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Unit 1, Lesson 8 Cultural Point of View in Things Fall Apart.

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1 Unit 1, Lesson 8 Cultural Point of View in Things Fall Apart

2 Achebe’s Novel: Key Facts Achebe uses traditional African idiom in his work:idiom See “Pronunciation of Igbo Names and Words” in CliffsnotesPronunciation of Igbo Names and Words FULL TITLE · Things Fall Apart AUTHOR · Chinua Achebe TYPE OF WORK · Novel GENRE · Postcolonial critique; tragedy LANGUAGE · English TIME AND PLACE WRITTEN · 1959, Nigeria DATE OF FIRST PUBLICATION · 1959 PUBLISHER · Heinemann Educational Books

3 Achebe’s Novel: Key Facts Achebe includes African folk tales in his work: See Chapter 11, the story of the cunning tortoise, which explains why tortoise’s shell is not smooth. NARRATOR · The narrator is anonymous but shows sympathy for the various residents of Umuofia. POINT OF VIEW · The narration is in the third person, by an omniscient figure who focuses on Okonkwo but switches from character to character to detail the thoughts and motives of various individuals. TONE · Ironic, tragic, satirical, fablelike TENSE · Past SETTING (TIME) · 1890s SETTING (PLACE) · Lower Nigerian villages, Iguedo and Mbanta in particular PROTAGONIST · Okonkwo

4 Achebe’s Novel: Key Facts Achebe uses African proverbs to capture the mind of his culture: A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness. MAJOR CONFLICT · On one level, the conflict is between the traditional society of Umuofia and the new customs brought by the whites, which are in turn adopted by many of the villagers. Okonkwo also struggles to be as different from his deceased father as possible. He believes his father to have been weak, effeminate, lazy, ignominious, and poor. Consequently, Okonkwo strives to be strong, masculine, industrious, respected, and wealthy. 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. CLIMAX · Okonkwo’s murder, or uchu, of a court messenger

5 Achebe’s Novel: Key Facts FALLING ACTION · The villagers allow the white government’s messengers to escape, and Okonkwo, realizing the weakness of his clan, commits suicide. THEMES · The struggle between tradition and change; varying interpre- tations of masculinity; language as a sign of cultural difference MOTIFS · Chi, animal imagery

6 Achebe’s Novel: Key Facts SYMBOLS · The novel is highly symbolic, and it asks to be read in symbolic terms. Two of the main symbols are the locusts and fire. The locusts symbolize the white colonists descending upon the Africans, seeming to augur good but actually portending troublesome encounters. Fire epitomizes Okonkwo’s nature—he is fierce and destructive. A third symbol, the drums, represents the physical connection of the community of clansmen in Umuofia, and acts as a metaphorical heartbeat that beats in unison, uniting all the village members. For example name symbols used by characters, read the Sparknotes Summary of Chapter 9Summary of Chapter 9 FORESHADOWING · The author’s initial description of Ikemefuna as an “ill-fated boy,” which presages his eventual murder by Okonkwo; the arrival of the locusts, which symbolizes the eventual arrival of the colonizers; Obierika’s suggestion that Okonkwo kill himself, which foretells Okonkwo’s eventual suicide

7 Unit 1 Lesson 8 Expert Team Instructions for tomorrow! Your notes will be graded for completion—be sure that you follow instructions and stay on task. Your substitute will be given a script to read—follow it exactly. 1.Tonight, all students are responsible for taking careful split-page notes on team-assigned questions. These notes will be shared tomorrow. Give title: “Unit 1 Lesson 8 Individual Notes.” 2.Tomorrow, the team leader (or an appointee) will visit at least two other teams, gathering answers for questions assigned to the team being visited. That team leader will then return to his/her home team and deliver information. EVERY QUESTION must be labelled and have commentary as such:

8 Unit 1 Lesson 8 Expert Team Instructions for tomorrow! CUENOTES Chapter, Question #,Explanation as to why Answer (complete, not answer is what it is; just letter)questions or disagreements with answer gathered

9 Unit 1 Lesson 8 Cultural Point of View: Focus on Okonkwo Essential Storytelling Techniques Group discussion: Reading: Page 59, bottom. Bottom 60 and 61. Beginning of Chapter 8, 64 & 65. Focus on trope of falling, breaking, snapping and cf. poem/title of book. Group: 5 minutes: Review & Discuss the “Essential Storytelling techniques” notes Group discussion & Split Page Notes: How do Okonkwo’s concepts of masculinity and femininity affect his relationships with others? See SMART Notes.

