Things Fall Apart – Test Review

Agbala Women; also used of a man who has taken no title
Akunna Great man in village – son was taught in Mr. Brown’s school
Ani earth goddess – Feast of New Yams
Chielo The Priestess of Agbala “The Oracle of the Hills and the Caves”
Chukwu The supreme God – in charge of all other Gods
District Commissioner Judged cases in Umuofia
Egwugwu A masquerader who impersonates one of the ancestral spirits of the village
Amalinze “Amalinze the Cat” the wrestler who was unbeaten for 7 years – Okonkwo beat him
Nwoye Okonkwo’s oldest son, whom Okonkwo believes is weak and lazy. Okonkwo continually beats Nwoye, hoping to correct the faults that he perceives in him. Influenced by Ikemefuna, Nwoye begins to exhibit more masculine behavior, which pleases Okonkwo. However, he maintains doubts about some of the laws and rules of his tribe and eventually converts to Christianity, an act that Okonkwo criticizes as “effeminate.” Okonkwo believes that Nwoye is afflicted with the same weaknesses that his father, Unoka, possessed in abundance.
Ezinma The only child of Okonkwo’s second wife, Ekwefi. As the only one of Ekwefi’s ten children to survive past infancy, Ezinma is the center of her mother’s world. Their relationship is atypical—Ezinma calls Ekwefi by her name and is treated by her as an equal. Ezinma is also Okonkwo’s favorite child, for she understands him better than any of his other children and reminds him of Ekwefi when Ekwefi was the village beauty. Okonkwo rarely demonstrates his affection, however, because he fears that doing so would make him look weak. Furthermore, he wishes that Ezinma were a boy because she would have been the perfect son.
Ikemefuna A boy given to Okonkwo by a neighboring village. Ikemefuna lives in the hut of Okonkwo’s first wife and quickly becomes popular with Okonkwo’s children. He develops an especially close relationship with Nwoye, Okonkwo’s oldest son, who looks up to him. Okonkwo too becomes very fond of Ikemefuna, who calls him “father” and is a perfect clansman, but Okonkwo does not demonstrate his affection because he fears that doing so would make him look weak.
Mr. Brown The first white missionary to travel to Umuofia. Mr. Brown institutes a policy of compromise, understanding, and non-aggression between his flock and the clan. He even becomes friends with prominent clansmen and builds a school and a hospital in Umuofia. Unlike Reverend Smith, he attempts to appeal respectfully to the tribe’s value system rather than harshly impose his religion on it.
Mr. Kiaga The native-turned-Christian missionary who arrives in Mbanta and converts Nwoye and many others.
Enoch A fanatical convert to the Christian church in Umuofia. Enoch’s disrespectful act of ripping the mask off an egwugwu during an annual ceremony to honor the earth deity leads to the climactic clash between the indigenous and colonial justice systems. While Mr. Brown, early on, keeps Enoch in check in the interest of community harmony, Reverend Smith approves of his zealotry.
Ekwefi Okonkwo’s second wife, once the village beauty. Ekwefi ran away from her first husband to live with Okonkwo. Ezinma is her only surviving child, her other nine having died in infancy, and Ekwefi constantly fears that she will lose Ezinma as well. Ekwefi is good friends with Chielo, the priestess of the goddess Agbala.
Obierika Okonkwo’s close friend, whose daughter’s wedding provides cause for festivity early in the novel. Obierika looks out for his friend, selling Okonkwo’s yams to ensure that Okonkwo won’t suffer financial ruin while in exile and comforting Okonkwo when he is depressed. Like Nwoye, Obierika questions some of the tribe’s traditional strictures.
Ogbuefi Ezeudu The oldest man in the village and one of the most important clan elders and leaders. Ogbuefi Ezeudu was a great warrior in his youth and now delivers messages from the Oracle
Okonkwo An influential clan leader in Umuofia. Since early childhood, Okonkwo’s embarrassment about his lazy, squandering, and effeminate father, Unoka, has driven him to succeed. Okonkwo’s hard work and prowess in war have earned him a position of high status in his clan, and he attains wealth sufficient to support three wives and their children. Okonkwo’s tragic flaw is that he is terrified of looking weak like his father. As a result, he behaves rashly, bringing a great deal of trouble and sorrow upon himself and his family.
Ojiugo Okonkwo’s third and youngest wife, and the mother of Nkechi. Okonkwo beats Ojiugo during the Week of Peace.
Rev. Smith The missionary who replaces Mr. Brown. Unlike Mr. Brown, Reverend Smith is uncompromising and strict. He demands that his converts reject all of their indigenous beliefs, and he shows no respect for indigenous customs or culture. He is the stereotypical white colonialist, and his behavior epitomizes the problems of colonialism. He intentionally provokes his congregation, inciting it to anger and even indirectly, through Enoch, encouraging some fairly serious transgressions.
