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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe  Chinua Achebe remains the most read African author in the world.  Things Fall Apart  enormously.

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Presentation on theme: "Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe  Chinua Achebe remains the most read African author in the world.  Things Fall Apart  enormously."— Presentation transcript:

1 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

2 Chinua Achebe  Chinua Achebe remains the most read African author in the world.  Things Fall Apart  enormously successful first novel, published in 1958  has sold millions of copies and has been  translated into numerous languages.  Achebe’s primary focus has been African identity  critical of the way that Western literature has portrayed native Africans.  Explores the many detrimental effects of centuries of colonialism on the African continent.  In his fiction, essays, criticism, poetry, and even children’s literature,  Achebe has questioned not only how the West views Africa but also how Africa views itself.  Achebe’s potent social commentary has earned him worldwide acclaim.  Chinua Achebe remains the most read African author in the world.  Things Fall Apart  enormously successful first novel, published in 1958  has sold millions of copies and has been  translated into numerous languages.  Achebe’s primary focus has been African identity  critical of the way that Western literature has portrayed native Africans.  Explores the many detrimental effects of centuries of colonialism on the African continent.  In his fiction, essays, criticism, poetry, and even children’s literature,  Achebe has questioned not only how the West views Africa but also how Africa views itself.  Achebe’s potent social commentary has earned him worldwide acclaim.

3 Chinua Achebe  Achebe’s parents converted to Christianity  all of their children’s names have spiritual connotations  Chinualumogu (Chinua’s full first name) means “May God fight on my behalf.”  In his essay “An Image of Africa,” Achebe heavily criticized Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as one of many novels that depicts Africa as a place of ignorant savagery.  Oral traditions and storytelling are important influences on Achebe’s work.  loved to hear the Igbo stories that his mother and sister told when he was a small boy.  As a youth  Achebe read many Western novels  was often disdainful of the African characters..  until, that is, he realized the racist biases of the authors.  In 1990, Achebe was in a serious car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.  Achebe’s parents converted to Christianity  all of their children’s names have spiritual connotations  Chinualumogu (Chinua’s full first name) means “May God fight on my behalf.”  In his essay “An Image of Africa,” Achebe heavily criticized Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as one of many novels that depicts Africa as a place of ignorant savagery.  Oral traditions and storytelling are important influences on Achebe’s work.  loved to hear the Igbo stories that his mother and sister told when he was a small boy.  As a youth  Achebe read many Western novels  was often disdainful of the African characters..  until, that is, he realized the racist biases of the authors.  In 1990, Achebe was in a serious car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

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5 Background  Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart not for his fellow Nigerians, but for people beyond his native country.  He wanted to explain the truth about the effects of losing one's culture.  At first, the book was not widely read by Nigerians or by Africans in general.  When Nigeria became independent in 1960, however, Africans appreciated the novel for its important contribution to Nigerian history.  The title of the novel echoes W. B. Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming,” which describes history as a succession of gyres, or spirals.  Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart not for his fellow Nigerians, but for people beyond his native country.  He wanted to explain the truth about the effects of losing one's culture.  At first, the book was not widely read by Nigerians or by Africans in general.  When Nigeria became independent in 1960, however, Africans appreciated the novel for its important contribution to Nigerian history.  The title of the novel echoes W. B. Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming,” which describes history as a succession of gyres, or spirals.

6 Background  Things Fall Apart based upon Achebe’s life experience.  Born in 1930,  Chinua Achebe spent his early childhood in Ogidi, Nigeria, a large village near the famous marketplace of Onitsha.  was a child of both the traditional Igbo world and the colonial Christian world  father, Isaiah Achebe, worked as a catechist for the Church Missionary Society.  spoke Igbo at home, he studied English in school.  At age of 14, he advanced to the prestigious Government College in Umuahia  Things Fall Apart based upon Achebe’s life experience.  Born in 1930,  Chinua Achebe spent his early childhood in Ogidi, Nigeria, a large village near the famous marketplace of Onitsha.  was a child of both the traditional Igbo world and the colonial Christian world  father, Isaiah Achebe, worked as a catechist for the Church Missionary Society.  spoke Igbo at home, he studied English in school.  At age of 14, he advanced to the prestigious Government College in Umuahia

