Things Fall Apart Reading Guide Questions

What accomplishments have helped to make Okonkwo a great man of the village? Throwing Amalize the Cat ( greatest wrestler in the village)
Compare and contrast Okonkwo with his father, Unoka. Why do you think Okonkwo feels as he does toward his father? Okonkwo works hard and is well respected and his father was lazy and had lots of debts
Okonkwo is a wealthy man and a noble. What are the signs of his wealth? A barn full of yams, 3 wives , and two titles
How doe the men of Umofia decide what to do about the murder of a woman from their clan? What role do the women of Umofia have in the decision? All the men gather and descide to send one of their men over to ask for a virgin and a young boy or they are going to start war
According to Achebe, what emotion dominates Okonkwo’s life? What is the source of this emotion? Fear… to be like his father
Achebe tells us, “Among the Ibo . . . proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” This statement itself is a proverb. How do you interpret it? That proverbs should not be “eaten” up but rather enjoyed and allow you to absorb them
Why does Unoka consult the Oracle? What does the Oracle tell him? He is having troubles harvesting crops and the oracle tells him he needs to work harder like everyone else
What is the Week of Peace? What does Okonkwo do to break it and what action does the clan take? A week when you have to be nice to your neighbors before harvesting and Okonkwo beats his wife for not being their to make him food. HE has to take things to sacrafie
Who is Nwoye and how does Okonkwo treat him? Describe the relationship between Nwoye and Ikemefuna.( boy they got from the killing of the girl) Nwoye is his son and he does not show affection because that shows weakness. Nwoye and ikemefuna are really good friends
Okonkwo’s first year as a farmer is difficult. How is the difficulty due to Okonkwo’s family history and how was it due to nature? His father left nothing behind for him and the rains were late and only lasted a brief moments
In a sentence or two, explain the concept of chi. What is the meaning of the proverb, “When a man says yes his chi says yes also?” What does Okonkwo means when he says he challenged his chi? Chi is a personal God or spirit. When a man wants something he goes after it and his chi makes sure he becomes successful. He will not give up on being successful
When is the Festival of the New Yam held? Explain Okonkwo’s reaction to the festival? The festival is held before planting the yams and Okonkwo does not enjoy the festival he would rather be farming
What causes Okonkwo to shoot at Ekwefi? What does this say about Okonkwo? She plucked bannas off his banana tree then criticized him for Herbert shooting his gun. He has a short temper.
What is an ilo? How is it used during the Festival? Ilo is the village gathering place, playground where all the great ceremonies and dances take place. The wrestling arena
How do the Ibo treat the winner of the final wresting match? Why are the winners so revered? Carry him on their shoulders, sing praise, clap. It is seen as masculine and a great accomplishment
When Obiageli broke the pot, how did Okonkwo react and how did you expect him to react? How do you account for any discrepancies? He defended her. This was odd because based on his personality and previouse actions he would have snapped on her and beat her. He did the opposite this time. She is a strong girl
How long has Ikemefuna been with the family? Who decides his fate? What does Ezeudu tell Okonkwo about this decision? 3 years, Umoufia, Ezedudu warns Okonkwo about the murder of Ikenefuna
In your opinion, did Ikemefuna know what was about to happen? What do Okonkwo’s actions reveal about him? No, he thought he was going back to see his mom and sister and knew Okonkwo would never let anything happen to him. That he only cares what others think, that’s why he strikes down Ikemefuna
How does Okonkwo feel about his daughter Ezinma? Why? Wishes she was a boy because he only values masculinity
Describe the scene between Okonkwo and Obierika. List two things you learn about Ibo culture from this scene and two things about the characters. Okonkwo calls Obierika out on not coming with to kill Ikenfuna. Obierija said that Okonkwo should have stayed home too because killing him was wrong. Care what others think and that they rely on what the gods say and signs
Analyze Okonkwo’s idea of masculinity? Do you think Okonkwo’s ideas of masculinity are typical of Ibo society, or are they extreme? A man with little emotions, wrestler, farmer, warrior. I think his are extreme because of his fear to be like his father.
At the end of the discussion among Okonkwo and his friends, what major historical event is foreshadowed? What peculiar belief about white people is expressed? That white people have no feet
Why does Ekwefi have a bitter attitude about life? Describe her relationship with Ezinma. What does Okonkwo do to help Ezinma? All her children dying. Ekwefi is Enzinmas mother. They treat eachother as equals. She lost all her other children. Makes medicine to care for the sick daughter
An ogbanje is a changeling, a child who repeatedly dies and returns. How can humans defeat an obanje’s wickedness? What do these beliefs reveal about Ibo society? With a stone and they beliefs show that they have no proof of why things happen so they come up with reasons
Who are the judges in the legal case in Chapter 10, and how do they behave? Do you feel the judges decision is fair? Egwugwu. The judges believe in pachriarchy but also believe who should be protected
In your opinion, do the people of Umuofia know what is behind the egwugwu masks or not? Find textual evidence to support your answer? No the women are not allowed inside the building they can help around outside but not inside not sure on the men
Achebe devotes several pages to Ekwefi’s folktale. Why do you think he chose to include the tale? To show how they have a story for why everything is the way it is.
