Questions and Answers for Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

Compare and contrast Okonkwo and his father in Things Fall Apart.

Unoka and his son Okonkwo appear to be polar opposites. Unoka was an ineffectual, dreamy man who achieved little. He loved music and drinking, was poor and lazy, took no titles, and died heavily in...

Latest answer posted November 19, 2019 11:30 am UTC

4 educator answers

Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, why does Okonkwo commit suicide and what is the final message of this work? 

Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart is a novel by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. It details life in southeast Nigeria prior to and in the aftermath of the arrival of white European colonists in...

Latest answer posted March 11, 2020 1:12 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What are the major lessons in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart?

The lessons of Things Fall Apart are not generally uplifting or optimistic. It is, after all, a book about the degeneration and destruction of a society. One of its grimmest lessons is that force,...

Latest answer posted May 10, 2020 8:31 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What is the significance of the following proverb in Things Fall Apart? Our elders say that the sun will shine on...

This quote comes in chapter 1. Okoye has come to collect his debt of two hundred cowries from his friend, Unoka. As he tells Unoka the purpose for his visit, Unoka begins to laugh. "Look at that...

Latest answer posted January 14, 2010 7:06 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In chapter 11, who or what is the tortoise? What is the purpose of this story?

The story of the tortoise is a fable, one of two traditional Nigerian stories presented by Achebe in the novel (the other being the story of the mosquito). On the surface, it fulfills a standard...

Latest answer posted August 12, 2009 12:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Things Fall Apart

Why Did Okonkwo Kill Ikemefuna

Even though Okonkwo loves Ikemefuna and in some ways thinks more highly of him than of his own son, Okonkwo participates in the death of Ikemefuna because it has been decreed by the oracle, and he...

Latest answer posted November 13, 2012 6:57 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, why did Okonkwo beat his youngest wife Ojiugo and shoot at Ekwefi?

In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo's youngest wife Ojiugo decides to have her hair braided during the Week of Peace. She decides to have her hair braided instead of cooking dinner. Okonkwo is furious...

Latest answer posted May 26, 2012 5:02 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Describe the character traits of Okonkwo, Nwoye, Obierika. 

Okonkwo: Okonkwo is an ambitious, tenacious, and flamboyant man. He revels in brute strength and is focused on projecting an image of male virility. Okonkwo is most afraid of mediocrity and...

Latest answer posted March 15, 2018 6:41 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What is the importance of the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves in "Things Fall Apart"?

In Umuofia, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves is also revered for her clairvoyance or supernatural insight into the future. She is a kind of prophet, foretelling what Umuofia's future will...

Latest answer posted October 21, 2016 4:13 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What causes the downfall of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart?

One could argue that Okonkwo's downfall is directly related to his fear of being viewed as weak or becoming like his inept father Unoka. As a young man, Okonkwo was determined to become a...

Latest answer posted November 12, 2019 3:42 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Why is Okonkwo's exile ironic in Things Fall Apart?

Okonkwo's exile is ironic in that Okonkwo leaves and everything in his village changes. While Okonkwo is away, the white man comes in and begins converting more men from Umuofia to Christianity. It...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2011 11:40 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What is the significance of the wrestling matches in Things Fall Apart? What is an event in American society similar...

When analyzing wrestling in the novel, we can look at two distinct questions. How does Things Fall Apart use wrestling as a means of exposition (to establish character)? And what significance does...

Latest answer posted May 17, 2015 3:02 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Who are the egwugwu in real life (reference from Things Fall Apart)?  

The egwugwu are masked dancers that represent the nine ancestral spirits of Umuofia. These masked ancestral spirits are enigmatic in nature and comprise of nine revered village elders, who...

Latest answer posted February 22, 2019 4:56 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What is the purpose of storytelling in Things Fall Apart? Specifically, what are the purposes of the following...

The stories in Things Fall Apart are myths. They often have metaphorical significance as well, but their primary purpose within the tribe is explanatory. For the reader, they demonstrate the...

Latest answer posted April 8, 2020 5:19 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, how did the character and personality of Okonkwo change from the beginning of the story until...

One could argue that Okonkwo doesn't really change all that much over the course of Things Fall Apart, and therein lies the problem. The society around Okonkwo is changing rapidly on account of...

Latest answer posted October 11, 2020 12:40 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Things Fall Apart

What does "living fire begets cold impotent ash" mean?

This quote from Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart comes at the end of chapter 17 as the warrior Okonkwo reflects on his son Nwoye. The quote represents Okonkwo's thoughts on his son, with the fire...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2016 11:12 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

How do father-son relationships function in Things Fall Apart?  

In Things Fall Part, father-son relationships play a significant part in the narrative. The first chapter discusses the ways in which Okonkwo’s entire persona is shaped as a response to his father,...

