Presentation on theme: "Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Introduction Background Discussion Starters."— Presentation transcript:
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Introduction Background Discussion Starters
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Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe “Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"
“Let me first make one general point that is fundamental and essential to the appreciation of African issues by Americans. Africans are people in the same way that Americans, Europeans, Asians, and others are people. Africans are not some strange beings with unpronounceable names and impenetrable minds. Although the action of Things Fall Apart takes place in a setting with which most Americans are unfamiliar, the characters are normal people and their events are real human events.” - Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart: Introduction Change is a part of life. But when drastic changes transform the world you know—how do you deal with them?
Things Fall Apart: Introduction Okonkwo is a member of the Ibo people in the African country of Nigeria in the late 1800s. Okonkwo is a wealthy farmer and is well respected in his clan.
Things Fall Apart: Introduction Okonkwo has a big family that follows the traditions of the Ibo people. He has three wives; and two daughters, Obiageli and Ezinma. He also cares for a young boy, Ikemefuma, who has been brought to the village as a hostage. a son, Nwoye;
Things Fall Apart: Introduction Okonkwo believes in the Ibo traditions. Okonkwo will do anything to be different from his father, who was considered weak and died in disgrace. He values strength and hard work and looks down on gentleness and compassion.
Things Fall Apart: Introduction But Okonkwo’s desire to succeed and to stamp out weakness leads him to commit many violent acts… some of which bring him into conflict with his clan.
Things Fall Apart: Introduction One day a senseless act changes his life. He and his family are sent away from the village.
Things Fall Apart: Introduction Christian missionaries arrive—determined to change the Ibo way of life. While Okonkwo and his family are away, changes begin to take place in their village.
Things Fall Apart: Introduction After seven years, Okonkwo and his family return home. What changes will he find in the village? Will Okonkwo be able to adjust to a world that has fallen apart?
Things Fall Apart: Background Nigeria became a British colony in 1886. Things Fall Apart is set during a period of British colonial rule of Nigeria in the late 1800s.
Christian missionaries arrived in Nigeria in the mid-1800s, and by the end of the century had begun a strong conversion campaign. They wanted the African people to embrace Christianity. Things Fall Apart: Background
Traditional Ibo religion was based on an earth goddess and a creator god. Other deities and spirits were also honored. Animals were used as sacrifices in religious ceremonies.
Things Fall Apart: Background In Ibo culture, women grew food crops The Ibo were subsistence farmers, which means they grew crops to survive. Men grew the important yam crop. Women grew other crops.
Things Fall Apart: Background An Ibo village was part of a clan network made up of about five thousand people that were led by a council of men that made decisions democratically shared a common market and meeting place
Conflicts to Watch Generational:Okonkwo vs. Unoka Okonkwo vs. Nwoye Cultural:Ibo vs. Western Tradition vs. Christianity Assimilation vs. purity Gender:Okonkwo vs. his wives Inner:Okonkwo vs. himself
The Tragic Hero 1. Enjoys an exalted position in society either by birth or extraordinary achievements 2. Demonstrates wisdom, moral or philosophical greatness -- sometimes physical prowess 3.Adheres to and exemplifies a code of conduct including reverence toward the laws of God and the universe, loyalty to the family, and respect for government 4. Possesses a flaw in personality or psyche that ultimately brings about total destruction.
Things Fall Apart: Discussion Starters Okonkwo believes that strength and toughness are more important than compassion and gentleness. In what circumstances might this attitude help a person succeed? When could it cause problems? Does everyone have a tragic flaw? What is Okonkwo’s? What is yours?
Things Fall Apart: Discussion Starters The European missionaries want the Ibo to change their way of life. Why do some people want to impose their culture on another? Can one culture judge another by its own standards? When do you think it’s acceptable to encourage a group of people to change their way of life? When is it not acceptable?