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Things Fall Apart Project

Things Fall Apart
by

Gina Graci

on 22 February 2013

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Transcript of Things Fall Apart Project

Things Fall Apart Main Characters Okonkwo Ezinma Ikemefuna Setting Author Information Key Events Culture Obierka Unoka The setting of the book was in Nigeria, in a village called Umuofia. It took place in the late 1800's. Nigera Themes Okonkwo is the protagonist in Things Fall Apart. He is a warrior who has a very violent personality, and is successful and powerful in the book because of his many wives and children. He tries very hard throughout the book to be the opposite as his father, who he viewed as weak. Because of this, he is often angry and is obsessed with being masculine. Ikemefuna comes to Okonkwo as a hostage to avoid war. His father killed a clanswoman, but he doesn't know. Okonkwo thinks of him as the ideal son, and wishes he was his eldest son instead of Nwoye. Okonkwo ends up killing Ikemefuna in attempt to not look weak in front of his tribe. Ezinma is Okonkwo's favorite child. Many times we read about Okonkwo wishing Ezinma was a boy. He cares deeply for Ezinma, as we see when Ezinma is sick and Okonkwo makes medicine quickly. She is described as an ogbanje baby, a baby who is reborn several times. She is Ekwefi's only child; Ekwefi and Ezinma have a special bond. Nwoye is Okonkwo's eldest son. Okonkwo thinks he is weak because he is sensitive and not confrontational. In the end of the book, Nwoye converts to Christianity, and angers Okonkwo. He is never seen again. Unoka is Okonkwo's father. He is not mentioned in the book too much except for the fact that he was lazy and that he never paid his debts. He is the reason that Okonkwo is determined to not be weak or sensitive. Obierka is Okonkwo's best friend. He tries to help out Okonkwo throughout the book, but Okonkwo never accepts his offers. He visits Okonkwo during his exile. Obierka and Okonkwo are opposites, Okonkwo is violent while Obierka is kind. Ogbanje babies: In Things Fall Apart, Ezinma was considered an ogbanje baby. She was reborn many times causing her mother, Ekwefi, lots of pain. According to their culture, ogbanje babies are evil spirits that plague a family by dying and being reborn. Once the ogbanje children live past a certain age, they most likely will live the rest of their life as normal. Ezinma, like all ogbanje babies, had a Iyi-uwa stone that she had hidden. If the Iyi-uwa stone was found and destroyed then the ogbanje baby will stop haunting the mother. This concept can be explained in our culture as having a miscarriage.

Kola nut: The kola nut was used many times in Things Fall Apart. It is used for hospitality. You break the kola nut at a celebration using your hands or a knife, and then chewing it.

Yams: Yams are a very important food in Things Fall Apart. Yams determine a man's wealth. The more yams and barns a man has, the more wealthy they are.

Polygamy: Okonkwo has three wives in Things Fall Apart. Other characters have multiple wives also. Like the yams, the more wives you have the more money you have. It also signifies power and authority.

Egwugwu: Egwugwus are apart of many ceremonies in the Igbo culture. Egwugwus represent the ancestral gods of the Igbo culture. It is illegal to remove a Egwugwu's mask because it kills the spirit.

Week of Peace: The Week of Peace is a week during the year that no work is done. There should be no violence inflicted on people at all, including husbands not beating their wives. People are to be at peace with each other.

The Oracle: In Things Fall Apart, their oracle was Chielo. She was a priestess of Agbala. She tells the village their fates. She calls Ezinma her daughter and at one point in the story she carries Ezinma on her back to take her to the gods.

Gender roles: The Igbo culture has a patriarch society. The women have no rights at all, and have no use in their society except taking care of the kids and cooking. Their husbands are allowed to beat them and are usually not very pleasant toward their wives. Women could not be leaders, or have any other role in society. Religion The religion in Things Fall Apart is Igbo. They practice polytheism. Their main god is Chukwu. Some minor gods are Anyanwu, Igwe, and Ala. Igbo is similar to Christianity because they believe Chukwu made the world and all the other gods, like Christians believe God created the world. Igbo tribes also have a priestess. A priestess is an Oracle who acts as a messenger who speaks for the gods. The Oracle can tell people their fates. The Christian community does not have an Oracle. Nwoye Chinua Achebe was born in a village in Nigeria called Ogidi. He got a scholarship for his undergraduate studies, and became fascinated by world religions and cultures. Most of his novels center around the Igbo culture and also the effects of Christianity on African cultures. By: Gina Graci
Hour 4 Ikemefuna's Death: (Man VS Man or Man VS Self) Ikemefuna was ordered to be killed by the Oracle. The leaders of the tribe told Okonkwo to tell Ikemefuna that they were going to take him back to his family and mother. On the walk to back to his mother, a man stabs Ikemefuna, and Okonkwo kills Ikemefuna in order to not look weak. He feels guilty about it later, and Nwoye was very upset about Ikemefuna's death. Okonkwo's Murder: (Man VS Society or Man VS Man) At a funeral for Ekeudu, Okonkwo killed Ekeudu's son because of a gun malfunction. Okonkwo, his wives, and his children are then exiled to his mother's homeland in Mbanta. Okonkwo's Exile: (Man VS Self) This is where "things fall apart." Okonkwo is exiled to his motherland, Mbanta.He is only banished for seven years because his crime was considered a female crime. While at Mbanta, Okonkwo lives with his mother's family and he struggles to accept his banishment. Eventually, he starts to grow yams again but not as much as before. Ezinma's sickness: (Man VS Self) Ezinma becomes sick with a disease, and Okonkwo is very concerned. He quickly makes medicine for Ezinma. This is one of the few parts in the book where Okonkwo shows affection. The Church Arrives in Mbanta and Umuofia: (Man VS Society or Man VS Man) Once Okonkwo's exile was done, his family returned to Umuofia and discovered that the Christian chruch had arrived. Okonkwo is outraged by this and wants to stop it. Nwoye converts to Christianity and Okonkwo beats him and forbids him to convert. Nwoye then leaves and is no longer mentioned. Okonkwo's Second Murder: (Man VS Man or Man VS Self) Okonkwo and other villagers burn down the church and Okonkwo kills a messenger of the church. Because of this, Okonkwo recieved a woman's punishment. Instead of fulfilling his woman punishment he hangs himself from a tree. Ikemefuna Joins Okonkwo's Family: (Man VS Man) Ikemefuna is compensated along with a virgin because his father killed a clanswoman. They became hostages in order to avoid war in the tribe. Ikemefuna joins Okonkwo's family and forms a bond with Nwoye, Okonkwo's eldest son. I think the main theme in Things Fall Apart is the Igbo culture VS the Europeans. Achebe explains the Igbo culture in great detail and then explains how the Europeans took over and tried to change their culture. They tried to convert the Igbos to Christianity, as seen with Nwoye. Okonkwo doesn't like this change, and burns down the church. This shows the struggle between change and tradition, which is another theme. Some Igbos were willing to convert, while Okonkwo thought he was speaking for everyone when he burned the church.
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