Things Fall Apart and the Case Against Imperialism

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12 AP English Burnett Things Fall Apart Socratic Seminar Points of Discussion 1. Achebe begins the novel with an elaborate description of the central character Okonkwo. What do we learn about the values of Umuofians through this characterization? 2. Discuss Okonkwo as an Igbo heroic character: how does he work to achieve greatness as defined by his culture? How does he differ from Western heroes? What are Okonkwo’s strengths and weaknesses? 3. Describe Unoka, Okonkwo’s father. What are Okonkwo’s feelings toward Unoka, and why? How does the example of his father shape Okonkwo’s character and actions? Would Unoka be viewed differently in a different culture? 4. What do the early descriptions of Okonkwo’s success and Unoka’s failure tell us about Igbo society? How does one succeed in this cultural context? In the system of the taking of titles who seems to be excluded from opportunities to gain such success? 5. Describe the setting (time, place, culture) of the novel. Discuss Achebe’s presentation of the details of everyday village life in Umuofia, the values and beliefs of the Igbo people, and the importance of ritual, ceremony, social hierarchy, and personal achievement in Igbo culture. How is social life organized? What are the important celebrations? What is the role of war, of religion, and of the arts? What is the role of the individual in relation to the community of Umuofia? Compare /contrast Igbo ways of life, customs, perspectives, beliefs, and values to those of your own culture. 6. What is the importance of drums in the novel?

7. What effect does night have on the people in Ch. 2? What do they fear? How do they deal with their fear of snakes at night? 8. What is the cause and nature of the conflict with Mbaino? 9. Consider the dual roles in the human and spiritual worlds played by the egwugwu and Chielo, the priestess of Agbala. 10. Chielo, the priestess of Agbala is introduced in Ch....
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