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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 3 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why is Unoka, who dies of swelling in the stomach, abandoned and left to die in the Evil Forest?

2. Why is Nwakibie considered a successful man in Igbo society?

3. Nwakibie says, “You will have what is good for you and I will have what is good for me. Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too. If one says no to the other, let his wing break.”
(p. 14) What is the meaning of Nwakibie’s words?

4. What is the meaning of the proverb “A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing”? (p. 15)

5. Why does Okonkwo laugh uneasily at the story of Obiako and the oracle?

6. What is the meaning of the proverb “The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did”? (p. 16)

7. Why is sharecropping a slow way to build up a barn?

8. Give two examples of how Okonkwo tries to save his yams during the drought.

9. Why is the poor harvest like a sad funeral for the Igbo people?

10. What does Okonkwo learn through the drought and poor harvest?

1. Unoka is left to rot in the Evil Forest because the swelling in his stomach is an abomination to the Earth goddess.

2. Nwakibie has earned all but one title in Umuofia. He owns three huge barns, and he has nine wives and 30 children.

3. Nwakibie means that both he and Okonkwo are entitled to live well. If either of them denies the other prosperity, he should suffer.

4. The proverb means that a person does not run away from something without a reason.

5. Okonkwo is much like Obiako because his father is also unsuccessful.

6. Okonkwo is like the lizard in the proverb. He is praising himself since no one else will.

7. Sharecropping is a slow way to build up a barn because the farmer only reaps a third of the harvest for himself.

8. During the drought, Okonkwo tries to protect the yam seedlings from the sun by putting rings of sisal around them. He also prays for rain.

9. The livelihood of the Igbo people is dependent upon the yam. A good harvest means prosperity and life; a poor harvest is like death.

10. Okonkwo learns that he can survive any disaster.

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