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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 19 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why does Okonkwo regret his exile so bitterly even though he prospers in his motherland?

2. What is the significance of the names Okonkwo gives the children who were born during his seven years in exile?

3. Why doesn’t Obierika build Okonkwo’s obi or the walls of his compound in Umuofia?

4. Why can’t Okonkwo return to Umuofia before the rains stop?

5. Why does Obiageli call Ezinma “Salt” while they harvest the cassava?

6. Why do the women put the cassava in shallow wells?

7. Why does Uchendu throw one of the kola nuts on the ground?

8. Why do some of the family members whistle when the food is laid out?

9. What does Okonkwo mean when he says that “A child cannot pay for its mother’s milk”? (p. 117)

10. Why are the elders fearful for the young people?

1. Okonkwo regrets his exile even though he prospers in his motherland because he feels he would have prospered even more in Umuofia.

2. He names his daughter Nneka or “Mother is Supreme” and his son Nwofia or “Begotten in the Wilderness.” Although Okonkwo shows reverence to his kinsmen by naming a child in honor of mother or the feminine principal, he still feels like his mother’s home is a wilderness for him.

3. Obierika doesn’t build Okonkwo’s obi or the walls of his compound because a man either has to build these things for himself or inherit them from his father.

4. Okonkwo has to wait until the rains stop because he has to pay the full penalty of seven years in exile.

5. Ezinma dislikes cold water dripping down her back. Obiageli calls Ezinma “Salt” because she is acting like she might dissolve.

6. The women put the cassava in shallow wells so that it will ferment.

7. Uchendu throws one of the kola nuts on the ground to honor the ancestors.

8. The family is surprised at the huge feast Okonkwo prepares for them.

9. Okonkwo means that he cannot repay his kinsmen for sustaining his life.

10. The elders are fearful for the young people because they do not know the value of kinship or how to speak with one voice. The clan is being divided by Christianity.

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