7 Background  Achebe applies the image of the spiral to Africa as the nineteenth century traditional world of the Igbo people gives way to the colonial forces of the twentieth century.  Things Fall Apart  takes place in the Nigerian village of Umuofia in the late 1880s, before missionaries and other outsiders have arrived.  The Ibo clan practices common tribal traditions—worship of gods, sacrifice, communal living, war, and magic.  Leadership is based on a man's personal worth and his contribution to the good of the tribe.  Okonkwo  stands out as a great leader of the Ibo tribe.  Tribesmen respect Okonkwo for his many achievements.  Achebe applies the image of the spiral to Africa as the nineteenth century traditional world of the Igbo people gives way to the colonial forces of the twentieth century.  Things Fall Apart  takes place in the Nigerian village of Umuofia in the late 1880s, before missionaries and other outsiders have arrived.  The Ibo clan practices common tribal traditions—worship of gods, sacrifice, communal living, war, and magic.  Leadership is based on a man's personal worth and his contribution to the good of the tribe.  Okonkwo  stands out as a great leader of the Ibo tribe.  Tribesmen respect Okonkwo for his many achievements.

8 The Igbo People  A distinctive culture known as Igbo (or Ibo) evolved in West Africa about 5,000 years ago.  Political organizations and beliefs differed among the various groups of Igbo people.  Men and women attempted to achieve prestige and status by accumulating wealth, which was used to purchase titles.  Title holding leaders influenced the village assembly, came to decisions through consensus, made new laws, and administered justice.  Early on, the Igbo people developed relationships with European traders and missionaries.  In 1472, the Portuguese arrived in Igboland in an attempt to discover a sea route to India  in 1508, the Portuguese transported the first West African slaves to the West Indies.  A distinctive culture known as Igbo (or Ibo) evolved in West Africa about 5,000 years ago.  Political organizations and beliefs differed among the various groups of Igbo people.  Men and women attempted to achieve prestige and status by accumulating wealth, which was used to purchase titles.  Title holding leaders influenced the village assembly, came to decisions through consensus, made new laws, and administered justice.  Early on, the Igbo people developed relationships with European traders and missionaries.  In 1472, the Portuguese arrived in Igboland in an attempt to discover a sea route to India  in 1508, the Portuguese transported the first West African slaves to the West Indies.

9 The igbo People  During British Imperialism into Africa, Igboland functioned as a British trade colony for decades  It was not formally declared a British Protectorate until  In order to “pacify” Eastern Nigeria, the British destroyed much of Igboland and launched extensive military expeditions in  Despite resistance, by 1928 Igbo men were forced to pay taxes, and British colonialism took hold.  During the colonial era, British officials sought to govern hundreds of decentralized Igbo villages clustered in various political constructs through a system of indirect rule.  Igbo institutions were replaced with a native court system that was administered by appointed warrant chiefs, district officers, court clerks, and messengers who held no traditional status in the village.  During British Imperialism into Africa, Igboland functioned as a British trade colony for decades  It was not formally declared a British Protectorate until  In order to “pacify” Eastern Nigeria, the British destroyed much of Igboland and launched extensive military expeditions in  Despite resistance, by 1928 Igbo men were forced to pay taxes, and British colonialism took hold.  During the colonial era, British officials sought to govern hundreds of decentralized Igbo villages clustered in various political constructs through a system of indirect rule.  Igbo institutions were replaced with a native court system that was administered by appointed warrant chiefs, district officers, court clerks, and messengers who held no traditional status in the village.

