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Things Fall Apart

WHAT DOES THE PHRASE “FALL APART” MEANS
• “Collapse, break down, either physically or mentally and emotionally” • “come apart at the seams; go to pieces.”

THINGS FALL APART – CHINUA ACHEBE
Nigeria

HANDFUL OF TAKE AWAYS

CHINUA ACHEBE [1930 (NOW, AGE 80)]

PUBLISHER: HEINEMANN, 148 (1958 )

CHARACTERS MENTIONED IN THESE QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1

OKONKWO’S DESIRE to be strong, wealthy and respected comes from both his CULTURAL experience and his feelings about his FATHER. WHICH AFFECTS HIM MORE? (Choose, and explain why one affects more)

HE IS OKONKWO

WHAT IS DESIRE?
• “Noun: A strong feeling of wanting • Verb: Strongly wish for something” Google • “he feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state” The Free Dictionary • “Synonyms: ambition, aspiration, dream” TFD

OKONKWO’S DESIRE TO BE STRONG
• Both - It comes from both feelings Cultural and feelings about father • Cultural experience – BEING STRONG • More honours for his village for bravery • TRAGIC FLAW: “My father, they have killed me!... He was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe 43) • More valued and respected

Crowning Ceremony

OKONKWO’S DESIRE TO BE RESPECTED COMES FROM CULTURE ALSO

• The desire comes from his standing among his people will positively transformed. Unlike his father with no titles. • “who had risen so suddenly from great poverty and misfortune to be one of the lords of the clan. The old man bore no ill-will towards Okonkwo. INDEED HE RESPECTED HIM FOR HIS INDUSTRY AND SUCCESS” (Achebe 19).

MORE SHEEPS

MORE TITLES

• MORE SHEEP/ANIMALS + MORE TITLES + MORE MONEY = MORE RESPECT, MORE WIVES

OKONKWO’S DESIRE

• Being strong meant being a warrior, a defender, a protector and a leader – Ibo people respected warriors. • He desires to be somebody instead of being nobody like this father.

OKONKWO AND UNOKA (HIS FATHER ARGUING)

OKONKWO’S DESIRE
– Being Wealthy • Warrior awards • The more the animals the more the respect • The important question of what affects him more? – His feelings about his father affects him more • Feelings about his father changed his life • Father’s GUILT ‘of being nobody’ made him struggle • The guilt of suicide committed by his father

WHAT AFFECTS HIM MORE?
• “whenever he was angry and could not get his words out quickly enough, he would use his fists. He had NO PATIENCE WITH UNSUCCESSFUL MEN. He had had no patience with his father” (Achebe 3). • At least at the end (BEING A WARRIOR) he realizes its TIME TO SACRIFICE his own self. Even though, he knew it is the most difficult part in his life. Okonkwo was all the time running away from this embarrassment of dying like this father. And now being like his father meant his salvation for himself and his people.

Therefore Okonkwo sacrifices himself like this father

QUESTION 2

2
• What is IRONIC about Okonkwo’s feelings for Ikemefuna? Compared to his feelings for Nwoye? (Find Irony)

DEFINITION OF IRONY

•INCONGRUITY between the expected thing and what actually takes place.

IRONY: FEELINGS FOR IKEMEFUNA AND NWOYE
• Okonkwo is selected to be guardian of Ikemefuna but ironically he appreciates and likes Ikemefuna more than Nwoye. He finds a reflection of himself in him and reflection of father in Nwoye. • Ikemefuna – Given authority – Responsibility –… continues

IRONY: FEELINGS FOR IKEMEFUNA AND NWOYE
• “He allowed Ikemefuna to accompany him, like a son, carrying his stool and his goatskin bag. And, indeed, Ikemefuna called him father.” (Achebe 21) – Feeling of belonging to a family • “Ikemefuna had become to feel a member of Okonkwo’s family”(Achebe 25)

OKONKWO’S IRONIC FEELINGS
• Nwoye • “a flaming fire could have begotten a son like Nwoye, degenerate and effeminate”(Achebe 108)
– – – – – Neglected Treated by Father (Okonkwo) harsly Okonkwo constantly disappointed by him Okonkwo finds him weak Okonkwo wants him to be like Ikemefuna

• Nwoye is associated with Okonkwo’s father because of effeminate attitude by Okonkwo.

