Literature – Discussion Forum Post

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Read: Read: Chapters 1-13 (to the end of 13) Things Fall Apart.
Achebe, C. (1994). Things fall apart. New York, NY: Penguin.

Also View: Since it contains plot spoilers, view If One Finger Brought Oil: Things Fall Apart Part I after you finish this week’s readings. It does provide a good summary and some helpful insights.
CrashCourse. (2014, April 17). If one finger brought oil – Things Fall Apart part I: Crash course literature 208 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Assignment: Choose two of the following prompts to address in this week’s DF. Indicate the number of your prompt in your post. The length of each post should be 250 words minimum. Research is necessary for this week’s DF. Consult and cite at least one reputable source in your posts. Your source may provide cultural or historic information, or it may share a scholar’s view on a facet of the novel. Some resources have been provided in this week’s reading and viewing materials.

1. In “An African Voice,” Chinua Achebe explains one reason for his writing of Things Fall Apart: “The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery. … This continued until the Africans themselves, in the middle of the twentieth century, took into their own hands the telling of their story.” (Chinua Achebe, “An African Voice”, The Atlantic). In the 1950s, Achebe felt most of the world had a false picture of African Igbo culture, that they had been judged by a single story. He wanted to write a book that presented human beings as human beings—complex, honorable, and flawed. Discuss how Achebe presents the Igbo as complex, honorable, and flawed humans in Part I. How does Achebe avoid the danger of a single story (see Reading Assignment)?

2. Things Fall Apart is a story of the devolution of individual and collective identities. Parts II and III are focused on this dissolution. Part I, however, is focused on Okonkwo’s rise and the development of his tribal identity. How does Okonkwo build his identity? How does honor motivate him? In what ways do fear and pride drive him?

3. How are gender roles defined and emphasized in Igbo culture? How are daily activities and chores gendered? How does Okonkwo’s view of women compare with the view other people from Umuofia hold? Some scholars posit that Okonkwo’s view and treatment of women does not reflect the view of Igbo culture more generally and that his view and treatment of women contributes to his downfall. Discuss evidence that Okonkwo’s treatment of female characters is or is not indicative of Igbo culture.

4. Discuss 2-3 of the Igbo traditions included in Part I of the book. What does each tradition reveal about the values of Umuofia and its people? What do they reveal about Okonkwo specifically? Why might Achebe include descriptions of many of these traditions as part of his mission to “re-write the history of Africa”?

References: must use the references provided above and can use others. Thank you.

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