10 The Igbo People  The Igbo resisted the corruption of the native court system, the destruction of indigenous political life, and increased taxation. The resistance culminated in the Women’s War of 1929–1930.  In 1952, a regional government was set up which paved the way for independence.  After decades of resistance, Nigeria finally gained independence from Britain in However, the new nation contained many ethnic groups, including the Hausa and the Yoruba people.  The eastern region of Nigeria was inhabited by the Igbo. This area, which was later known as Biafra, unsuccessfully sought independence from Nigeria during the devastating civil war of  Things Fall Apart depicts the tensions within traditional Igbo society at the end of the nineteenth century and the cataclysmic changes introduced by colonialism and Christianity in the twentieth century.  The Igbo resisted the corruption of the native court system, the destruction of indigenous political life, and increased taxation. The resistance culminated in the Women’s War of 1929–1930.  In 1952, a regional government was set up which paved the way for independence.  After decades of resistance, Nigeria finally gained independence from Britain in However, the new nation contained many ethnic groups, including the Hausa and the Yoruba people.  The eastern region of Nigeria was inhabited by the Igbo. This area, which was later known as Biafra, unsuccessfully sought independence from Nigeria during the devastating civil war of  Things Fall Apart depicts the tensions within traditional Igbo society at the end of the nineteenth century and the cataclysmic changes introduced by colonialism and Christianity in the twentieth century.

11 Themes Custom and Tradition  Okonkwo's struggle to live up to what he perceives as "traditional" standards of masculinity, and his failures to adapt to a changing world help point out the importance of custom and tradition in the novel.  The Ibo tribe defines itself through the age-old traditions it practices in Things Fall Apart.  some habits mold tribe members' daily lives,  other customs are reserved for special ceremonies.  the head of a household honors any male guest by praying over and sharing a kola nut with him, offering the guest the privilege of breaking the nut.  They drank palm-wine together, with the oldest person taking the first drink after the provider has tasted it.  Tribal custom dictates every aspect of members' lives.  The tribe determines a man's worth by the number of titles he holds, the number of wives he acquires, and the number of yams he grows.  The tribe acknowledges a man's very being by the gods' approval of him.  Without custom and tradition, the tribe does not exist. Alienation and Loneliness  Okonkwo's exile isolates him from all he has ever known in Things Fall Apart. Custom and Tradition  Okonkwo's struggle to live up to what he perceives as "traditional" standards of masculinity, and his failures to adapt to a changing world help point out the importance of custom and tradition in the novel.  The Ibo tribe defines itself through the age-old traditions it practices in Things Fall Apart.  some habits mold tribe members' daily lives,  other customs are reserved for special ceremonies.  the head of a household honors any male guest by praying over and sharing a kola nut with him, offering the guest the privilege of breaking the nut.  They drank palm-wine together, with the oldest person taking the first drink after the provider has tasted it.  Tribal custom dictates every aspect of members' lives.  The tribe determines a man's worth by the number of titles he holds, the number of wives he acquires, and the number of yams he grows.  The tribe acknowledges a man's very being by the gods' approval of him.  Without custom and tradition, the tribe does not exist. Alienation and Loneliness  Okonkwo's exile isolates him from all he has ever known in Things Fall Apart.

12 Themes Betrayal  Okonkwo feels betrayed by his personal god, or chi, which has allowed him to produce a son who is effeminate.  Nwoye continually disappoints Okonkwo.  As a child, Nwoye prefers his mother's stories to masculine pursuits.  As an adult, Nwoye joins the white missionaries.  Okonkwo also feels betrayed by his clan. Change and Transformation  The tribe to which Okonkwo returns has undergone a complete transformation during his absence. Good and Evil  Many of the tribesmen view the white man as evil. Culture Clash  The arrival of the white man and his culture heralds the death of the Ibo culture. Betrayal  Okonkwo feels betrayed by his personal god, or chi, which has allowed him to produce a son who is effeminate.  Nwoye continually disappoints Okonkwo.  As a child, Nwoye prefers his mother's stories to masculine pursuits.  As an adult, Nwoye joins the white missionaries.  Okonkwo also feels betrayed by his clan. Change and Transformation  The tribe to which Okonkwo returns has undergone a complete transformation during his absence. Good and Evil  Many of the tribesmen view the white man as evil. Culture Clash  The arrival of the white man and his culture heralds the death of the Ibo culture.

