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Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

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Part Two, Chapter 14 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why does Okonkwo seek refuge in his motherland?

2. What is the frozen water called “the nuts of the water of heaven”? (p. 92)

3. How does Okonkwo start his yam farm in Mbanta?

4. How does Okonkwo feel about the elders’ belief that if a man says “yes,” his chi will also affirm him?

5. Explain the significance of the isa-ifi ceremony.

6. How does Uchendu establish his authority when he addresses Okonkwo?

7. Why was the name “Nneka,” or “Mother is Supreme,” a common name among the Igbo people?

8. According to Uchendu, what is Okonkwo’s duty and responsibility during his time of exile?

9. What is the meaning of the song the Igbo people sing when a woman dies that says, “For whom is it well, for whom is it well? There is no one for whom it is well.” (p. 95)

10. Why does Uchendu have nothing else to say to Okonkwo?

1. Okonkwo seeks refuge in his motherland because he accidentally killed a clansman; he is banished by Ani, the Earth goddess.

2. The rain called “the nuts of the water of heaven” is hail. (p. 92)

3. Uchendu has five sons. Each son contributes 300 seed-yams to enable their cousin Okonkwo to plant a farm.

4. Okonkwo feels that the elders’ belief is false; he is a man whose chi says “no” to greatness despite his own efforts to succeed.

5. The isa-ifi ceremony is the final segment in an elaborate wedding rite and establishes the fidelity of the bride. The bride-price has been paid, and all the daughters of the family are present.

6. Uchendu says he is an old man and he knows the world better than the younger people. He asks anyone who knows more about the world to speak up.

7. The name “Nneka,” or “Mother is Supreme,” is a common name among the Igbo people because a mother’s nurturing love is respected. (p. 94)

8. According to Uchendu, Okonkwo’s duty is to comfort his wives and children and return them to his fatherland after seven years. Uchendu says if Okonkwo allows sorrow to weigh him down and kill him, his family will die in exile. Okonkwo must accept his cousins as his kinsmen.

9. The song implies that it is not easy for anyone in life. It is difficult for anyone to lose his or her mother.

10. Uchendu implies there is no reason to discuss matters further; Okonkwo needs to reflect on what Uchendu has said.

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