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things fall apart questions
Terms in this set (159)
How does eighteen-year-old, Okonkwo, bring honor to his village?
He defeated the Cat in a wrestling match
When Okonkwo is angry and cannot speak because of his stutter, how does he get his point across?
By using his fist, violence
Who is Okonkwo's father?
Why doesn't Okonkwo have any patience with his father?
His father was a loser, weak
When is the only time that Unoka is not haggard and mournful?
When he plays music
Why does Unoka's neighbor, Okoye, visit him?
He owed Okoye money
What is used to inform all the men of the Umuofia to meet in the market place the following morning?
Hearing the ogene of the town crier
What do the people of Umuofia fear in the night?
Darkness because of evil spirits, snakes, and animals
Okonkwo does not fear war, In the last war he fought, he brought home a souvenir which he drank palm-wine out of, What is this souvenir?
A human skull
Who is the powerful orator that informs the ten thousand men of the emergency facing the nine villages of Umuofia?
What is the emergency that the great orator announces at the meeting in the marketplace?
A daughter of Umuofia was killed
Okonkwo is very prosperous, owning a large compound with many huts, and an abundance of food, Ikemefuna is given to Okonkwo to live with him until the clan decides Ikemefuna's fate, How does Ikemefuna react to living with Okonkwo?
He is scared and confused but he knew that his dad was part of a murder
Under what circumstances will the people of Umuofia consult Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves?
When missteps come their way, a dispute with neighbors, or to consult the spirits of their departed fathers
When Okonkwo was a boy, his father, Unoka, consults Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills, about why his crops always fail, What reply did the Oracle give?
He was a wear farmer and should work harder like a man
What does Okonkwo bring with him to share with the wealthy Nwakibie and his family before asking for yam seeds and sharecropping privileges?
A pot of palm wine, kola nut, and a cock/chicken
Anasi is Nwakibie's first wife, which makes her the ruler over the other wives of Nwakibie, She is the only wife who can wear her husband's titles, Where are the titles worn on Anasi?
On an anklet
What is the only way a young man can build a barn of his own if his father has no yams?
What are the crops that are considered women's crops by the people of Umuofia?
Coco-yams, beans, and cassava
How does Okonkwo react to the disastrous growing season that destroys all his yams and the yams of his people?
He thinks that since he survived that season he can survive anything
Why does Okonkwo insult Osugo at a meeting by calling him a woman?
The less successful men were insulting him
How does Nwoye's mother treat Ikemefuna?
She is very kind and treats him as one of her own
Why does Okonkwo beat his second wife, Ojiugo, during the sacred Week of Peace?
She went to plait her hair at a friends house, wasn't home in time to cook dinner, and left the children home alone
What is Okonkwo's punishment for committing a "nso-ani" during the Week of Peace?
He had to bring one she-goat, one hen, a length of cloth, and 100 cowries to the Ani shrine
The punishment for breaking the sacred peace changes through the years, What happened to a man that broke the Week of Peace in the past?
He was dragged through the village until he died
What is the custom in the village of Obodoani if a man dies during the Week of Peace?
He is left in the Evil Forest, not buried
What drives Okonkwo into a rage on the first day of the festival, leading him to beat his second wife, Ekwefi, and almost kill her with a gun?
She made a comment to him about guns that never shot (he tried to shoot her but missed)
The first day of the New Year is celebrated with feasting and fellowship, What takes place on the second day of the New Year?
A wrestling match between Okonkwo's tribe and a neighbor tribe
How does Ezinma, the daughter of Okonkwo's second wife, bring fire to Nwoye's mother's hut?
She puts live coals in a broken pot and carried them across the swept clean compound
Ezinma tells her mother, Ekwefi, that her upper eyelid is twitching, What does Ekwefi tell Ezinma the significance of the twitch is?
It means Ezinma will see something
Nwoye's mother calls Ezinma "Ezigbo" when she brings the fire to Nwoye's mother's hut, What does "Ezigbo" mean?
"Ezigbo" means "the good thing"
What is the significance of the beating of drums in the village playground, the ilo, where all the great ceremonies and dances of the village take place?
The drums mean the wrestling match is starting
Which of the spectators of the wrestling match are allowed to sit around the huge circle of the wrestling ring?
The elders and grandees in the village
Why is the big, ancient silk-cotton tree in the playground considered sacred?
