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Things Fall Apart
Transcript of Things Fall Apart
"We must root out this evil. And if our brothers take the side of evil we must root them out too." (page 204) Biography Chinua Achebe Author: Main Characters Themes Conflict
born on November 16, 1930
Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. His full name is Albert Chinualumogu Achebe. Chinua Achebe was born in the Igbo town of Ogidi. He was educated in English at the University of Ibadan. His first novel Things Fall Apart was published in 1958. Chinua Achebe was an educator, author and a publisher.
Other novels he has written are as follows: No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), Anthills of the Savannah , How the Leopard Got His Claws (1973) and many other books. This novel took place in the late 1800's in a lower Nigerian village, Iguedo and in Okonkwo's mother's native village Mbanta. External Conflict Chinua Achebe Presentation by: Austin Counts Things Fall Apart Okonkwo Nwoye Ezinma Ikemefuna Mr. Brown Okonkwo was the son of Unoka. Okonkwo believed his dad was lazy, poor and a coward; therefore, he spent his life trying to be the opposite of his dad. Okonkwo beats his oldest son, Nwoye, alot because he believes that he was lazy like his dad. Nwoye is Okonkwo's oldest son. Okonkwo believes Nwoye is lazy like his dad. Nwoye is beaten often by his dad is is constantly being pushed him to be more manly.
Nwoye does convert to being a Christian and no longer worships multiple spirits and Gods like his African culture. His conversion proves to Okonkwo that he is weak like his dad. She is the only surviving child born to Okonkwo's second wife, Ekwefi. Her mother's other nine children all die at birth or as babies. She is Okonkwo's favorite child who he wishes was a boy. He was given to Okonkwo along with a virgin woman after someone from his village murdered the wife of an Umuofia tribe.
He lived with Okonkwo and his first wife until the oldest clansmen gave the order for him to be killed.
Okonkwo treated him like a son and Ikemefuna was a good role model for Nwoye as he grew to become more masculine. Okonkwo gun went off by accident and he killed the oldest clansmen sixteen year old son which caused him to leave Iguedo village. After this incident Okonkwo and his family had to flee to his mother's native home, Mbanta. When Okonkwo killed one of the court messengers in Mbanta he hung himself after realizing he had no support from the clansmen in that village. Okonkwo brought honor to his village when he beat Amalinze the Cat in a westing match. Okonkwo has 3 wives and nine children. Mr. Brown was the first white missionary who succeeded in converting a large number of clansmens to become Christians. He was very peaceful, compromising and not aggressive towards the clansmen, unlike his replacement Reverend James Smith. Mr. Brown, a clans leader Akunna and other clanmens were influential in building a schol and a hospital ofr the people of Umnofia. The tribal converts repected Mr. Brown because he accepted them without conditions and because he would listen to them. Setting Literary Elements Quotes Religious Impact Theme #1 Theme #3 Internal Quote #1 Quote #2 Quote #3 Okonkwo did not want to be lazy like his father. He trys to be everything that his father was not because wants to be more masculine. In addition to that Okonkwo stays on his oldest son because he thinks he has the same traits as his dad. To prove is maculinity Okonkwo was very proud to won the wrestling match against Amalizine the Cat. He further proved his masculinity when he went the the clansmen to kill Ikemefuna. Okonkwo was aggressive towards his wives and work habits in farming and growing yams. He cared self image and others thought of him.. He gives lots of thought in to what people will think of him. Breaking tradition and religion was a bigthing for Okonkwo. In Okonkwo village, they respected many difference Gods. When Okonkwo beat his third wife, Ojiugo during the week of Peace before the harvest, he had to give an offering. This offering was a nanny goat, a hen, cloth and one hundred cowries (shells used as money).
Okonkwo believed that Christianity separated tradition and religion for the tribes even more. This was evident when his son Nwoye converted to Christianity and after he killed one of the court messengers who was trying to stop the clansmen from meeting. Okonkwo realized that things were falling apart because these clansmen were not willing to band together against the messengers who he believed were working to break up the tribes. Yet, when Okonkwo committed sucide none of his clansmen would remove is body because it was a sin their culture. Masculinity Religious Theme #2 Cultural differences One cultural difference was the treatment of women. Women had the take care of all the children and the boys were eventually raised primarily by their fathers. The boys and men were trained to be the leader even over their mothers. Okonkwo was happy when Nwoye was grumbling at something his mother was asking in to do because he seem strong and he knew he could eventually take charge over them.
