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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 22 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. In Umuofia they say “as a man danced so the drums were beaten for him.” (p. 131) How does this saying relate to Reverend Smith?

2. Why is Reverend Smith filled with wrath when he hears that a woman in the congregation allows her husband to mutilate her dead child?

3. Why do the villagers call Enoch “The Outsider who wept louder than the bereaved”? (p. 131)

4. What is the greatest crime a man can commit in Umuofia?

5. Why is Enoch disappointed to be hidden in the parsonage?

6. Why does Ajofia address Mr. Smith by saying, “The body of the white man, do you know me?” (p. 134)

7. Explain why Okeke is not on the best terms with Reverend Smith.

8. How does Reverend Smith feel about Okeke, his interpreter, as he stands by him confronting the angry spirits?

9. Explain how Okeke interprets Mr. Smith’s words to the spirits and leaders of Umuofia.

10. Why is the spirit of the clan pacified by the action of the egwugwu?

1. The people said Reverend Smith dances a furious step; therefore, the drums go mad. They mean that Reverend Smith is an overzealous pastor who provokes anger among the traditional Igbo.

2. Reverend Smith believes the people are putting the old wine of the Igbo faith into the new wineskins of the Christian faith. One of his congregation has followed Igbo practices. A child was declared an ogbanje, who plagued its mother by dying and entering her womb to be born again four times. Then, it was mutilated to discourage it from returning.

3. Enoch’s devotion to the new faith seems much greater than Mr. Brown’s. Mr. Brown is moderate in his behavior, whereas Enoch is a zealot.

4. The greatest crime a man can commit in Umuofia is to unmask an egwugwu in public or do anything that might reduce its immortal prestige in the eyes of the uninitiated. This is exactly what Enoch did.

5. Enoch is disappointed to be hidden in the parsonage because he hopes a holy war is imminent. A few other Christians agree.

6. This is the language in which spirits speak to mortal men.

7. Okeke condemns Enoch’s behavior at the meeting. He says Enoch should not be hidden in the parsonage because he will only draw the wrath of the clan on the pastor. Mr. Smith rebukes him in strong language and does not seek his advice after that.

8. Reverend Smith is deeply grateful to Okeke, his interpreter, for standing by him. He smiles with deep gratitude.

9. Okeke does not translate Mr. Smith’s words exactly. Mr. Smith tells the egwugwu to leave the church. Okeke translates these words wisely by indicating that Mr. Smith is happy to have the egwugwu discuss their grievances.

10. The spirit of the clan is momentarily satisfied because the egwugwu burn the church to the ground.

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