ENGL 2210 World Literature II

Achebe: "Things fall apart" Study Guide, Chapters 13-14

Chapter 13
  1. Describe, roughly, the death rituals.
  2. How does the egwugwu praise the dead man?
  3. Read the next to last paragraph on page 2913 ("The land of the living...") and describe the relationship between the living and the dead.
  4. Okonkwo kills the dead man's son. But what is actually the crime for which he needs to be punished?
  5. Okonkwo has killed before this, including his adopted son. What makes this incident so serious, though it would be treated as an accident under our law?
  6. What is Okonkwo's punishment?
  7. Why does Okonkwo simply not refuse the punishment?
  8. How does this sort of punishment compare to the way we punish criminals? Would you accept or reject such a punishment for yourself? Why do you think our laws could not offer such a punishment?
  9. What happens to Okonkwo's compound? Why?
Chapter 14
  1. Describe how Okonkwo was received by his mother's clan.
  2. How does Uchendu comfort Okonkwo? What role does the mother play in these situations?
  3. How has Uchendu suffered?
  4. What is the meaning of the song at the end of this chapter? Can you think of an equivalent saying in our culture?
  1. If one finger brings oil, it spoils the others.
  2. A man cannot rise beyond the destiny of his chi.