The men in this story had multiple wives and expected all them to have his food ready when he returns from the fields. When the women went to the village shows they had to sit behind the men. Women were treated not as equals to a man. The man could beat his wife like he would beat children. This happened in the story when Ekwefi, Okonkwo's second wife, was beaten by him because she used a leaf off the banana tree to wrap some food to cook. After this beating Okonkwo wanted to go hunting and Ekwefi made a comment about him not knowing how to shot and he raised the gun to her but shot in the ground next to her. One example of internal conflict was how Okonkwo dealt with himself after killing Ikemefuma. For 2 days after Ikemefuma's death, Okonkwo could not eat. He could not sleep at night and turned to drinking sun up to sun down. Ezinma, the daughter from his second wife, brought him so food sat down infront of him and insisted that he eat the food she brought to him. As he begin to eat this food his thoughts wondered why she could not have been a boy. 'She she have been a boy, he thought as he looked at his ten year -old daushouldghter. (page 64) "He did not sleep at night. He tried to not to think about Ikemefuma, bute the more he tried the more he thought about him" (page 63) Conflict Throughout this novel the African tribes worshipped many different Gods. Like the God of Peace just before harvest season. During this week no one was allowed to beat anyone or to work . Many Africans like Nwoye, changed their religion to Chrisitainty which was introduced to them by Mr. Brown. Through Christianity you worshipped one God verses many African Gods. Africans that converted to Christainty felt valued and enjoyed the other perks like health care and an education. Christianity is stil practiced today and is opened to everyone. Mr. Brown was able to get many Africans to Christainity because he did not force this religion on the clansmen. Mr. Brown accepted them without conditions just as Christainity is today. Religion is a choice and not forced. Okonkwo wrestled with how to save his African traditions. He felt as if this new religion was dividing the tribes and things were falling apart. When the court messengers tried to stop the clansmen meeting he struck one of the messengers and killed him. He knew that the clansmen would not support him because they allowed the other four men to escape. Struck with grieve over the new changes, and believing that Christainity was a sign of weakness, Okonkwo hung himself. "Okonkwo stood watching stood looking at the dead man. He knew that Umofia would not go to war. He new this because the let the other messengers escape. ... He heard voices asking: "Why did he do it?'" (page 205) "My father, they are trying to kill me!" This quote was stated by Ikemefuna when the clansmen had taken him off to be killed. Ikemefuna ran to Okonkwo for safety in this situation. Okonkwo did not want to appear weak so he made the final slash to kill Ikemefuna. Okonkwo was asked by the elder clansman to not go with the other leaders to kill the boy because he called and father which meant he respected him as a father. By Onkonkwo going and assisting in the killing it continue to prove he was masculine. This is how Okonkwo always wanted to be remembered. "That mans was one of the greatest men in Umoufia. You drove him to drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog..." This statement was made by Obierka as the chief messenger was cutting down Okonkwo who was hanging from a tree. Obierka was Okonkwo's best friend. He helped Okonkwo out by selling his yams while he was in exile and helping him get over the depression he felt after killing, Ikemefuna. Although Okonkwo was a great leader and hero for the village of Umoufia but would not be given an African burial. Obierka blamed the Commissioner and court messenger for pushing Okonkwo to the point of killing himself. Plot
(Short Summary) The primary plot of this story is rise and fall of Okonkwo's life. Okonkwo spent his life working hard to prove to other clansmen that he was not like father, Unoka. To prove to others that he was nothing like his father, Okonkwo beat Amalizine the Cat, had three wives and two barns filled with yams to prove that he was a hardworker. He felt like he had prove himself by acomplishing all these task. He felt that accomplishing these things in life meant he was a better person than his father.
Even though Okonkwo was a great man in his village of Umoufia, he was very impatient with weak people like with his oldest son Nwoye. He had a quick temper especially towards his second and third wives which he would beat. His favorite child was Ezinma,who he wished was a boy. His least favorite child which he later disowned was Nwoye. He also loved Ikemefuna who he killed with the other clansmen to prove his masculine.
Tragedies like the accidental shooting of the elder clansman's sixteen year old son and the killing of the court messenger brought to his destruction and his death. He worked hard to be a great man but was buried in a non traditional African way because he hung himself.
From the beginning to end, this novel dealt with wars. One war was with Okonkwo who wrestled emotionally with proving to everyone that he is masculine. As a result, he went through depression for killing the surrogate son Ikemefuna. The second war which was the climax on this novel was when Okonkwo killed the messenger. He realized that the tribe was not willing to go to a physical war with him which lead him to kill himself. Although Okonkwo seem like such a tough and hard working person some of the decisions he made were not the best. His life started to fall apart because he was unwilling to change his religion and his temper that killed one of the messengers. Literary Element
War "Do not despair... A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter whena man fails alone." pg 25 This quote was spoken by Okonkwo's father Unoka after the very bad yam season when many people lost almost everything they owned. Okonkwo's father was very old but used these words of encouragement for his son who lost alot on his crops. The final line about when a man fails alone then he is a failure to me is how Okonkwo felt after he killed the messenger. At this point Okonkwo felt alone.