Spirits of good children waiting to be born lived there and women who wanted children went there for shade
What is the name of the boy who wins the wrestling match in the fifteen
to sixteen-year-old age group with a lightning fast move that was never seen before?- Maduka
Who is the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves, in real life?
How many men are in each of the two teams of wrestlers who face each other in the wrestling ring?
12 men on each team
Which men fight in the final wrestling match of the day?
The team leaders, Ofako and Ikezue
What hopes does Okonkwo have for his son, Nwoye's, future?
To prosper, have enough to feed ancestors with regular sacrifices, be great like Okonkwo
What descends on the land of Okonkwo, darkens the sky, settles on the rooftops, and breaks mighty tree branches under them?
Locusts (grasshopper looking bugs)
Okonkwo is sitting in his obi with Ikemefuna and Nwoye, eating dried locusts when Ogbuefi Ezeudu comes with a message, What is the message?
The Oracle of the Hills announced that Ikemefuna shall be killed
After speaking with the elders of nine villages, what does Okonkwo tell Ikemefuna about what is going to happen to him?
He tells Ikemefuna that he is being taken home
Okonkwo and the men of Umuofia take Ikemefuna deep into the forest and kill him with machetes, Who gives the final thrust of the machete that ends Ikemefuna's life?
What happens to twins born in Umuofia?
They are left in the Evil Forest to die because they are thought to be evil
How does Okonkwo act for two days after Ikemefuna's death?
He does not eat or sleep because he feels guilty about Ikemefurna's death
Why does Okonkwo worry about his son, Nwoye?
He is not as manly as Okonkwo was at his age
What is the strange event that takes place in the village of Ire that Ofoedo tells Okonkwo and Obierika about?
The death of Ogbuefi Ndulue and his wife
What is a man who holds the ozo title forbidden to do?
Climb the palm tree
Obierika's daughter, Akueke, is sixteen, just the right age for marrying. How do her suitor and his relatives determine if she is ripe for marriage?
They survey her body with expert eyes
What is the agreed upon bride-price for Akueke?
20 bags of cowries
Ekwefi awakes Okonkwo early in the morning pounding on his door. What is she anxious to tell him?
Ezinma is dying
What is the name all children of the clan except Ezinma call their mothers?
Nine out of ten of Ekwefi's children die in infancy. After the second death, Okonkwo goes to the medicine man to find out why this is happening. What explanation does the diviner give?
The child was ogbanje and when they died they entered the mothers womb to be reborn
What does Okagbue, the medicine man, dig up from under the orange tree that makes the people of the village believe that Ezinma will live to adulthood?
He digs up her "iwi-uwa"
What does Okonkwo bring back from the bush while Ezinma lays sick in Ekwefi's hut?
grasses , leaves, roots, and barks of medicinal trees and shrubs
How does Ekwefi make the medicine she hopes would cure Ezinma?
She put a pot on the fire with the materials Okonkwo got
How can an observer tell if a communal ceremony is only for the men of the village?
The women were on the outside and the titled men and elders were on stools in front
Who are the two groups of people who stand facing the elders at the ceremonial trial?
Mgbafo and her brothers, and Uzowulu (her husband) and his relatives
As the drums sound and the flutes blast, what appears out of the egwugwu house?
The voices of egwugwu and the spirits of their ancestors
What does the law state in Umuofia if a woman runs away from her husband?
If a woman runs away from her husband, they must return the bride price
What is the first trial's dispute set before Evil Forest and the egwugwu?
Mgbafo left because her husband killed her baby and beat her too much
What is the decision of the egwugwu after hearing the case for Mgbafo's family against Uzowulu?
Uzowulu must bring a pot of palm wine from his in laws and beg for his wife to return
Okonkwo ate his wives' meals, and his wives and children ate their supper. What is the next thing his wives and children do?
Ekwefi tells a story about the tortoise and the birds to Ezinma
One night, the storytelling of Okonkwo's wives and children stops because the priestess, Chielo, is shouting in a high
pitched voice. What does she tell Okonkwo?- Agbala wanted to see Ezinma
What does Ekwefi do after Chielo carries Ezinma away on her back?
Ekwefi follows Chielo
Where does Chielo bring Ezinma?
The Oracle's cave
Who appears in front of Ekwefi as she waits tearfully outside Agbala's cave?
