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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Chapter 5 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What is Ani’s relationship with the ancestors?

2. Why are new yams offered to Ani and the ancestors at the festival?

3. Describe the New Yam Festival.

4. Does Ekwefi, Okonkwo’s second wife, really kill the banana tree?

5. Nwoye’s mother often calls Ezinma “Ezigbo.” What does this name mean?

6. How does Okonkwo react when he hears the beating of the drums?

7. Why is Obiageli, Nwoye’s sister, crying?

8. Why does Ikemefuna look at the other children sternly when Obiageli tells the adults the story about breaking her pot?

9. Why do Obiageli, Ezinma, and Nkechi serve their father food in this order?

10. Why can’t Ezinma carry her father’s chair to the wrestling match?

1. Ani is in close communion with the ancestors of the clan.

2. The people give honor and thanks to Ani and the ancestors by offering them new yams at the festival.

3. The New Yam Festival is a big event; the women scrub the walls of their houses and wash all the pots and bowls thoroughly. Wives and children decorate themselves; relatives are invited to the feast; and huge quantities of yam foo-foo and vegetable soup are prepared. The feast is held on the first day; the wrestling matches are held on the second day.

4. Ekwefi does not kill the banana tree. She simply removes some of the leaves to wrap food.

5. “Ezigbo” means “the good one.”

6. The drums announcing the wrestling match fill Okonkwo with fire and the desire to conquer and subdue. He moves his feet to the beat of the drums.

7. Obiageli, Nwoye’s sister, is crying because she broke her water pot.

8. Obiageli is acting sad in front of the adults. Ikemefuna does not want the other children to tattle on Obiageli.

9. The girls serve their father food in this order because Obiageli is the daughter of her father’s first wife; Ezinma is the daughter of her father’s second wife; and Nkechi is the daughter of her father’s third wife.

10. Ezinma cannot carry her father’s chair to the wrestling match because this is a boy’s job. Men, women, boys, and girls play specific roles in the Igbo society.

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