Latest answer posted March 26, 2016 3:42 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Describe and explain Okonkwo's reaction to the death of Ikemefuna.

In chapter 7, Okonkwo receives the bad news that Ikemefuna will be sacrificed, according to the will of Agbala. He is also warned by Ogbuefi Ezeudu to not have a hand in Ikemefuna's death, because...

Latest answer posted October 21, 2019 10:29 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What does "those whose palm-kernels were cracked by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble" mean?

As was mentioned in the previous post, Okonkwo had recently called a man with no titles a woman during a meeting. Okonkwo's callous nature and harsh response upset the other elders at the meeting....

Latest answer posted April 1, 2017 11:46 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart by Achebe, what ways did Okonkwo represent the best part of the tribal life and what the tribe...

In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo represents the best part of the tribal values in various ways. At the same time, he represents the worst part of tribal life according to what the tribe values. Truly,...

Latest answer posted April 20, 2013 3:17 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Why was Okonkwo exiled?

In Things Fall Apart, the main character Okonkwo is exiled from his tribe. Even though he is a successful man in accruing wealth from his yam farm, Okonkwo has trouble balancing his emotions and he...

Latest answer posted March 13, 2016 10:21 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Compare and contrast Okonkwo with his father, Unoka. Give special attention to the reasons why Okonkwo disdains his...

Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was a debtor and alcoholic, who spent the majority of his days playing his flute, borrowing money, and drinking palm wine. Unoka was not respected by his community members,...

Latest answer posted April 2, 2019 9:53 am UTC

2 educator answers

Things Fall Apart

What influence did Ikemefuna's death have on Okonkwo and Nwoye's emotions in Things Fall Apart?

Quite understandably, both Okonkwo and Nwoye reacted to Ikemefuna’s death with feelings of heartbreak and devastation. It was an event that would set lifelong changes into motion for both of them....

Latest answer posted March 29, 2020 4:03 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What is the the meaning of the title of Achebe's Things Fall Apart? What examples might support this answer?

The title of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe derives from a line in a poem by William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming." The third and fourth lines of the poem are: Things fall apart; the...

Latest answer posted January 14, 2016 11:03 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

How did Okonkwo change in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe?

Okonkwo doesn't truly change during the novel. He is rigid in his ways and unaccepting of new ways of life in his village with the introduction of imperialism. As others in the village drift toward...

Latest answer posted November 10, 2018 4:24 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Describe the feast of the new yam in Things Fall Apart. 

There is a good description of the Feast of the New Yam in Chapter Five. This feast is meant to thank and praise the goddess of the earth, Ani, who is responsible for "all fertility" (36). The...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2010 3:26 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Evil Forest Things Fall Apart

The egwugwu are the masked ancestral spirits of Umuofia, who are comprised of the clan's most revered men. The nine masked egwugwu act as the village judges and preside over disputes throughout the...

Latest answer posted October 8, 2017 2:58 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, what influence did Ikemefuna have on Nwoye? From chapters 5-7.

Chapter Seven makes it clear that the arrival of Ikemefuna into Okonkwo's household has been very positive for Nwoye. At the beginning of the novel, Nwoye is depicted as a rather feminine young boy...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2012 6:35 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What is the significance of yams in the Igbo society?

In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Achebe places emphasis on the importance of yams to Okonkwo's Igbo clan within Umuofia. Yams are the essential crop within Umuofia; the yam is a crucial staple...

Latest answer posted February 16, 2016 9:29 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Why is the character of Ikemefuna significant in Things Fall Apart? What role does he play?

Ikemefuna comes to Okonkwo's compound to live. Because a daughter of the Umuofian tribe had been killed by the Mbaino tribe, there had to be some sort of compensatory agreement made in regards to...

Latest answer posted August 5, 2011 11:06 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Why is Okonkwo’s defeat of Amalinze the Cat such a great achievement in Things Fall Apart?

This achievement is amazing for two reasons. First, Amalinze the Cat was the greatest wrestler in Umuofia, who "for seven years was unbeaten, from Umuofia to Mbaino." So in all the neighboring...

Latest answer posted November 4, 2009 8:04 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

How does Okonkwo's relationship with Ekwefi and Ezinma help develop his character in Things Fall Apart?

Ekwefi was the village beauty. She left her husband to become the wife of Okonkwo. No doubt, this boosted Oknokwo's ego. He won Ekwefi's heart when he wrestled Amalinze the Cat and won the...

Latest answer posted August 16, 2011 7:17 am UTC

1 educator answer

Things Fall Apart

Importance of family relationship in Things Fall Apart?

We can look at the role of family relationships in Achebe's Things Fall Apart in a couple of different ways. For one, there is the respect and homage paid to ancestors and to tradition. On another...