Chielo, the priestess, interrupts the story-telling. What announcement does she make? Where does she take Ezinma? Why do you think the Oracle called for Ezinma? The oracle wants to see Ezinma. Takes here to nine villages then the cave of Agbala. Has something to tell her
How does Okonkwo react when the priestess first makes her announcement? What actions does he take later and what do they show about his character? He tells his wife to let her take their daughter away but then maybe goes with her to follow the daughter
What does the priestess do with Ezinma after emerging from the cave? Takes her on her back and takes her back to the village to put her to bed
What joyous ceremony takes place the day after the return from the cave? While preparing for ceremony, what do the men of Umuofia discuss at the market and what does this discussion show about them? A bethrothal/wedding ceremony. Bride price ceremony Not sure what they discuss. How much palm wine they will bring and Okonknwo asks who will bring his afternoon lunch. The markets/ thieves in the markets
What sorrowful news does the drum announce? The death of a member of their village, oldest of the villages, the man who came to tell him not to kill the kid who looked at him as a father
What terrible accident occurs at the funeral and what happens to Okonkwo’s family as a result? His gun explodes and kills one of the dead mans sons. They have to flee
In your opinion, why did Achebe choose to end Part One the way he did? What aspects of the funeral ceremony make it possible for dangerous accidents to occur? How is this accident related to the infiltration of Western technology into a traditional culture? They all have guns and shooting of guns was part of the ritual
According to Achebe, how does Okonkwo feel about his new life? Cite at least one example of figurative language that Achebe uses to describe Okonkwo’s feelings. He is feeling bad for himself. He says its like an old man learning to write with his left hand he has to start fresh. He does not have the enthusiasm like he did when he was younger to grow crops.
Uchendu tells a story about a kite who takes a duckling and a chick. What is the point of the story? How does it relate to the encounter between the Abame and the whites? The white men came in and took it over. White man on an iron horse (bike)
What does Obierika bring with him on his visit to Okonkwo? Why does he not want Okonkwo to thank him? Cowry shells. They were the money from his yams and he was a good friend and didn’t want thanks. He was just being a good friend. Said kill a son of yours and then kill yourself as a joke
What disaster happens to the Abame clan? How did it happen? White people came and shot all the people
What step does Nwoye take concerning the missionaries? Does this decision show strength or weakness? Why do you think Nneka converted to Christianity? Not sure but he might have converted because of all the great things they had. The crying of the babies and his brother being killed bothered him. The new religion does not accept these things and find answers in Christianity. Nneka converts because help with her pregnancy, four sets of twins that are thrown away. Doesn’t want the kid(s) she is pregnant now to be thrown away.
What is Uchendu’s reason for giving the missionaries part of the Evil Forest and what is the result? They don’t want to be mean and kick them out so they give them the evil forest and think they will die in four days but turns out they don’t
How do you interpret Okonkwo’s thought, “Living fire begets cold, impotent ash.” Fire is life. Fire puts out you but there’s still ash. Legacy is so strong burned out before his son could receive it
State one way in which the European missionaries understand Ibo culture and one way in which the Ibo misunderstand the Europeans They don’t always use to correct words when talking to the ibo people, they know about their religions. They don’t understand the trinity Chi: personal god/ guardian angels Relates to fate and destiny If a man says yes his chi agrees
What role did outcasts play in bringing Christianity to Iboland? Why is this important? Outcasts are shinned and the Christian missionaries offer them acceptance and sense of place. These outcasts are making the Christianity grow
On two occasions, converts actively threaten the religious traditions in Mbanta. What are the occasions? Twins and evil forest
What unfortunate event happens to the Christians during the week before Easter? When the women go to collect rocks, red mud, and water the natives do not let them and whip them
Why is there no punishment in Ibo law for killing a python? Why could the clan not kill the converts? If you kill a python you become ill and die. Some of their own people were converts and it would not be the right thing.
How has Umofia changed during Oknokwo’s exile? Give three specific examples. The missionaries are coming in and changes the natives into their culture. They are now changing the government, brought in their death penalties, and religion, court and jails, hospitals and schools, trading stores (commercially)
How is Mr. Smith different from Mr. Brown? How are they similar? Both religous missionaries, mr. brown was more friendly to the natives, mr. smith is not
How does Enoch spark a conflict in Umofia? What does the clan do about it? Unmaks an Egwugwu, a leader. Killed an ancestral and everyone was confused
According to Obierika, the clan could easily drive out two white men. Why then, does he feel the clan is falling apart? The church is ripping them apart. They are putting in hospitals to try to show their being nice and then putting in schools, to teach them their government
How does Okeke, Mr. Smith’s interpreter, show wisdom in dealing with the leaders of Umuofia? What do you think is the cause of his wisdom? What do you think would have happened if Okeke weren’t so wise? They wouldn’t have handled it the way they had, Okeke was friendly to them and was the bigger person
Why do you think the guards and messengers treat the men of Umuofia so badly? What do they do? They want to show them whos boss. They put them in prison and make them pay a fine of 250 cowrey shells
In what way do the court messegers take money dishonestly from Umuofia? Raise it from 200 to 250
What kind of person do you think the District Comissioner is? Describer your views. I think he is a jerk and is trying to take advantage of the native people (Disrespectful)
At the end of Chapter 24, Okonkwo hears his clansmen asking, “Why did he do it?” What are they referring to, and why do you think he did it? He killed the speaker he tried to take matters into his own hand and end this and thought his people would join in and kill the other messengers but rather they were shocked at his actions.
In the last paragraph of the novel, the point of view shifts although the narrative is still third-person. Whose point of view is shown in this paragraph? Why do you think Achebe makes this shift? What tone, or attitude, does Achebe adopt in this paragraph? The Eropeans look on the Africans, they don’t think they are civilized but they already had their own government and religions. To show the Europeans looks on the Africans. Talks about this story will make a good paragraph not a whole chapter though.

You Might Also Like