Assignments are to the NY: Anchor Books, 1994 edition. Achebe's Things Fall Apart is probably the best-known, most widely acclaimed novel from modern Africa.
2. On your homework paper, make three columns, the first for characteristics of Okonkwo (the central character), the second for positive aspects of his society, and the third for its negative aspects. Read Part One, Chapters 1-4 (pp. 2-35). As you read, list appropriate items in each column.
2. In a sentence or two, comment on the male/female roles in the novel as they have been thus far developed.
3. It has been argued that the killing of Ikemefuna is justified, but that Okonkwo should not have participated in it. What, in the novel, justifies this view? What is your view? Explain your answers in three or four sentences.
2. Ekwefi's tale of the tortoise (Chapter 11) is a version of a very common African folk tale. It has been suggested that Achebe uses the tale to symbolize the conflict between white colonialists (the turtle), and the native Africans (the birds). At this point in the novel, however, the tale might also suggest a conflict between Okonkwo (an individual) and the Igbo society in which he lives. In a paragraph, explain the extent to which Okonkwo is, and is not, at one with the society in which he lives.
2. What is Okonkwo's view of the missionaries? What is it about the missionaries that attracts Nwoye? Explain your answer in three or four sentences.
3. In a sentence or two, explain the role of Obierka thus far in the novel.
2. In two or three sentences, explain the differences between Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith.
3. Given what happens in these chapters, in a paragraph, explain how Ekwefi's tale of the turtle (Chapter 11) can be seen as symbolic of the conflict between white colonialists (the turtle), and the native Africans (the birds).
4. In a sentence or two, explain why Okonkwo violates the most sacred beliefs of his society and hangs himself.
General question for discussion: The West Indian writer Aimé Césaire wrote:For my part, I make a systematic defense of the non-European civilizations. . . . They were communal societies, never societies of the many for the few. They were societies that were not only ante-capitalist, as has been said, but also anti-capitalist. (Lindfors, Bernth, ed. Approaches to Teaching Achebe's Things Fall Apart. NY: MLA, 1991. 112.)What is a capitalist society? Why does Césaire contrast them to communal societies? In what ways is this conflict between capitalistic and communal societies embedded in Things Fall Apart?
Assignment Six: In-class Essay
At the beginning of class, you will be given two of the following sets of thesis statements. Select one thesis, and write an essay to support it.