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Chapters 1-5 in "Things Fall Apart

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Julia Pingol

on 27 January 2016

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Transcript of Chapters 1-5 in "Things Fall Apart

Okonkwo was born to a man named Unoka. Unoka was a man who was lazy and improvident. He was considered a failure, being poor and constantly accumulating debt, leaving his wife and children with barely enough to eat. Because of his father’s incompetence, Okonkwo tried to became as unlike Unoka as he could be. He became strong and eventually was able to throw Amalinze the Cat- the greatest wrestler who had been unbeaten for seven years. Okonkwo grew up to be a wealthy farmer with two barns full of yams and three wives. Later, he came to look after Ikemefuna, a boy sacrificed to the village of Umuofia by their neighbours to avoid war and bloodshed.
Chapter Summaries
Chapter Summaries
As chapter one had previously mentioned, Unoka's past actions are what caused Okonkwo to be who he is today. Growing up, Okonkwo had been at a disadvantage as he had not inherited a barn from his father like other young men and had to start with nothing. Once on a trip to the consult the Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves to find out the reason for his miserable harvest, Unoka was told that it was because of his laziness and not because he had offended the gods. Unoka was so ill-fated that even his death was an undignified one. But Okonkwo was a fighter and he survived that year.
Chapter Summaries
Chapter Four
Chapter Summaries
Chapter Two
Chapters 1-5 in "Things Fall Apart"
By Chinua Achebe
Chapter One
Okonkwo had just prepared for bed when the town crier’s voice is heard. The message is that every man of Umuofia is to meet at the market place the following morning.The next morning, Ogbuefi Ezeugo, a powerful orator, informs them that a daughter of their village had been murdered by some men from Mbaino, the adjoining village, when she visited its market. An ultimatum is given to Mbaino, asking them to choose between war and an offering of a young man and a virgin as compensation. Okonkwo is sent to negotiate. Mbaino chooses the latter proposal and Ikemefuna, a young lad of fifteen and a virgin are sent to Umuofia. The girl is sent to the murdered woman’s husband to replace her and Okonkwo is requested to keep the lad for the time being while the villagers decide what to do with him. Ikemefuna is frightened, as he does not understand why he has been separated from his family.
Chapter Three
Okonkwo was respected by all for his industry and success. Although Okonkwo is brusque towards less successful men, he deserves his success because he has worked so hard for it. It is because of the respect that the tribe has for him that Okonkwo is sent to negotiate with the enemy when the tribe seeks remuneration and that the young boy Ikemefuna is sent to live with him. In the beginning the boy was afraid, and missed his family. When Okonkwo goes to his fields to plant the harvest, he takes Nwoye and Ikemefuna with him but he rebukes them if they are slow in understanding what he wants them to learn quickly. The children then sit around the cooking fire telling stories, or they sit with their fathers, roasting and eating maize. It is during the period of rest that the friendship between Ikemefuna and Nwoye becomes even stronger.
by Julia,Victoria and Joe
Chapter Five
Chapter Summaries
The Feast of the New Yam is now approaching. It takes place just before the harvest and is an occasion of thanksgiving to the earth goddess, Ani. Okonkwo is not very enthusiastic about the feast. He would rather work in his fields. His suppressed resentment regarding the feast explodes when he thinks that somebody has cut one of his banana trees. When he discovers that the culprit is his second wife, Ekwefi, he beats her and then shoots at her with his gun but fortunately, he misses. In spite of Okonkwo’s outburst, the festival is celebrated with great joy by his family. However, no one mentions that Okonkwo broke thier "Week of Peace", a time where no violence shall fall on the village. On the second day, there is a wrestling contest in which Okonkwo participates. Okonkwo’s wives prepare the evening meal and the food is served by each of their daughters. One of his daughters, Ezinma, discusses the forthcoming wrestling contest. Okonkwo is particularly fond of this daughter, but as usual he does not show his love for her as he constantly wishes that she was a boy.
Quotations
Let's Think: Why did Okonkwo decide to look after Ikemefuna?
Let's Think: Why is Ikemefuna the boy chosen to go to Umuofia? Why not someone else?
Let's Think: Why were Okonkwo and his father so different?
Let's Think: Why is Okonkwo so harsh with his sons? Why does he treat them the way he does?
Let's Think: Why does no one mention the fact that Okonkwo shot at his wife? Why does no one say to him that he broke a sacred week?
Life In Africa
Chapter Conflicts
Person vs Person:
Okonkwo is struggling to not become like his father.
Person vs Self
: Okonkwo is struggling with his weaknesses and fears he will be worse than his father.
Person vs Group
: Okonkwo struggles with his other tribe members after Okonkwo assaults his second wife during the Week of Peace.
Person vs Nature
: Okonkwo struggles with the harvest, as a dedicated farmer in Umuofia.
Key Figures/Characters
Ogbuefi Ezeugo: a noted orator
Ogbuefi Udo: Wife was murdered and replaced with a virgin
Ikemefuna: Boy from Maboi under Okonkwo first wife’s care
Nwoye: Okonkwo Oldest son
Nwakibie: Wealthy Clansman
Ekwefi: Okonkwo’s second wife
Ezinma: Ekwefi’s only daughter and Okonkwo's favourite daughter
Ojiugo: Okonkwo’s third wife
Nkechi: Daughter of Ojiugo