10 Unit 1 Lesson 8 Cultural Point of View: Focus on Okonkwo Essential Storytelling Techniques Detached Narrator: 3 rd Person omniscient narrative allows Achebe to explore differents points of view and remaind objective (60-61) Point of View Shifts: Provides indirect characterization of Okonkwo and provides other characters’ reactions to events (61) Dramatic Irony: Builds suspense and provides some sympathy for characters who suffer; however Achebe does not judge his characters. The irony is simply in that readers are aware of things the characters are not (59)

11 Unit 1 Lesson 8 Cultural Point of View: Focus on Okonkwo Essential Storytelling Techniques Restorying & Postcolonial critique: Achebe establishes a realistic picture of the Igbo in Umuofia; their society is complex, filled with same strengths and weaknesses. The exploration of their culture is a defense against ideas that acts such as killing Ikemefuma were acts of animal brutality or depraved, pointless violence (Chapter 7) Satire: Achebe is fair; he is critical of universal weakness in human beings; Igbo is a patriarchy, and Okonkwo becomes a brutal satire of masculinity and the male paradigm (Chapter 8).

12 Unit 1 Lesson 8 Cultural Point of View: Focus on Character Flat vs Round character: A round character is one who is believable and has complex thoughts, feelings, and motives. Do you believe Okonkwo is a round character? Static vs Dynamic character: A static character does not undergo a realization or recognition, while a dynamic character does. Do you believe Okonkwo is static or dynamic? Dramatic irony: Dramatic is when readers or viewers know something about a character that the character does not— often when a character is in error or in danger, or when a character’s view of him/herself is radically different than the audience’s view

13 Unit 1 Lesson 8 Masculine & Feminine Paradigm: Archetypes and Stereotypes Archetype: Universal story (the Descent into the Underworld, the Quest, the Sacrifice) or type of character (the Wise Man, the King, the Fool, the Knight, the Dragon). These stories and characters appear in all cultures, regardless of variations or names. (Consider Abraham sacrificing Isaac in Old Testament as compared to the Oracle demanding sacrifice of Ikemefuna). Archetypes that become over-used or over-simplified become stereotypes. Paradigms (masculine and feminine): typical models or ways of thinking that establish patterns of belief or behavior—often both archetypal as well as biased by cultural prejudices.

14 Unit 1 Lesson 8 MALE Heat Light Over/Exterior Power Strength Reason Female Cool Dark Under/Inside Submissiveness Weakness Emotion Archetypes and Stereotypes in the Male-Female Paradigm

15 Notes Due Expert Team Instructions for tomorrow! NOTES DUE on FRIDAY 9/20: Okonkwo’s character grid (Monday night 9/16) Individual Cornell notes (Tuesday night 9/17) Class fishbowl notes (In-class Wed, Thursday 9/18-9/19)

16 Unit 1 Lesson 8 Learning Target: Techniques that “add up” to establish cultural point of view. CCSS Standards: RL , cite evidence 3, Analyze complex character 4, Words in context RL , Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, 6, Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States RL , Cite evidence 2, Central idea or them 3, Analyze series of events or ideas 4, Vocabulary in context (figurative and literal) 6, Determine POV SL SL , Listeners follow line of reasoning 1, Collaborative discussions 6, Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when W , a-f Write informative/explanatory texts formatted with graphic organizers, facts, extended definitions, details, quotations, transitions, domain-specific vocabulary, and objective tone 4, Task-appropriate writing 5, Planning, revising, rewriting with new approach 9a, Evidence from literary or informational text 0 L 10.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. L10.4 Determine meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words L10.6, Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases...for college and career readiness


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