Latest answer posted January 18, 2018 4:32 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

How does Achebe foreshadow the ultimate fate of Ikemefuna?

Achebe foreshadows Ikemefuna's fate in the first two chapters of the novel through specific language. At the end of chapter 1, Ikemefuna is immediately introduced as a "doomed lad who was...

Latest answer posted March 29, 2019 1:46 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

The Pacification Of The Primitive Tribes Of The Lower Niger

In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the District Commissioner is the reigning symbol of Western imperialism, an ignorant, condescending administrator who is brought to the area to mete out...

Latest answer posted March 10, 2015 3:27 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Things Fall Apart

Proverbs Are The Palm-oil With Which Words Are Eaten

It is certainly true that palm oil is a highly-valued staple among the Igbo. It is used as lamp oil and for religious sacrifices, as well as for cooking. Food is both cooked in palm-oil and served...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2019 7:30 am UTC

3 educator answers

Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, what does Okonkwo's death mean?  

I agree with other editors in suggesting that Okonkwo's death is symbolic both externally and internally, if I can use these distinctions. Firstly, it represents the death of his own high standards...

Latest answer posted January 19, 2011 2:53 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, what adjectives would you use to describe Onkonkwo and why?

To answer this question you neeed to consider how Okonkwo is presented and his actions in the novel. It is clear from the way that he easily loses his temper that he is an easily irritated man who...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2011 8:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Things Fall Apart

Who are Uzowulu, Agbala, and Nneka in Things Fall Apart?

Uzowulu is a man of Umuofia who claims that his brothers-in-law beat him and took away his wife and children and that they refuse to return his wife's bride price. His wife's brothers argue that...

Latest answer posted September 19, 2018 10:54 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In what ways is Okonkwo a good or a bad father in Things Fall Apart?

Okonkwo is a good father in that he is an extremely hard-working man that is able to financially provide for his family. He is a respected member of the community, and he embraces his leadership...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2019 12:38 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, what is the meaning of the proverb "A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his...

The proverb a man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness has a twofold meaning in Things Fall Apart. The first meaning is the literal one, where we witness Okonkwo...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2014 10:22 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What is Okonkwo's strength and weakness in Things Fall Apart?

Okonkwo's strength is his fatal flaw, upholding life as it has been with no room for change or compromise. To quote a poster I once saw, "if you always do what always did, you will always get...

Latest answer posted August 14, 2008 3:26 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

How are white men first introduced into Things Fall Apart?

When Obierika first mentions a white man to Okonkwo in chapter 15, Okonkwo asks if he means an albino, making it clear that Okonkwo is not familiar with white people. Obierika goes on to describe...

Latest answer posted June 25, 2019 7:22 pm UTC

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Things Fall Apart

Compare and contrast Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown.

Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith are apparently similar in their backgrounds and beliefs, as well as their common English names, though their methods of spreading the faith are quite different. Mr. Brown is...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2019 7:35 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

What are the positive and negative situations of Okonkwo that are exacerbated by his positive and negative...

Probably Okonkwo’s most notable positive characteristic is diligence. He applies himself and follows through with almost everything that comes his way. This is seen in his application of his...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2018 3:46 am UTC

2 educator answers

Things Fall Apart

Desccribe the wrestling matches in Chapter 6 of Things Fall Apart.

The whole village turns out to watch the wrestling matches, "Men, women, and children." Everyone stands in a huge circle around an open space near the "ancient silk-cotton tree which (is) sacred."...

Latest answer posted September 16, 2010 12:18 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Things Fall Apart

What is the theme and the conclusion of Things Fall Apart?

At the end of the novel, Okonkwo kills two British messengers and realizes that Umuofia will not go to war. In the last chapter, the District Commissioner arrives at Okonkwo's compound to discover...

Latest answer posted March 20, 2017 9:29 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, what is Okonkwo's tragic flaw?

In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo has a tragic flaw. His tragic flaw is his fear of becoming like his father. Unoka, Oknokwo's father, is lazy and loves a life of leisure. Okonkwo deals with his fear...

Latest answer posted May 18, 2011 8:25 am UTC

1 educator answer

Things Fall Apart

Explain this quote from Things Fall Apart: "Amalinze was a wily craftsman, but Okonkwo was as slippery as a fish in...

In Things Fall Apart, part of Okonkwo’s rise to prominence is his ability to dominate others physically. His first claim to fame as a young man came from a win in a wrestling bout. The text says,...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2019 6:08 am UTC

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Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, how did the villagers feel about the coming of the locusts?

The locusts arrive at the village in Chapter 7 of this text, and are greeted with unequivocal joy and enthusiasm. The narrator reveals that the locusts have not come for many years, so only the...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2012 6:28 am UTC

1 educator answer

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