Illustration of a person holding their head next to a noose and a detached head

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 24 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why are the women and children afraid to welcome the leaders home?

2. What are the long stripes on Okonkwo’s back?

3. Why does Okonkwo have trouble sleeping that night?

4. Why does Okonkwo refer to the war with Isike saying, “Those were days when men were men”? (p. 141)

5. What does Okonkwo mean when he says he would show Egonwanne his back and his head if he talks about a war of blame?

6. Why does Okonkwo grind his teeth?

7. What does Okika mean when he says, “Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life”? (p. 143)

8. Okika says Eneke the bird was asked why he is always flying. He replied “Men have learnt to shoot without missing their mark and I have learnt to fly without perching on a twig.” (p. 144) What is the meaning of the proverb, and how does it apply to the novel?

9. Why does Okonkwo decapitate the court messenger?

10. Why don’t the people of Umuofia support Okonkwo and capture the other four messengers?

1. The leaders walk silently with heavy and fearsome looks on their faces.

2. The long stripes on Okonkwo’s back are the marks left by the whip.

3. Okonkwo is excited about the meeting planned for the next day.

4. Okonkwo believes that men were brave in the past. The glorious war with Isike is an example.

5. Okonkwo means he would show Egonwanne his shaved head and the marks of the whip on his back.

6. Okonkwo grinds his teeth because he is so angry.

7. Okika means that something is after the life of the Igbo people.

8. The proverb means that Eneke the bird learned how to adapt and protect himself. Because men were not missing their targets when they shot, he learned how to keep on flying and not perch on a twig. If he did perch on a twig, he might be shot. Eneke the bird learned how to adapt. Perhaps Okika means the Igbo people must learn to adapt like Eneke.

9. Okonkwo decapitates the court messenger because he is so angry. He wants to fight, and he will not listen to the messenger who tries to stop the meeting of Umuofia.

10. The people of Umuofia are confused and frightened when Okonkwo decapitates the court messenger. They do not know what to do.

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