ENGL 2210 World Literature II

"Things Fall Apart" Essays

Read the essay writing instructions before you write your essay.

You may write TWO essays on this novel. The first essay should cover chapters 1-14. The second essay should cover the entire novel. If you decide to write two essays, they may not be on the same topic. If you pick any of the topics that deal with religion, you should re-read the handout on Religion in Africa.
  1. Describe the typical family structure and the relationship among family individuals in Ibo society.
  2. Describe the Ibo religious belief system and note any parallels to any Western religious belief system.
  3. In Ibo society each individual has a well-defined role in the social group, which seems to contribute toward the cohesion of the society. Pick ONE individual and describe the role of that individual in the society AND how his/her role contributes toward the cohesion. Be sure to provide specific examples from the novel! 1) father; 2) mother; 3) child; 4) husband; 5) wife; 6) friend; 7) priestess; 8) relative
  4. Pick ONE family, religious, or social event in the novel and describe its function in the society.
  5. Describe the role of ancestors in Ibo society.
  6. Justice and fairness are matters of great importance to Ibo society. Describe the Ibo system for solving conflicts and administering justice among individuals and among tribes. Here you are asked to describe the system, and not simply list specific instances.
  7. Describe the role of women in Ibo society, the extent to which they are revered and oppressed.
  8. In what ways can the novel be considered a response to depictions of Africans and african culture in Western literature.
  9. The title of this novel is "Things Fall Apart". Explain Obierika's comment regarding the white man: "He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart." How has the white man done this, and what things held the clan together? Describe what "things" fell apart in the Ibo community, why they fell apart, and what is the impact on the society.

Your essay should be no less than 350 words, and no more than 400 words. Indicate the number of words at the bottom of the essay.