ENGL 2210 World Literature II

Achebe: "Things fall apart" Study Guide, Chapters 15-18

Chapter 15
  1. Uchendu, Okonkwo's uncle, says that the world has changed much, people have changed. How have things changed, according to him?
  2. What happened in the village of Abame?
  3. What is the "iron horse"?
  4. What did the Oracle have to say about the man on the iron horse?
  5. Why do you think is the real cause of the man's death? Could it have been avoided?
  6. What is the villagers' attitude toward foreigners and toward new technology?
  7. What's Uchendu's comment on this incident?
  8. What's Okonkwo's comment?
Chapter 16
  1. How have things changed in Umuofia since Obierika's last visit to Okonkwo?
  2. What is "efulefu"?
  3. What does Chielo, the priestess of Agbala think of the converts?
  4. What has Nwoye done to get Okonkwo real mad?
  5. How did the missionaries try to convince to locals to convert? What is the mutual misunderstanding between the missionaries and the locals?
  6. Why does it not make sense to Okonkwo that God should have a son?
  7. Do you think this is a good way to try to convert people to Christianity?
  8. What attracts Nwoye to this new religion?
Chapter 17
  1. Why do the elders decide to give the missionaries a plot of land in the Evil Forest? How did this backfire?
  2. Who is their first female convert, and why does she decide to convert? What's her husband's reaction?
  3. What's Okonkwo's reaction when he finds out that Nwoye has converted?
  4. Mr. Kiaga consoles Nwoye with these two biblical quotations: "Blessed is he who forsakes his father and his mother for my sake," and "Those that hear my words are my father and my mother." Why do you think this might be viewed as an abomination by the Ibo society of the time?
Chapter 18
  1. What's the debate concerning outcasts joining the church all about?
  2. How is this new religion more democratic than the religion of the clan?
  3. Describe the debate related to what to do with the man who has purposely killed the royal python. What's Okonkwo's solution?
  4. Consider the following statement by one of the elders. It deals with the question of blasphemy:
    "It is not our custom to fight for our gods," said one of them. "Let us not presume to do so now. If a man kills the python in the secrecy of his hut, the matter lies between him and the god. We did not see it. If we put ourselves between the god and his victim we may receive blows intended for the offender. When a man blasphemes, what do we do? Do we go and stop his mouth? No. We put our fingers into our ears to stop us from hearing. That is a wise action."
    How does this compare to how Western religions have dealt with blasphemy? (Inquisition, Crusades, etc.)
  1. Never kill a man who says nothing.
  2. There is no story that is not true.
  3. Never make an early appointment with a man who has just married a new wife.