STUDY GUIDE TO “THINGS FALL APART”
The character we're focusing on in this lesson is one of Okonkwo's The two most important familial relationships for Ezinma are with her. Their relationship is atypical—Ezinma calls Ekwefi by her name and is treated by her as an equal. . What is the nature of Okonkwo's relationship with Ezinma?. At the end of Okonkwo's story, Achebe alludes to the lack of depth and sensitivity with which the Europeans will What is the nature of Okonkwo's relationship with Ezinma? What is the significance of some of the animals they discuss?.
One of the major reasons why the Igbo society was unable to protect its culture, traditions and religion from missionaries and colonialism was its rigid conception of masculinity.
Christianity assimilated everything that was considered odious, cancerous, throwaway by the Igbos — the outcast osus, women who had been the most compromising victims of patriarchy, and tortured souls like Nwoye who finally found a space which gave voice for the criticism of sinister practices.
Everything that was broken, battered and overridden by the obsessive exaltation of masculinity, found a space to accumulate and build up. The Igbo society failed to recognise the cracks within.
It failed to remedy its diseased state and reinvent.The Life Of Nwoye (Things Fall Apart)
It never relented its grasp on individuals like Okonkwo who grew, lived and got distorted in its calcified cell. Nidhi Singh lives in Bangalore, India. She loves African literature and feels most fulfilled as a person when she reads or writes. Someday, she will visit Africa.
He is a very structured man with little patience for whatever he believes is wrong. Okonkwo fails to understand that greatness lies in the combination of masculine and feminine qualities.
Okonkwo being such a structured man is a good feature of his personal nature, but even this has a negative effect on his life.
Okonkwo's father, Unoka, causes Okonkwo to be confused about life. Unoka was a complete failure in the eyes of the Umuofia people because of his effeminate way of thinking, and, "When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt," Achebe Therefore he hated everything that his father loved including gentleness and idleness.
For example Okonkwo makes fun of an elder Ogbuefi Ndulue, who never did anything without letting his wife know about it, he replies to Obierika and said: In addition Okonkwo was very harsh when dealing with less successful men.
For example he rudely insults Osugo the man who had no titles for contradicting him at a kindred meeting. Moreover, Okonkwo failed to accept his own son Nwoye, because he has always seen him as a resemblance of his grandfather Unoka. He also confessed to himself that Nwoye was not worth fighting for.
How could he have begotten a woman for a son? He only relate to his daughter Ezinma, he thinks of her as 2 a boy because she has good spirit: Yes Umuofia has decided to kill him. The Oracle of the Hills and the caves has pronounced it. They will take him outside Umuofia as is the custom, and kill him there.
But I want you to have nothing to do with it. Ikemefuna did a lot for Okonkwo and his family.
There was nothing that Okonkwo could do to stop the boy from being killed but he could make things slightly better by not being involved with the death, as Obierika had suggested. But Okonkwo killed him because he was afraid of being thought weak. What seem to be the main functions of the ceremony? How does Evil Forest refute the argument of Uzowulu that he beat his wife because she was unfaithful to him?
How are problems like this affected by the fact that whole families are involved in marriage, unlike in American culture where a man and woman may wed quite independently of their families and even against their families' wishes? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each system? Chapter Eleven What is the moral of the fable of the tortoise?
What values does it reflect? What does the incident involving the priestess of Agbala reflect about the values of the culture? Chapter Twelve Notice the traditional attitudes of all small villagers toward large marketplaces like Umuike. How is the importance of family emphasized in the uri ceremony? Notice that the song sung at the end of the chapter is a new one.
Achebe often reminds us that this is not a frozen, timeless culture, but a constantly changing one. Chapter Thirteen Having shown us an engagement ceremony, Achebe now depicts a funeral. We are being systematically introduced to the major rituals of Ibo life. How does the one-handed egwugwu praise the dead man? Okonkwo has killed people before this. What makes this incident so serious, though it would be treated as a mere accident under our law?
Chapter Fourteen In Part One we were introduced to an intact and functioning culture. It may have had its faults, and it accommodated deviants like Okonkwo with some difficulty, but it still worked as an organic whole. It is in Part Two that things begin to fall apart.