OKONKWO’S IRONIC FEELINGS
• “He called his son, Nwoye, to sit with him in his obi. But the boy was afraid of him and slipped out of the hut as soon as he noticed him dozing”. Irony here lies with Okonkwo’s feeling for Nwoye because Okonkwo tries to fill the gap of Ikemefuna with Nwoye. But now Nwoye is too afriad.

QUESTION 3

3 • What can you tell about Okonkwo’s character from his participation in the death of Ikemefuna?

TWO FEATURES ARE QUITE CLEAR ABOUT HIS CHARACTER
• Either he can taken as a HEARTLESS MUDERER who is not worthy of being called a father. • Or a brave Man-of-Principles upholding traditions even in toughest situations.

MACHETE

• "Dazed with fear, Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. He was afraid of being thought weak“ (Achebe 43). • One can tell that Okonkwo – Pretends to be strong – He is indeed weak (because of Ikemefuna) – He is afraid (of being ) called weak because “He had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had had no patience with his father” (Achebe 3)

QUESTION 4

4
What Feature of Okonkwo’s character persuades Nwakibie to give him the seeds of yam?

Definition of Feature
• “a prominent attribute or aspect of something” The Free Dictionary • Synonym: aspect, quality, characteristic, attribute, point, mark, property, factor, trait, hallmark, facet,

COMMITMENT TO WORK HARD

• Okonkwo hard work by plouging the almost barren land proved to Nwakibie that Okonkwo is steadfast and serious individual. • This made Nwakibie quite clear that he is not gifting away his valued land.

• A Sincere (Genuinely interested) Youth “It pleases me to see a young man like you these days when our youth have gone so soft” (Achebe 16) • Sincerity to work (comes in Hard work with dedication)

(CONVINCING) FEATURES OF OKONKWO

• Respect for Nwakibie – “Nwakibie and he had taken the highest but one title which a man could take in the clan” • His respect towards Nwakibie for the right reasons

(CONVINCING) FEATURES OF OKONKWO
• Nwakibie is convinced by Okonkwo's

SINCERITY which is marked with action
(plowing the fields) before asking Nwakibie for the yams. • His seriousness towards making his life a

SUCCESS.

• Therefore considering Okonkwo’s qualities Nwakibie gave yam seeds to make the field grow with healthy crop.

QUESTION 5

5

• Explain the most influential role that a woman holds in Umuofian village?

Synonyms of Influential
instrumental, important, significant, controlling, guiding, effective, crucial, persuasive, forcible

CHIELO, HIGH PRIESTESS

MOST INFLUENTIAL ROLE WOMAN HOLD
• “THE ONLY WOMEN RESPECTED IN UMUOFIA ARE THOSE LIKE CHIELO, THE PRIESTESS OF THE ORACLE OF THE HILLS AND CAVES, who is removed from the pale of normalcy. Clothed in the mystic mantle of the divinity she serves, Chielo transforms from the ordinary; … (Mezu, “WOMEN IN ACHEBE'S WORLD”).

MOST INFLUENTIAL ROLE
• she can reprimand Okonkwo and even scream curses at him: "BEWARE OF EXCHANGING WORDS WITH AGBALA [THE NAME OF THE ORACLE OF THE HILLS AND CAVES]. DOES A MAN SPEAK WHEN A GOD SPEAKS? BEWARE!" (95) (MEZU, “WOMEN IN ACHEBE'S WORLD”). • Born in Lagos, Rose Ure Mezu, Ph.D., teaches francophone and anglophone feminist literature and theory at Baltimore's Morgan State University. She also has written a book of poems, Songs of the Hearth.