13 Tragedy  Things Fall Apart chronicles the tragic journey of Okonkwo, a revered warrior, and the Ibo, the tribe to which Okonkwo belongs.  In literature, tragedy often describes the downfall of a great individual which is caused by a flaw in the person's character.  Okonkwo's personal flaw is his unreasonable anger  his tragedy occurs when the tribe bans him for accidentally killing a young tribesman  He returns to find a tribe that has changed beyond recognition.  Things Fall Apart chronicles the tragic journey of Okonkwo, a revered warrior, and the Ibo, the tribe to which Okonkwo belongs.  In literature, tragedy often describes the downfall of a great individual which is caused by a flaw in the person's character.  Okonkwo's personal flaw is his unreasonable anger  his tragedy occurs when the tribe bans him for accidentally killing a young tribesman  He returns to find a tribe that has changed beyond recognition.

14 Setting  Things Fall Apart is set in Umuofia, a tribal village in the country of Nigeria, in Africa. It is the late 1800s, when English bureaucrats and missionaries are first arriving in the area.  Things Fall Apart is set in Umuofia, a tribal village in the country of Nigeria, in Africa. It is the late 1800s, when English bureaucrats and missionaries are first arriving in the area.

15 Point of View  Critics praise Achebe for his adept shifts in point of view in Things Fall Apart.  Achebe begins the story from Okonkwo's point of view.  Okonkwo's story helps the reader understand the Ibo's daily customs and rituals as well as celebrations for the main events in life: birth, marriage, and death.  As the story progresses, however, it becomes more the clan's story than Okonkwo's personal story.  The final shift occurs when Achebe ends the story from the District Commissioner's viewpoint  Critics praise Achebe for his adept shifts in point of view in Things Fall Apart.  Achebe begins the story from Okonkwo's point of view.  Okonkwo's story helps the reader understand the Ibo's daily customs and rituals as well as celebrations for the main events in life: birth, marriage, and death.  As the story progresses, however, it becomes more the clan's story than Okonkwo's personal story.  The final shift occurs when Achebe ends the story from the District Commissioner's viewpoint

16 Things Fall Apart Questions, Part 1 1.Describe Okonkwo, the protagonist of Things Fall Apart. Consider him as an Igbo heroic character: how does he work to achieve greatness as defined by his culture? How does he differ from Western heroes with whom familiar? What are strengths and weaknesses? 2.Describe Unoka, Okonkwo’s father. What are Okonkwo’s feelings toward Unoka, and why? How does the (negative) example of his father shape Okonkwo’s character and actions? What do the early descriptions of Okonkwo’s success and Unoka’s failure tell us about Igbo society? How does one succeed in this cultural context? 3.Describe the narrator of Things Fall Apart, the "voice" telling us the story of Okonkwo, Umuofia (Igbo for "people of the forest,"), and the Igbo world of the nine villages. How would you describe this narrative voice, its point of view, its values, and its perspectives? 4.Describe the setting (time, place, culture) of the novel. How is social life organized? What are the important celebrations? What is the role of war, of religion, and of the arts? What is the role of the individual in relation to the community of Umuofia? 5.What effect does night have on the people in Ch. 2? What do they fear? How do they deal with their fear of snakes at night? 1.Describe Okonkwo, the protagonist of Things Fall Apart. Consider him as an Igbo heroic character: how does he work to achieve greatness as defined by his culture? How does he differ from Western heroes with whom familiar? What are strengths and weaknesses? 2.Describe Unoka, Okonkwo’s father. What are Okonkwo’s feelings toward Unoka, and why? How does the (negative) example of his father shape Okonkwo’s character and actions? What do the early descriptions of Okonkwo’s success and Unoka’s failure tell us about Igbo society? How does one succeed in this cultural context? 3.Describe the narrator of Things Fall Apart, the "voice" telling us the story of Okonkwo, Umuofia (Igbo for "people of the forest,"), and the Igbo world of the nine villages. How would you describe this narrative voice, its point of view, its values, and its perspectives? 4.Describe the setting (time, place, culture) of the novel. How is social life organized? What are the important celebrations? What is the role of war, of religion, and of the arts? What is the role of the individual in relation to the community of Umuofia? 5.What effect does night have on the people in Ch. 2? What do they fear? How do they deal with their fear of snakes at night?


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