Things Fall Apart – Study Guide – Part I Character Identification
Okonkwo's exile in Mbanta is not only a personal disaster, but it removes him from his home village at a crucial time so that he returns to a changed world which can no longer adapt to him. What is the significance of comparing Okonkwo to a fish out of water? Note the value placed on premarital chastity in the engagement ceremony. In many African cultures virginity is not an absolute requirement for marriage but it is highly desirable and normally greatly enhances the value of the bride-price that may be paid.
Thus families are prone to assert a good deal of authority over their unmarried daughters to prevent early love affairs. How does Okonkwo's lack of understanding of the importance of women reflect on him?
Things Fall Apart: Character Relationships andTheir Ro by Keiara Newsome on Prezi
Chapter Fifteen How does the story of the destruction of Abame summarize the experience of colonization? Movie Indians call a train engine an "iron horse," but the term here refers to a bicycle. Note that although the people of Abame acted rashly, they had a good deal of insight into the significance of the arrival of the whites.
Note how the Africans treat the white man's language as mere noise; a mirror of how white colonizers treated African languages. What sorts of stories had Okonkwo heard about white men before? In the final exchange with Okonkwo Obierika is good-naturedly refusing to accept Okonkwo's thanks by joking with him.
Chapter Sixteen The British followed a policy in their colonizing efforts of designating local "leaders" to administer the lower levels of their empire. In Africa these were known as "warrant chiefs. Thus the new power structures meshed badly with the old. Similarly the missionaries have designated as their contact man an individual who lacks the status to make him respected by his people.
Why do you think Nwoye has become a Christian? Note how Achebe inverts the traditional dialect humor of Europeans which satirizes the inability of natives to speak proper English by having the missionary mangle Ibo.
What is the first act of the missionaries which evokes a positive response in some of the Ibo? Achebe focuses on the doctrine of the Trinity, the notoriously least logical and most paradoxical basic belief in Christianity.
How does this belief undermine the missionaries' attempts to discredit the traditional religion? Why does the new religion appeal to Nwoye?
Chapter Seventeen What mutual misunderstandings are evident in this chapter between the missionaries and the people of the village? How does the granting to the missionaries of a plot in the Evil Forest backfire?
What does the metaphor in the next to the last sentence of the chapter mean? Chapter Eighteen The outcaste osu are introduced in this chapter. Why do you suppose Achebe has not mentioned them earlier? Their plight was indeed a difficult one, and is treated by Achebe elsewhere. In India the lowest castes were among the first to convert to faiths which challenged traditional Hinduism; and something similar seems to happen here.
Chapter Nineteen Note how traditional Umuofian custom can welcome back an erring member once he has paid for his crime. In many cultures Okonkwo would be treated as a pariah, but this culture has ways of accommodating such a person without destroying him, and in fact encouraging him to give of his best.
What does the final speaker say is the main threat posed by Christianity? Chapter Twenty Okonkwo's relationship to the newcomers is exacerbated by the fact that he has a very great deal at stake in maintaining the old ways.
All his hopes and dreams are rooted in the continuance of the traditional culture. The fact that he has not been able gradually to accustom himself to the new ways helps to explain his extreme reaction. The missionaries have brought British colonial government with them. Missionaries were often viewed as agents of imperialism. There is a saying common to Native Americans and Africans alike which goes like this: Now we have the Bible and they have the land.
Note the final phrase of Obierika's last speech, alluding to the title of the novel. Chapter Twenty-One Why do some of the villagers--even those who are not converts to Christianity--welcome the British? The missionaries try to refute what they consider idolatry with the simplistic argument that the animist gods are only wooden idols; however the villagers are perfectly aware that the idol is not the god in a literal sense, any more than the sculpture of Christ on the cross in a Christian church is God.
This sort of oversimplification was a constant theme of Christian arguments against traditional faiths throughout the world as the British assumed that the natives were fools pursuing childish beliefs who needed only a little enlightenment to be converted.
Brown here learns better. It is worth noting that Achebe, like his fellow Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka, was raised a Christian; but both rejected the faith and have preferred to affirm certain aspects of traditional beliefs in their own lives.