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Things Fall Apart Seminar Questions

  • Date Submitted: 02/15/2014 08:07 AM
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Things Fall Apart Seminar Questions

  1.     Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, depicts the story of an African man whose life is controlled by the constant effort to relieve himself from the embarrassing legacy of his lazy, reckless, and effeminate father. Through the novel Achebe using various authentic African Terms to tell his story. With the use of African terms, Achebe is able to offer the reader a true experience of African culture. The words “ogbanje”, “chi”, and “obi” are just a few words that are used numerous times throughout the book. These selected words can all be found in a glossary at the back of the book and the glossary reveals the word ogbanje means changeling or a child who repeatedly dies and returns to its mother’s womb.
  The word “ogbanje” is used in Chapter 9 when it’s revealed a medicine man had told the main character Okonkwo that an “ogbanje” was tormenting one of his wives making her children always die. This flashback came when one of his children became ill. The meaning of the word “ogbanje” given in the glossary really helps the reader understand the religious/spiritual beliefs of the African people. The word “chi”, meaning personal god, is also used many times in the novel. Achebe’s use of this original African term lends authenticity to the novel along with making us understand how Okonkwo is a tragic hero.   Knowing this meaning can explain to the reader Okonkwo’s tragic fate involving his problematic chi.

  2.     A reoccurring theme seen in Things Fall Apart is the issue of fate versus a person’s control over destiny. An example of this is the main character Okonkwo’s father is both held accountable for his own actions and foolish decisions while also being referred to as ill-fated and a victim of evil fortune. Achebe expressed his own belief as well as the opposite side through his characters. Okonkwo, the main character believes a person is responsible for their own destiny based on their own decisions while...

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