1. Is Okonkwo’s suicide entirely unexpected?
2. Why does Obierika send for strangers from another village?
3. Why does Obierika ask the commissioner to bury Okonkwo’s body?
4. Why is suicide such an abomination among the Igbo?
5. Why is Obierika so angry at the District Commissioner?
6. Why does the District Commissioner think he is bringing civilization to the Igbo people?
7. How does the District Commissioner trivialize the great tragedy of Okonkwo?
8. Explain why the title of the District Commissioner’s book is ironic.
9. Why do you think Okonkwo hung himself?
10. Why does Achebe have Okonkwo hang himself “off stage”?
1. Okonkwo’s suicide happens very quickly offstage. The reader may not be aware of what is happening at first. However, Okonkwo’s suicide has been foreshadowed throughout the novel. Refer to pages 17, 95, and 100 of the text.
2. Obierika sends for strangers to cut down and bury Okonkwo. The Igbo cannot bury Okonkwo because he has committed suicide.
3. Obierika has sent for strangers from another village, but he is afraid it will be a long time before they arrive. He asks the District Commissioner to bury Okonkwo instead.
4. Suicide is an offense against the Earth goddess.
5. Obierika is Okonkwo’s best friend. He says that Okonkwo was one of the greatest men in Umuofia. The white man drove him to kill himself, and he will be buried like a dog.
6. The District Commissioner does not understand Igbo life or customs. By imposing the British worldview, he feels he is helping the people.
7. The District Commissioner trivializes the great tragedy of Okonkwo by allotting his story only one paragraph in his book about the Igbo.
8. The title of the District Commissioner’s book is “The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.” The title is ironic because the British did not bring peace to the people; they brought violence and conflict.
9. Perhaps Okonkwo hung himself because the Igbo people did not rise up in support of him. He could not resist the white man alone. He did not want to be arrested and subjected to prison and humiliation again.
10. Classic tragic heroes deal with disaster “offstage.” Achebe may have Okonkwo hang himself “offstage” because he wants the reader to understand Okonkwo as a classic tragic hero.
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