As Ekwefi and Okonkwo wait outside of Agbala's cave for Ezinma's return, what does Ekwefi think about?
When she left her marriage to be with Okonkwo
Okonkwo's friend, Obierika, is celebrating his daughter's uri. Why does this day put the entire neighborhood into a festive air?
She is getting married, which is a happy event
What does the priestess do when she brings Ezinma out of Agbala's cave?
She walked straight to Ekwefi's hut and put Ezinma on the bed
Where does Obierika send one of his relatives to get a fat goat to give to his in-laws during the uri?
Why do all the women abandon preparing the food for the uri and rush off to Obierika's crop field?
They heard a cry "Oji odu achu ijiji-o-o! (The one that uses its tail to drive flies away!)"
How many pots of wine do Obierika's in-laws bring to his home for the uri?
What are the traditional events when night falls and it is time to end Obierika's daughter's uri?
They sang each man's praise, the girls danced, they all sang
What does the ekwe, a hollowed out wooden instrument and the blast of the cannon signify to the nine villages of Umuofia?
Somebody had died
Every man learns the language of the ekwe. How does the wooden instrument let the people know exactly who has died?
The sound "Di-go-go-di-go-di-di-gogo"
What is the name of the man that the ekwe announces to Umuofia?
Why can Ezeudu, the oldest man in his village, only be buried at night?
He had taken titles (3)
What is the tragedy that takes place during the final burial rites for Ezeudu while the cannon is shot and guns fired?
Okonkwo's gun exploded, iron hit the boy's heart and he was killed
What is Okonkwo's punishment for killing Ezeudu's son?
He had to flee from the clan for 7 years
Where does Okonkwo bring his family after being banished from his village?
Mbanta, his motherland
What does Uchendu, the younger brother of Okonkwo's mother, give to Okonkwo after he comes looking for refuge?
A plot to build his compound, land to build his farm, and seeds from his sons
What is the final ceremony, Amikwu, Uchendu's youngest son, has to perform before getting married?
A confession ceremony, they speak if they have cheated (isa-ife)
What question does Njide, the eldest sister of Uchendu, ask of her brother's bride during the isa-ife?
"How many men have lain with you since my brother first expressed a desire to marry you?"
Why do the people say "Mother is Supreme" when the man is the head of the family and his wives and children are obedient to him?
A man finds refuge in his motherland, she is always there to protect and she is buried there
What does Uchendu tell Okonkwo his duty was?
To comfort his wives and children and go back after 7 years
What does Obierika bring for Okonkwo two years after Okonkwo had been exiled?
Two bags of cowries
What does the Abame clan do to the first white man that comes to their village?
They killed him and tied his horse/bicycle to the sacred silk cotton tree
What news does Obierika bring to Okonkwo and Uchendu about the Abame clan?
The whole Abame clan was wiped out
Why does Uchendu say, "Never kill a man who says nothing" when Obierika tells them about the white man the Abame killed?
They didn't know what he wanted or if more were coming
Who says that the Abame were fools and had been warned of danger, and that they should have brought guns and machetes with them to the market?
Where does Obierika get the bags of cowries that he brings to Okonkwo?
He sold Okonkwo's yams for them
What happens in Umuofia the next time Obierika comes to visit Okonkwo, two years later?
The missionaries went to Umuofia
What type of clan members joins the white man's religion?
Men with no titles, efulefu
Why does Obierika go to visit Okonkwo a second time, two years after the first?
He saw Nwoye with the missionaries
How many missionaries go to Mbanta?
What do the missionaries tell the Mbanta people about their gods?
That they are false gods of deceit who tell you to kill your children and fellows
Who is captivated by the message of the missionaries?
When the missionaries ask the rulers of Mbanta for land to build their church, what do the rulers give them?
Land in the Evil Forest
What do the people of Mbanta expect to happen to the missionaries when they start building their church?
They expect them to all be dead in 4 days
What is the name of the first woman to join the Christian missionaries?
Nneka-she because she bore many twins
What does Nwoye do after his father, Okonkwo, beats him for being with the missionaries?
He leaves to go to the church and does not return
What is Okonkwo afraid will happen to his male children after he dies?
They will abandon their customs and go to the missionaries like Nwoye
What is Okonkwo's popular nickname?
What is the other thing that the white man brought to Umuofia besides religion?
A government system
What is an osu?
