Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Who was Achebe’s intended audience? Who did he write Things Fall Apart for? What was he trying to communicate his audience?
- What does the opening epigraph by Yeats tell us about the novel? What themes does it introduce?
- Is Okonkwo destined for tragedy or did his choices (made of his own free will) lead him to his tragic end?
- Why does Okonkwo hang himself? Is it a cowardly act or brave? Weak or noble?
- What do the constant references to gender (male/female) say about Okonkwo? About Igbo culture?
- Why do you think Achebe often used untranslated Igbo words? What kind of tone was he trying to evoke?
- Why do you think the people of Umuofia maintain the belief that the egwugwu are gods when they are clearly masked humans?
- The Western canon has traditionally imagined white European culture as humane and civilizing. On the other hand, Eastern and African cultures have been depicted as primitive and savage. Does this hold true for Things Fall Apart? How are the representations of both parties – the Igbo and the white men – more complex than this traditional model?
- Does Things Fall Apart present a one-dimensional perspective of white people or a holistic and accurate one?
- Is the story told about the Igbo and colonization only relevant to this specific Nigerian group or is it representative of other colonized groups as well?
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