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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 17 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What difficulty do the missionaries encounter when they try to speak to the leaders of the village?

2. Describe the Evil Forest.

3. Why is the Evil Forest a strange site for the missionary’s church?

4. Why does Nneka convert to Christianity?

5. Why do some converts suspend their new faith until after the seventh market week?

6. Where does the white missionary go when he leaves Mbanta?

7. Why does it seem like the Evil Forest is going to gobble up the church?

8. What does Mr. Kiaga refer to when he says, “Blessed is he who forsakes his father and his mother for my sake. . . . Those that hear my words are my father and my mother”? (p. 108)

9. According to Okonkwo, what is Nwoye’s crime?

10. Why is Okonkwo called “Roaring Flame”?

1. The missionaries ask for the king of the village, but there is no king. Mbanta is ruled by men of high title, the chief priests, and the elders.

2. Every clan and village has an Evil Forest where they bury those who die of diseases like leprosy and smallpox. The Evil Forest is a dumping ground for the potent fetishes of great medicine men when they die.

3. It is a strange site for the church because it is an evil place, filled with sinister forces.

4. Nneka converts to Christianity because she gave birth to four sets of twins, and all the children have been abandoned in the Evil Forest. She is pregnant again.

5. Some of the converts suspend their new faith until after the seventh market week because they are afraid the gods and ancestors will wipe out the missionaries.

6. The white missionary goes back to build his headquarters in Umuofia. He pays regular visits to the congregation at Mbanta.

7. The church stands on a circular clearing. It looks like the open mouth of the Evil Forest is waiting to snap its teeth together and destroy the church.

8. Mr. Kiaga is referring to a passage in the New Testament. Nwoye does not really understand what Mr. Kiaga is saying, but he is happy to leave his father.

9. Okonkwo feels that Nwoye is abandoning the gods of his ancestors and acting like an effeminate old man.

10. Okonkwo is called “Roaring Flame” because he is fiery and powerful. He concludes that “Living fire begets cold, impotent ash.” (p. 109) As he is living fire, Nwoye is cold ash.

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