I've often had difficulty helping students to maneuver through the culture shock they feel reading this novel to explore some of the issues involved. That being considered, is Things Fall Apart relevant to American high school students and if so, how? In addition, how can we help our students relate/understand the deeper issues of the text?
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I think any novel that presents the clash of two different cultural worlds is extremely relevant to our society today, especially in an era of globalisation and when other cultures with their own unique values and belief systems cannot fail to be noticed. What I do when I am studying similar stories with students is to gain from their experience of travelling or just of life what it is like to be in a very different setting and the kind of prejudices and stereotypes that can so easily be formed and supported. This then proves to be a useful entrance point to the text.
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