Uchendu The younger brother of Okonkwo’s mother. Uchendu receives Okonkwo and his family warmly when they travel to Mbanta, and he advises Okonkwo to be grateful for the comfort that his motherland offers him lest he anger the dead—especially his mother, who is buried there. Uchendu himself has suffered—all but one of his six wives are dead and he has buried twenty-two children. He is a peaceful, compromising man and functions as a foil (a character whose emotions or actions highlight, by means of contrast, the emotions or actions of another character) to Okonkwo, who acts impetuously and without thinking.
Unoka Okonkwo’s father, of whom Okonkwo has been ashamed since childhood. By the standards of the clan, Unoka was a coward and a spendthrift. He never took a title in his life, he borrowed money from his clansmen, and he rarely repaid his debts. He never became a warrior because he feared the sight of blood. Moreover, he died of an abominable illness. On the positive side, Unoka appears to have been a talented musician and gentle, if idle. He may well have been a dreamer, ill-suited to the chauvinistic culture into which he was born. The novel opens ten years after his death.
Abame The men of Abame, being foretold that white men would bring doom to their village, foolishly killed a white man and his horse, tying the horse to a tree. In response, three white men and a very large numbers of other men surrounded the market, then opened fire. Everybody at the market place was killed except the old and the sick who were at home and a handful of men and women whose chi were wide awake and brought to the market. Abame was said to be foolish in two ways: They killed a man who said nothing.They were not prepared in the market, and did not have their weapons with them.
Mbaino the neighboring village of Umuofia. Ikemefuna takeen from there
Mbanta Okonkwo’s homeland
Umuofia Okonkwo’s village
Umuru Umuru: Where tribesmen are hung by the white man.
Feast of the New Yams to give thanks to the earth goddess, Ani. Okonkwo doesn’t really care for feasts because he considers them times of idleness. The women thoroughly scrub and decorate their huts, throw away all of their unused yams from the previous year, and use cam wood to paint their skin and that of their children with decorative designs.
Week of Peace The week of peace was one of the means of unification for the clan and appeasement for the gods in control over their crops. Okonkwo breaks the sacred Week of Peace when he noticed that one of his wives, Ojiugo, leaves her hut without making dinner, frustrating him to the point of beating her up. He is forced to repent by a priest by sacrificing a nanny goat and a hen and paying a fine of one length of cloth and 100 crowries. Following the Week of Peace, villagers begin preparing the land for planting new seeds.
The Missionaries and Christianity The missionaries believe they are morally superior to the Ibo people. It is not so much that they want to help improve Ibo civilization, but they actually believe the Ibo are inferior and that their entire culture needs to be erased and then rebuilt in the Christian model. For example, the District Commissioner “had already chosen the title of [his] book…The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger” (Achebe 209). The word “primitive” suggests he believes the Ibo people are like Neanderthals, savage and uncivilized.
Religion and it’s imporrtance to the natives The Ibo people have strong religious beliefs, even though they are different from the European religion. For example, they believe that “there is one supreme god who made heaven and earth…[they]…call him Chukwu. He made all the world and the other gods” (Achebe 179).
Obanjie Child A changeling; a child who repeatedly dies and returns to its mother to be reborn. It is almost impossible to bring up an obanjie child without it dying, unless its iyi-uwa (a special kind of stone which forms the link between an obanjie and the spirit world) is found first and destroyed.
Personal Chi Chi = personal God
The Locusts The locust represented in the novel is very significant. Locusts have a binary attribute to them in Things Fall Apart. When the locust descend among the tribe, the clan accepts them as good, “At first, a fairly small swarm came…soon it covered half the sky, and the solid mass was not broken by tiny eyes of light like shining star dust. It was a tremendous sight” (pg. 56). The tribesmen and women danced about collecting the locust as they descending on their crops, their roofs, and throughout their homes. The locusts were good food to eat. Readers should take note that this is a foreshadowing event. In the Bible, one of the plagues that befall on Pharaoh is locust. The locust invaded Pharaoh’s land in Egypt and devoured everything. Later, the locust in Things Fall Apart would represent the missionaries that invaded the clan. Okonkwo hated these locusts as they devoured up the great men of the tribe and led the tribesmen astray feeding them the living Word of God. Here the term “locust” represents both the destruction of a religion through missionaries as well as a the benefits of the locusts bringing food into the tribe and settling on the homes of the clan.
Government (of the colonialists)
Government (Of the Natives)
Cultural traditions, marriage, feasts, kola ceremony, wrestling, etc.
Social customs, status and rank, home life, men, women, and children and their roles, elders egwugwu, outcasts Men=SuperiorMen farmedwomen did houseworkegwugwu = impersonating an ancestral spiritoutcasts = not part of society
Colonialism the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory.
Imperialism an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another.
Epigraph a phrase, quotation, or poem that is set at the beginning of a document or component. “Turning and turning in the widening gyrethe falcon cannot hear the falconer;things fall apart; the center cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
Proverb a brief popular saying (such as “Too many cooks spoil the broth”) that gives advice about how people should live or that expresses a belief that is generally thought to be true
Simile Comparing two unlike things using like or as
Imagery visually descriptive or figurative language, esp. in a literary work.
Folktale a general term for different varieties of traditional narrative

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