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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 12 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. How do the people of Umuike develop their market?

2. The story of the man and the goat shows that the Umuike market is often filled with thieves. What happens in this story?

3. What do Okonkwo’s first and third wives contribute to the betrothal feast?

4. Why does Ekwefi join the betrothal feast later?

5. The members of Obierika’s extended family sit in a half-moon. When his in-laws arrive, they complete thecircle. What is the significance of the seating arrangement?

6. Describe the difference in the attire of the married women and that of the girls who greet the in-laws.

7. What does the eldest man among the in-laws mean when he says, “This is not the first time my people have come to marry your daughter”? (p. 83)

8. Why does Obierika’s family say their daughter will be a good wife and bear nine sons?

9. What kinds of men are respected and praised by Obierika’s in-laws?

10. How do you know that Okonkwo is a respected member of Obierika’s extended family?

1. The people of Umuike make a powerful medicine. It takes the form of an old woman who beckons the neighboring clans to the market.

2. Once a man went to lead a goat by a thick rope to the Umuike market. Someone stole the goat and replaced it with a heavy log of wood.

3. Nwoye’s mother and Ojiugo, Okonkwo’s youngest wife, take cocoyams, salt, smoked fish, plantains, palm oil, and water to the betrothal feast.

4. Ekwefi is exhausted from the previous night.

5. The two families unite as one as they sit in a complete circle together.

6. The married women wear their best clothes, and the girls wear red and black waist beads and anklets of brass.

7. The eldest man among the in-laws means that his mother came from Obierika’s family.

8. Obierika’s family says that their daughter will be a good wife and bear nine sons because the role of wife and mother is extremely important for women in Igbo society. The nine sons represent the nine villages of Umuofia and the nine founding fathers of the clan.

9. The in-laws respect and praise men who are great farmers, orators, wrestlers, and warriors.

10. We know that Okonkwo is a respected member of Obierika’s extended family because the in-laws look in his direction when they are praising the great men of the family. They also pay him a short courtesy visit before they leave the feast.

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