with Ekwafi is special because she ran away from her husband to marry Okonkwo. Even though he loves Ekwafi, she suffered the most out all of his wives. To Enzima, he thinks that it would’ve better if she was boy because of hr qualities and personality. Also Enzima is the only surviving child of Ekwafi which made her more special to Okonkwo. To Nowye, he is really strict because he wants Nowye to grow up strong like him and carry on his legacy.
In Igbo society, men are to be strong, successful and should be able to control their women. Women are expected to all the house works. Men and women were given different crops to plant and their funerals were different. Men’s funerals were more important the women’s. Okonkwo’s attitude toward women is harsh and violent. He thinks they should do whatever he says or they will regret it. This proverb’s advantage is that it helps a child to be successful when everyone helps and the disadvantage is that the child will become dependent on others. This is contrastable to the social structure in family arrangements in U.
S. because it’s least likely for a society to help out a child because all they know is “I, for myself”. 12. What is the crime that causes Okonkwo’s to be reprimanded in Ch. 4? What does it tell you about the values of the culture? Why, according to Ezeani, is wife beating considered even at times other than Peace Week? The crime is Okonkwo beats his wife violently because she came home late and didn’t cook any supper even though he wasn’t supposed to hit her because it was the Peace Week. This shows that Igbo culture is practiced by rule and strictly and is taken very seriously.
Beating wife is seen as wrong even beyond Peace Week according to Ezeani because the peace should be kept to honor their goddess. 13. a. Briefly summarize the story of Ekwafi given in Ch. 5. b. What kind of woman is she? c. What do you think is the significance of women having to sit with their legs together? d. What is done to break the cycle of birth and death? e. What attitudes toward children does it reflect? f. How does Igbo belief in Ogbanje and the efforts to break the cycle of birth and death contrast to the “egnima” of “throwing away” of twins? h.
Does Achebe seem to validate the belief in ogbanje? How or why? a. Ekwafi fell in love with Ikemefuna when she saw him wrestling. B. She was the beauty of the village. She ran away from her husband to marry Okonkwo. Ekwafi is the woman who goes after what she wants and she loves wrestling. C. The significance of women having to sit their legs together is it shows that they have self-respect and it is formal. D. To break the cycle of birth and death, they are supposed to find iyi-uwa and destroy it. E. Ekwafi prizes her daughter because she is the only child that survived.
F. It reflects that she loves children because show lost many to neglect the one she has. G. The Igbo in ogbanje contrast to the “enigma” of the “throwing away” of twins by killing them instead of trying to drive the evil spirits away. h. He does seem to validate in his belief in it based on the depiction. 14. A. What is the purpose of the taking of Ikemefuna? B. How does he come to stay in Okonkwo’s home? C. What is Okonkwo’s relationship with Ikemefuna? D. Compare Okonkwo’s feelings to Nowye’s affection for Ikemefuna? E. Why is Okonkwo disappointed with his son Nowye?
F. How has Nowye begun to “act like a man” (Ch. 7)? G. What values does Okonkwo associate with manliness? h. How does Nowye relate to these values? i. What are the reasons and circumstances of Ikemefuna’s death? j. Why does Okonkwo act as he does, despite the advice of others not to participate in the killing of Ikemefuna (Ch. 7)? k. How does Nowye feel and (re)act? L. Compare Okonkwo’s attitude toward Nowye to Konkwo’s attitude toward his daughter Ezinma (presented in Ch. 8). a. The purpose of taking Ikemefuna was restitution for the death of Umofian woman. B.
Okonkwo took let Ikemefuna stay at his house because of the oracle. c. At first their relationship was like a master and slave but later it changed to a father-son relationship. d. Okonkwo likes Ikemefuna more than Nwoye because of the manliness lies within Ikemefuna. e. Oknokwo is disappointed with his son because Nwoye has the personality of his grandfather: weak and soft-minded. f. Nwoye has begun to act like a man by doing masculine jobs, grumbling about women and listening to Okonkwo’s stories about bloodshed and violence. g. Okonkwo doesn’t tolerate weakness in men. h.
Nwoye relates to these values because he is starting to show interests in masculine works and continuing his dad’s legacy. i. Ikemefuna was killed under Oracle’s decision. J.. Okonkwo does along because he didn’t want anyone to think he is weak or appear weak to others. K. Nwoye looked at Ikemefuna as a big brother and the death of his older brother left him all alone: he weeps for Ikemefuna. l. Okonkwo loves his daughter Ezinma more than his son Nwoye and he thinks Ezinma should’ve been a boy instead of a girl. 15. How are white men first introduced into the story? Why might Africans suppose that they don’t have any toes?
What sorts of attitudes do the African express about white men? White men are introduced as foreign explorers. The Africans suppose that they don’t have any toes because they wear shoes. Africans looked at whites as weird, strange, and enemy of their tribe. 16. How does one-handed egwugwu praise the dead men? What do we learn from the depiction of the funeral ceremony? What tragic incident forces Okonkwo into exile? One-handed egwugwu praised the dead men by dancing while carrying basket of water. We learn that the funeral ceremonies are taken seriously. Okonkwo’s gun explodes and kills a boy accidently. 7. What are these internal conflicts? What part does the village leader Okonkwo play in the dissension? How does Okonkwo jeopardize his own authority within his community? The internal conflicts are Okonkwo beats his wife during Peace Week. He had to pay a fine for his action. Because of what he did, he irritates the Oracles. 18. In what ways can things fall apart be considered a response to depictions of africans in western literature such as joseph conrads heart of darkness or other images of africa portrayed in the westernvmedia,film,books, etc that you are familiar with ?
How does Achebe’s novel correct such European depictions of Africa and Africans, and offer you an afrocentric rather than eurocentric perspective? This book shows that actual culture of Africans(Igbo society) ; it’s totally different from what is written or shown on T. V about Africans based stereotypes. Achebe shows how the Africans are loyal to their culture and their religion by explaining the events thoroughly. 19. What aspects to of pre-colonial Igbo culture does Achebe seem to question or criticize? How does Achebe use characters like Obierika, Okonkwo, and Nowye to offer such social criticism of Igbo society?
How do the people of Umofia react to change? Achebe seems to question or criticize the consequences people have to pay when it wasn’t meant to take place. He uses these characters to show they were treated and viewed by the society. The people in Umofia would be scared of changes since they were independent, especially with the nature. 20. Describe your initial reading experience and response(s) to Things Fall Apart Part 1 as a cross-cultural encounter: how are you responding to this exposure to traditional Igbo culture and people? Why do you think you are responding as you are?
What seems most different and/or foreign to you? What seems most similar and/or familiar to you? My reading experience was astonishing. The Igbo culture is pretty interesting: something I want to look into. I am responding like this because I love learning about new cultures/religions; it helps me understand people’s mind and their course of action. What seems foreign to me is unnecessary actions taken by the Oracle such as taking Ikemefuna and a virgin because of the crime Mbaino committed. What seems familiar to me is gathering during a festival.