MOST INFLUENTIAL ROLE
• “Only the chief priestess ever looked upon the face of the oracle” (Achebe 33) • “No one had ever beheld Agbala, except the chief priestess”

QUESTION 6

6
• When a man says, yes, his Chi says yes also. Explain the concept of Chi. What is the meaning of this traditional proverb? Do you think this proverb continues to offer wisdom or represent truth? Why?

Question to audience?

• Any guess on what is Chi. Please make a guess. You’ve read TFA.

• ORIGIN - “literally “steam” in its earliest incarnation, a mixture of fire and vapors” • DEFINITION - “the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things”

TFA ‘CHI’ CONCEPT EXPLANATION
• “Chi was SIMILAR to the Christian concept of a GUARDIAN ANGEL. • A person's chi followed him or her THROUGHOUT LIFE, and could be either benevolent or malignant. • A person with a GOOD CHI was ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL in his or her endeavors” (Achebe 35)

EXPLANATION OF CHI
• “while a person with a bad chi was an unfortunate person, who would labor without reaping. The Igbo people did not believe that a man's chi controlled his entire” (Achebe 35)

EXPLANATION OF CHI
• “The Igbo people did not believe that a man's chi controlled his entire destiny. No matter how 'good' his chi was, a person would achieve success only if he worked hard and led an upright life.

CHI… CONTINUED…
• “They emphasized the importance of hard work in the saying 'If a person says "yes", that person's chi says "yes".'

MEANING OF THIS PROVERB
• If a man is by NATURE GOOD, GOOD WILL COME OUT of his effort. And will reap him great fortunes. • And if a man is born evil. He will cause destruction for himself and others. But it can be turned either way.

• It is through his will power or through traditional medicine/doctors, he can turn around the power of his chi. • How let’s see in the next slide.

HARD WORK AND CHI
• “No matter how 'good' his chi was, a person would achieve success only if he worked hard and led an upright life. They emphasized the importance of hard work” (Achebe 19)

CHI…CONTINUED…
• “In addition, the Igbo believed that diviners and other medicine men and women could intervene on behalf of an unfortunate person to change his or her malignant chi into a benevolent one.” (Achebe 35)

Do you think this proverb continues to offer wisdom or represent truth? Why?

YES, PROVERB CONTINUES TO OFFER WISDOM OR REPRESENT TRUTH

THOMAS CARLYLE QUOTE TO SHOW HOW OLD PROVERB OFFERS WISDOM
• 1795 – 1881 • Occupation: Essayist, satirist, historian • Literary movement: Victorian literature, Romanticism • Notable works: • (1837) The French Revolution: A History • (1831) Sartor Resartus

CHI - WISDOM
• 'If a person says "yes", that person's chi says "yes". • “Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak” Thomas Carlyle quotes

PROVERB CONTINUES TO OFFER WISDOM
• Yes, I think it continues to offer wisdom. • “Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak” Thomas Carlyle

PROVERB CONTINUES TO OFFER TRUTH

• It is (a sort of) truth that patience bears fruitful results. Edison (famous inventor) I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 WAYS that won't work. • "No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (41:35)

PROVERB CONTINUES TO OFFER TRUTH
• "Oh you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy. Vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and be pious, that you may prosper." (3:200)

QUESTION 7

7
• The exposition of the novel provides the reader with important background information about the characters, their setting and their problems. How is the scene in which Okonkwo visits his friends Obierika a vital part of the exposition?

• “The exposition is the part of a book that sets the stage for the drama to follow: it introduces the theme, setting, characters, and circumstances at the story’s beginnings”

HOW IS THE SCENE VITAL PART?

• It is the first time it is revealed that white men will be setting up a solid ground and the horrific change is coming .

HOW IS THE SCENE VITAL PART?
• Igbo tribe as well as other African’s tribe know they have to face the outsider. • The exposition foreshadows the future including Okonkwo's death due to tragic flaw.

HOW IS THE SCENE VITAL PART?
• This exposition, makes it clear for African people to think before they attack. They come to know that English are far superior and they’ve to come up with a strategy to counter them.