What is the first thing Mr Kiaga orders the outcasts to do if they want to remain in the new religion?
Shave their mark/hair
What do the rulers and elders of Mbanta decide to do about the Christians after one of the converts kills the Sacred Python?
They outlaw Christians and don't let them in marketplaces
What happens to the Christian women who go to the stream for water to wash the church with?
They were chased away from the streams by men with whips
What event occurs that convinces the clan that the gods can fight their own battles?
Okoli, the boy who killed the python dies from an illness
What does Okonkwo send to Obierika as he enters his final year of exile?
Money to build two compounds where his family will live
How is Okonkwo going to thank his mother's people for helping him during his seven years in exile?
A huge feast with cassava
How do Ekwefi and Ezinma harvest the cassava for the feast?
Ezinma shook the tree, cut the stem, pulled the stump out, the roots snapped, then they were able to get it out
What does Okonkwo serve at the feast for all the umunna, the descendants of Okolo?
Foo-foo, yams, pottage, egusi soup, palm wine, kola nut, and three goats and fowls
What does the oldest member of the clan say is the reason for gathering for Okonkwo's feast?
It is good for kinsmen to do this
Why do the elders fear for the young people of the village?
Young people don't understand how important kinship is and they don't know how to speak as one voice
What is the first thing Okonkwo plans to do when he returns to his clan?
Rebuild his compound to be larger and add two huts for his two new wives
What does Okonkwo hope his sons will be initiated into when his family returns from exile?
Their clan, the ozo society
Who is called the Crystal of Beauty in Mbanta, growing into a healthy, buoyant young woman?
What is the nickname of kotma, the court messengers who guard the prison which holds people who break the white man's law?
Ashy-buttocks (their shorts were ash colored)
Why does Obierika tell Okonkwo that it is too late to fight the white man and drive him from the land?
Too many of their own native people have joined the religion and the government, removing the two white men maybe but not the people
When Aneto kills Oduche over a land dispute, what does the white man's government decide?
They send his kotma to find him and hung him in jail
Who is the white missionary that makes friends with great men of the clan and is presented with a carved elephant tusk?
What is the name of the god that the people of Umuofia believe is the creator of all the world and the other gods?
What does Mr Brown build in Umuofia?
A hospital and a school
How does Mr Brown encourage the people to attend school?
He begged, bribed them with gifts and said the next ruler will be able to read and write
What is Nwoye's name changed to after he joins the Christians?
What does Okonkwo mourn when he returns to his clan?
His clan falling apart, acting like women
Who is the missionary that replaces Mr Brown in Umuofia?
Reverend James Smith
What does Mr Smith tell the people about ogbanje, the evil children who are born over and over again to plague their mothers?
Stories about the devil to lead men away and those who believed the stories were not worthy to sit at the Lord's table
Who touches off the conflict between church and clan in Umuofia that has been building since Mr Brown left?
What does Enoch do that is one of the greatest crimes a man can commit during the annual ceremony?
He unmasks an egwugwu in public/ says anything that could reduce its immortal prestige among the uninitiated
What does the angry band of egwugwu do to Enoch's compound and the Christian church as revenge for unmasking one of the ancestral spirits?
Destroy it with machetes and fire
What option does Ajofia, the leading egwugwu, give to Mr Smith when they come to the church?
The white man should go home, destroy the church, and those who worship their (Igbo) gods can stay
What does the District Commissioner do three days after the destruction of the church?
H sends a messenger to the Umuofia leaders to meet at their headquarters
What happens to the six leaders of Umuofia during their meeting with the District Commissioner?
They are all handcuffed for misbehaving
What punishment does the District Commissioner give the six leaders of Umuofia?
They have to pay 200 cowries
How are the six leaders of Umuofia treated while in captivity?
No restroom, food, or water for two days and they were mocked for their shaved heads
How many cowries do the court messengers ask the people for as payment to release their leaders?
250 bags of cowries
Why do the men of Umuofia meet in the marketplace after the village crier beats the message on the ogene?
The fine must be paid or the prisoners will be hung
What happens to the six leaders of Umuofia once the fine is paid to the District Commissioner?
What does Okonkwo vow to do after being released from the white man's prison?
What does Okonkwo feel the greatest obstacle to going to war against the white man is?
Egonwanne because his "sweet tongue" can turn fire to ash
When the village meeting is called after the six leaders are released from the white man's prison, what does Okika say the clan should do?
