Things Fall Apart Suggested Essay Topics
by Chinua Achebe

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Suggested Essay Topics

Part One
Chapter 1

1. Compare and contrast Okonkwo with his father, Unoka. Give special attention to the reasons why Okonkwo disdains his father and strives to succeed.

2. Discuss the significance of the three proverbs introduced in Chapter One. Thoroughly explain each proverb and define its meaning in the context of the chapter. What is Chinua Achebe’s overall purpose in using Igbo proverbs in the novel?

Chapter 2
1. In what ways is Okonkwo a respected leader in the village? Give three examples to support your points.

2. Describe the homestead of Okonkwo, his three wives, and eight children. What does the homestead reveal about Igbo culture? Discuss three points and provide examples to support your ideas.

Chapter 3
1. The author introduces Chika and one of Nwakibie’s nine wives. He also mentions Okonkwo’s mother and sisters. Based upon this information, describe at least three various roles women play in Igbo society. Use examples to support your points.

2. Explain the Igbo concept of chi and show how this concept relates to Okonkwo’s desired success in life.

Chapter 4
1. Compare and contrast the way Okonkwo treats Osugo, his wives, and his sons. Is Okonkwo harsher to men, women, or children? Support your points with examples.

2. Discuss the symbolic meaning of the Week of Peace for the Igbo people. How does Okonkwo’s anger violate the Week of Peace?

Chapter 5
1. Okonkwo is angry because he is unable to work during the preparations for the New Yam Festival. Compare and contrast Okonkwo’s behavior during the festival with his behavior during the Week of Peace.

2. Polygamy is defined as the practice of having more than one spouse at a time. The work and play of the women and children in this chapter provide examples of a harmonious polygamous household. Describe this household in terms of the relationships between Okonkwo’s wives and children.

Chapter 6
1. Describe Okonkwo’s reaction to the wrestling match. Why do you think he reacts this way?

2. Describe the relationships among Chielo, Ekwefi, and Ezinma. How do you know that Chielo is really no ordinary person?

Chapter 7
1. Okonkwo is inwardly pleased with his son Nwoye. He attributes Nwoye’s development to Ikemefuna. Why does Okonkwo want Nwoye to be a prosperous man and feed the ancestors with regular sacrifices?

2. Okonkwo loves Ikemefuna, and the boy calls him father. Yet, Okonkwo kills his adopted son in cold blood. Why does Okonkwo kill Ikemefuna? Ezeudu is an elder and a leader in the community. Why didn’t Okonkwo heed Ezeudu’s advice? Is Okonkwo making up his own rules, regulations, and customs? Prove your points.

Chapter 8
1. Compare and contrast Okonkwo and his friend Obierika. Which one of the men is more balanced? Prove your position with a good example.

2. Discuss the role of women in founding and maintaining a family in Igbo society. Explain the custom of the bride-price.

Chapter 9
1. The concept of ogbanje is foreign to Western readers. Explain the concept, and show how Ekwefi’s sorrow contributes to her love for Ezinma.

2. Okonkwo shows a softer, more loving side in his relationship with Ezinma. Provide two examples from this chapter illustrating Okonkwo’s care and concern.

Chapter 10
1. Explain the judicial function of the egwugwu and the relationship of the egwugwu to the living. Note the relationship of the egwugwu to Igbo women.

2. How do you know that Okonkwo is one of the egwugwu? What qualifications does Okonkwo have to enter the secret society? Support your points with examples.

Chapter 11
1. Explain how the story of Tortoise and the birds fits in with some of the other stories Achebe has told about animals throughout the novel. Explain the purpose of these stories.

2. Explain the Oracle and Chielo’s relationship with her god. Explain why all the characters, Okonkwo, Ekwefi, Ezinma, and Chielo, were powerless to alter the events of this dark night.

Chapter 12
1. Describe the role of women in Igbo society based on the information you have gathered in this chapter. Discuss...

(The entire section is 1,415 words.)