1. Why does Achebe chose to the title of his novel from Yeats’ poem? How does Achebe’s literary allusion to Yeats’ poem might deepen or extend—by comparison and/or contrast—the meaning(s) of Achebe’s title and his novel? Achebe chose the title because Things Fall Apart foreshadows the disaster which this novel portrays. It’s deepens the comparison by showing that thebook may be about how inner issues cause a usual end.
2. Describe Okonkwo, the protagonist of Things Fall Apart. How does he work to achieve greatness as defined by his community and culture? How does he differ from Western heroes whom you are familiar with? Okonkwo was famous throughout nine villages and beyond because of this toughness. He was tall and huge with bushy eyebrows with a wide nose. Okonkwo achieves this greatness by defeating the greatest wrestler (Amalinze). He expressed his anger by using physical violence. He was nothing like his father Unoka. Oknonwo is different from western heroes unlike the western heroes, he earned his fame by his genuine strength, he beats his wide if they disobey him, and he was proud of his father. 3. a) Descibe Unoka, Okonkwo ‘s father?
Unoka was tall and very thin. He was lazy, reckless, and quiet. He was a loafer, never gave back the money he borrowed from people and because of that everyone in the village swore not to give him any money. Unoka was a coward when it came to war and he could stand blood.
b) What are Okonwo’s feelings toward Unoka, and why?
Okonwo isn’t proud of his father because of his father was a failure. Everyone in the tribe made fun of his father. His father was scared of blood and war unlike him, and Okonkwo thought a man should be strong like a warrior.
c) How does the (negative) examples of the his father shapes Oknokwo’s success and character and actions? The failure of Okonkwo’s father turned into hate in Okonkwo’s heart and that hatred lead him to his success and he earned a title in his tribe.
d) What do early descriptions of Okonkwo’s success and Unoka’s failure tells us about igbo society? It tells us that people that weren’t successful and was weak were looked down at in Igbo society and people that were strong and successful were held high.
e) How does one succeed in this cultural context?
One can succeed in this by taking control of its family (especially women) and proving their strength. Also by being honest and hard worker.
f) What do we learn from the system of the taking of titles? We learn that having title(s) earns you respect in the tribes. In order for someone to earn title(s), they must be successful and prove their strength.
e) Who seems to be excluded from opportunities to gain such a success? People that are excluded from opportunities are people that are lazy and weak.
4. Describe who Achebe’s intended audience(s) might be. What is the effect on you, as a Western reader and outsider to Igbo culture? How do Achebe’s language choices contribute to the novel? For example, “proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” What does this mean? Ch. 9 offers the story of the mosquito, one of several West African tales that explains why these insects buzz irritatingly in people’s ears. Can you think of any similar folktales told in your culture? What is the moral of the fable of the tortoise told in Ch.11? What values do these stories reflect? Note that some stories are women’s stories, and others are men’s stories.
Achebe’s intended audience might be some who isn’t familiar with Igbo society. The effect Igbo society has on me is being amazed by their life style except the part where the men beats the women, other than that, the culture of Igbo society is classic and indescribable. I think this means proverbs are as important as palm-oil. I don’t think there are any folktales in my culture. The moral of the story is not to take advantage of people and be courteous...