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Things Fall Apart

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sarah krask

on 20 November 2014

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Transcript of Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart
Culture
Sarah Krask
Kola Nut
-the kola nut was used many times in Things Fall Apart. It is used for hospitality. You break the nut at a celebration using your hands or a knife, and then chew it.
Yams
- Yams are very important food in Things Fall Apart. Yams determine a mans wealth. The more yams a man has the more wealthy he is.
Egwugwu
- Egwugwus are apart of many ceremonies in Igbo culture. Egwugwus represent the ancestral gods of Igbo culture. removing the masks of the Egwugwus is illegal because it kills the spirit.
The Oracle
- A oracle is a preist or preistess acting as a medium. In Things Fall Apart, the oracle was Cheilo. She was a preistess 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.
The 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 including husbands and wifes. People are to have peace with eachother.
Nigeria
Hero?
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. I see Okonkwo as a hero.
The setting of the book was in Nigeria, in a village called Umuofia. It took place in the late 1800's.
Key Events/Conflicts
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.
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.
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.
3 Examples-
“But somehow Okonkwo could never become as enthusiastic over feasts as most people.”(Pg. 37)
This shows that although Okonkwo was in a high position in his tribe, he does not become enthusiastic around other people. A fear of what other people think of him drives Okonkwo to be cautious in any event where there is a large gathering.
“Even as a little boy he had resented his father's failure and weakness...” (Pg. 13)
This quote provides the support needed to conclude that Okonkwo had wanted to become a powerful tribesman from childhood. He is shown as a complete opposite person from other people by striving to become everything his father is not, whereas most people see their father as a model and a hero.
“Okonkwonever showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger” (Pg. 28)
This quote shows Okonkwo’s fear of rejection from his tribesmen. He wants to show that he is strong and therefore avoids all emotional subjects. In order to be perceived as strong, Okonkwo even participates in the tribute of his own step-son.
Exposition-
Description of unoka and quick flash back to okonkwos youth.
"He had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had no patience with his father."
Pg. 2
Rising Action-
Enoch’s unmasking of an egwugwu, the egwugwu’s burning of the church, and the District Commissioner’s sneaky arrest of Umuofian leaders force the tension between Umuofia and the colonizers to a breaking point.
"And at last the locusts did descend. They settled on every tree and on every blade of grass; they settled on the roofs and covered the bare ground. Mighty tree branches broke away under them, and the whole country became the brown-earth color of the vast, hungry swarm". Chapter 7
Climax-
Okonkwo’s murder, or uchu, of a court messenger
"I am Evil Forest. I kill a man on the day that his life is sweetest to him." pg. 82
Falling Action-
The villagers allow the white government’s messengers to escape, and Okonkwo, realizing the weakness of his clan, commits suicide.
"It is against our custom, It is an abomination for a man to take his own life. It is an offense against the Earth, and a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen. His body is evil, and only strangers may touch it." pg. 178
Conclusion-
The white mean win and take over.
“Does the white man understand our custom about land?” “How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” Chapter 20
Plot
Proverbs
1.

“The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them.” p. 8
This proverb is a contrast between stregth and weakness. The person kneling is weak, and the person standing is strong.
2. “If a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.” p. 8
This proverb means by removing the dirt of the ancestors you can have a chance of a different future; each one builds his own fame.
3. “Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too. If one says no to the other, let his wing break.” p. 19
This proverb is saying that no matter how important, or high up in social standings you are, everyone is equal.

A proverb is a short pithy saying that usually states a general truth or piece of advice. In the Umuofian society, proverbs are used very often in conversation and help people understand things better by presenting the truth and can also give them advice.
Setting
Full transcript