They must fight
What does Okika suggest they do that their fathers had never done before?
Kill a brother
What does Okonkwo do when the court messengers come to the meeting, telling the clan to stop?
Behead a messenger with a machete
What does the District Commissioner find when he goes to Okonkwo's compound?
An armed band of soldiers and court messengers
What does the group of men ask the District Commissioner for?
Help if they show where Okonkwo is
What does the District Commissioner see when Obierika and five or six others lead them to a small bush behind Okonkwo's compound?
Okonkwo's body hanging from a tree
Why do Obierika and the other clan members need help getting Okonkwo's body down from the tree?
They can't bury his body because it is against the earth god to kill yourself and his body is evil so only strangers may touch his body
Who can bury the body of a clan member who commits suicide?
What does Obierika yell to the District Commissioner after Okonkwo's body is taken down?
"That was one of the greatest men in Umuofia, You drove him to kill himself, and now he will be buried like a dog"
How does the father-son relationship throughout three generations shape the personalities of Okonkwo, and Nwoye? Comment on their characteristics and the role their father plays in making them who they are.
Starting with Unoka and Okonkwo's broken relationship, Okonkwo loathed his father for being lazy, unsuccessful, cowardly, and in debt to his neighbors. Since Okonkwo did not want to be associated with his father, he made himself greater than his father could have possibly been by throwing the Cat, and when his father died he had already married his third wife. Okonkwo knows that acting masculine and brutal will get you farther in the Igbo society, and he is just trying to do what is best for Nwoye, although Nwoye does not necessarily agree. Okonkwo's fear and insecurity of becoming like his father projects on Nwoye and he feels as though he is making progress when Ikemefuna was acting more masculine around Nwoye. This is presented in the novel where Nwoye thinks, "it was right to be masculine and to be violent, but somehow he still preferred the stories that his mother used to tell" (Achebe 53). Nwoye had noticeably become interested in the church and this new faith that made him feel appreciated in spite of his unmanly status. When Okonkwo finds out, he goes into a rage because he feels that Nwoye is emasculated which reminds him of his father and their dysfunctional relationship. This causes Nwoye to realize that he is better off and happier with the missionaries due to the way Okonkwo treats him and expects him to act at the cost of their role in society. Both Okonkwo and Nwoye don't want to be reminded of or similar to their fathers.
"The story of Okonkwo is in a way the story of our culture; he pays a price because he places too much emphasis on strength and manliness." Discuss this quote as it applies to both the novel and our own modern American culture.
The power of religion can both guide a society and destroy it. Discuss the ways in which Christianity, as promoted by the missionaries, does both.
One of the themes of Achebe's novel is the striving after titles, trophies, and status in general. Write an essay commenting on the presence and importance of status symbols in Okonkwo's world and today's world. Explain their appeal and the ways in which searching for status symbols is a negative force in life.
Discuss the ways in which the District Commissioner symbolizes intolerance and disrespect for cultures he considers inferior.
Okonkwo suffers because he does not understand himself. Do his experiences help lead him to self-awareness or not, and why?
"[Okonkwo's] whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness." Explain how fear, in an ironic way, is the catalyst for destruction and failure in the novel?
Okonkwo does not often show emotion with the exception of anger, which he projects onto his wives and children. In order to hold his role in their civilization, Okonkwo must act masculine all the time, so when he starts to feel and have compassion for something, he realizes and becomes angry and violent to show how he feels he should be seen. He internalizes the masculine gender norms in the Igbo society which provokes his unexpected acts of violence. For example, during the killing of Ikemefuna, Okonkwo thinks "Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak" (Achebe 69). He has a built up fear that he will be thought of as the son of Unoka, the lazy man in debt, so at a young age he felt he needed to prove himself masculine and successful. His fear and need for validation caused his destruction and failure is shown at the end of Things Fall Apart when he kills himself. Okonkwo stood for the old customs of the Igbo society and when it fell apart, he couldn't take it so he killed himself so as to not suffer anymore watching his culture collapse. He was so obsessed with the way others view himself that it became his whole life, and the way he viewed himself.
Comment on how Achebe, through this novel, counters the Imperialist stereotypes on Africa as an uncivilized continent. What aspects of Ibo culture contradict this commonly held stereotype? Perhaps use the District Commissioner's comments to help convey the imperialist view.
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