Power and Ambition
Okonkwo struggles for power because he is afraid of failing and being a disgrace as his father was to him. He shows his desire for power by beating his wives throughout these five chapters as well as threatening his sons, showing that he will do anything that will make him more dominant. Okonkwo is motivated by his desire for power and strongly motivated not to become like his father. One of his main goals in his life is to gain a title in the village, one that holds major power over others. Okonkwo wants this desperately because his father had the potential to gain one of these titles, but did not do anything to gain one himself. This is show through his memories, since "When Unkoa dies he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt. Any wonder then that his son Okonkwo was ashamed of him? Fortuantly, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father." (Achebe 8). Okonkwo truly wants a title in the tribe which translates to he desires and has a hunger for power.
Purpose of Chapter
Purpose of Chapter
Purpose of Chapter
Purpose of Chapter
Purpose of Chapter
"When Unkoa dies he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt. Any wonder then that his son Okonkwo was ashamed of him? Fortuantly, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father." (Achebe 8)
The purpose of this chapter is to establish the backstory of the main character, Okonkwo. It shows
how
and
why
he came to be the person he is today. This helps us understand the motivations he has for his actions in future chapters.
This quote shows the beginning of Okonkwo's desire for power. In a few short sentences it shows how his father was a disgrace, and that Okonkwo was eternally thankful that his village respected the individual person and not the father of the individual. The quote helps show the start of Okonkwo's obsessive nature and his deep obsession with power.
Theme: Blind Ambition OR Power Corrupts
"But the war that now threatened was a just war. Even the enemy clan knew that. And so when Okonkwo of Umuofia arrived at Mbaino as the proud and imperious emissary of war, he was treated with great honour and respect, and two days later he returned home with a lad of fifteen and a young virgin." (Achebe 12)
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the character of Ikemefuma into the story and helps to develop his
character presence
for further on in the story.
Characterization: Respected
This quote shows how even in other tribes, Okonkwo is respected as a power warrior and a respected person. Within days he already done what he had set out to do while with others, it would have taken much longer. This shows that not only in his tribe but in many others Okonkwo is seen as a person of power, which only adds to his power hunger attitude.
This chapter reveals more details of Okonkwo’s father’s failings and his justification for despising him as he does. It explains more of the
impact
Unoka's thoughtless actions had on his son. In the end, the suffering and bad luck Unoka experienced were all due to his own laziness, causing Okonkwo to try and avoid the same fate.
"Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, fear of failure and of weakness....Okonkwo's fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself.It was a fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father." (Achebe 13)
Characterization: Asthenophobia (Fear of Weakness)
This chapter goes into detail about what kind of person Okonkwo is to the tribe and, especially, to his sons. This provides us with even more
insight
into the character.
This quote highlights Okonkwo's feear of being shown as weak. How his weakness was not as simple as being scared of the dark, but how he was fearing himself. A fear that is very hard to get over and does not bode well in a warrior based society.
Characterization: Asthenophobia (Fear of being weak)
This chapter reveals even more about Okonkwo's character; specifically, his rashness and extreme anger. This is a
key character trait
that appears later on in the book.
Characterization: Okonkwo does not want to turn out like his father.
Characterization: Okonkwo is ruthless
Theme: Power Corrupts
Theme: Influence of the Unseen/Supernatural: Okonkwo struggles with his crops due to the weather but everyone in the village sees it as a complication due to the Earth Goddess Ani.
Okonkwo's Character
Okonkwo is the protagonist of Things Fall Apart, and, in addition to situating him within his society, the first few chapters of the novel offer us an understanding of his nature. He is driven by his hatred of his father, Unoka, and his fear of becoming like him. To avoid picking up Unoka’s traits, Okonkwo acts violently without thinking, often provoking avoidable fights. He has a bad temper and rules his household with fear. Okonkwo associates Unoka with weakness, and with weakness he associates femininity. When Okonkwo was a child, another boy called Unoka "agbala", which is used to refer to women as well as to men who have not taken a title.

In his later years, Okonkwo begins to fear for himself. He doesn't want to end up like his father since "Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, fear of failure and of weakness....Okonkwo's fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself.It was a fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father." (Achebe 13). Due to this Okonkwo strives for power, he associates power with something his father did not have and something he himself needs.


Feast of the New Yam
Week of Peace

Title Holders (Those with Power)
"The Feast of the New Yam was held every year before the harvest began, to honour
the earth goddess and the ancestral spirits of the clan" (Achebe 36)
"No work was done during the Week of Peace. People called on their neighbours
and drank palm-wine. This year they talked of nothing else but the nso-ani which Okonkwo
had committed." (Achebe 31)
The culture is held together by the traditions and rules established in their society. Everything is upheld by the people and reinforced by the elders. When a person in the society wrongs one of these rules, they are appropriately punished. This is how everyone can live their lives relatively peacefully- they provide repentance and appeasement to the gods they worship any time they do something that might anger them.
When these things are disregarded and ignored, things start to break apart.
"When Unkoa dies he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt. Any wonder then that his son Okonkwo was ashamed of him? Fortuantly, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father." (Achebe 8)
Feast of the New Yam: During this Feast we see how Okonkwo is stubborn. During this Feast, no one is supposed to do any work, everything and everyone is supposed to relax in preperation for the new year. After his actions we see that he is very unlike the other members of his tribe. This shows that Okonkwo is either someone very special and important, or someone who is an outcast in the village.
Week of Peace: Within this Week of Peace we see how nonchalant Okonkwo is with his faith and how he respects the tribe's God's. We see how he disregards complelty the so called Week of Peace just because one of his wives had done something not to his standards. This disrespect of this shows up in force, later in the novel.
Title Holders: Being a title holder is Okonkwo`s main focus in the novel. As he strives to be unlike his father, he constantly acts without thinking to achive this. Such as during the Week of Peace when he attacks one of his wives. He tried to maintain his dominance and power in the village while completly disrespecting his tribe`s ways and faith. This ends up hurting Okonkwo later in the novel.
Ozo: The name of one of the titles or ranks
Full transcript