LETS GET A GLIMPSE OF WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
• Q1) OKONKWO’S DESIRE TO BE STRONG… FEELING THAT AFFECTS HIM MORE - Comes from both his cultural and feelings about his father. • Q2) Okonkwo’s IRONIC feelings for Ikemefuna compared to his feelings for Nwoye – Ikemefuna was more of a son than Nwoye • Q3) OKONKWO’S CHARACTER … PARTICIPATION IN THE DEATH OF IKEMEFUNA? – heartless ONLY for principles

COUP D'OEIL CONTINUES…
• Q4) Feature of Okonkwo’s character persuades Nwakibie to give him the seed of yams? – Hardwork (actually shown) + Sincerity • Q5) MOST INFLUENTIAL ROLE THAT A WOMAN HOLDS IN UMUOFIAN VILLAGE? – Chielo (Priestess of Agbala

• Q6) CHI PROVERB, MEANING – Concept similar to GUARDIAN ANGEL in Christianity • OFFER WISDOM – Yes, it continues to offer wisdom by telling us that --- through perseverance the evil can be converted into good. • TRUTH – Thomas Carlye and Quran again tells us that through hard work and commitment everything is possible.

CONTINUES… I’M TIRED OF EVERYTHING! BECAUSE I KNOW YOU ARE TIRED AND PROBABLY HATE ME! SORRY! FOR THIS LONG PRESENTATION

• Q7 OKONKWO’S VISIT TO OBIERIKA – VITAL PART OF EXPOSITION – First time marriage custom shown + Foreshadows of White man coming + Okonkwo revises why he was focused towards killing Ikemefuna

• End if you want to continue then just let me know :}

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Ogidi Location in Nigeria

Notable works
• The African Trilogy – Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God – Source: Wikipedia

Interesting Facts
• Translated into over twenty major world languages. (Mezu, “WOMEN IN ACHEBE'S WORLD”)

Woman Are Treated as Weak Citizens
• [ Only in certain cases like being a Priestess (High Priestess Oracle they become important) ] • Yet if Okonkwo is powerless before a goddess's priestess, he can, at least, control his own women. So, when Nwoye's mother asks if Ikemefuna will be staying long with them, Okonkwo bellows to her: "Do what you are told woman. When did you become one of the ndichie [clan elders]?" (18).

• • • • •

Story is about Story is about Igbo tribe/culture Story is about vanishing customs Setting is Nigeria Story is about Okonkwo Story is about Realization of culture/tribe/values (the tribe stands for) at risk

• Story is about Africa losing her culture • Story is about a father, a mother and her children • Story is about losing faith and gaining again • Story is about a tragic flaw • Story is about a quest to tune one’s inner chi

THOMAS CARLYLE TWO WORKS
• Sartor Resartus meaning 'The tailor re-tailored ‘purported (profess) to be a commentary on the thought and early life of a German philosopher called Diogenes Teufelsdröckh The work is, in part, a parody of Hegel, and of German Idealism more generally

THOMAS CARLYLE SECOND WORK
• The French Revolution: A History - It is a historical account of French Revolution. Carlyle unfolds his history by often writing in present-tense first-person plural: as though he and the reader were observers,

Stats/Figures/Numbers
• 9 villages in Nigeria • 3 Wives • 2 Children + 1 Adopted

TITLE OF THINGS FALL APART
• "The Second Coming" is a poem composed by Irish poet William Butler Yeats. • “The poem uses Christian imagery regarding the Apocalypse and second coming as allegory to describe the atmosphere in postwar Europe.” Source: Wikipedia

• Okonkwo sinks into a depression, neither able to sleep nor eat • Okonkwo’s gun explodes and kills Ogbuefi Ezeudu’s sixteen-year-old son • family to his mother’s natal village, Mbanta • The egwugwu are seen as ancestral gods, though in actuality they are masked Umuofia elders.

• agrarian society • The phrase "Arrow of God" is drawn from an Igbo proverb in which a person, or sometimes an event, is said to represent the will of God.[3] Arrow of God also concerns itself basically with the Acquiescence of Traditional African forms to Western Influence.