ENGL 2210 World Literature II

Achebe: "Things fall apart" Study Guide, Chapters 19-20

Chapter 19
  1. Traditional Umuofia custom can welcome an erring member once he has paid for his crime. What's your opinion of such a custom? How does our society treat released prisoners?
  2. Why does Okonkwo organize a big feast? Who is invited?
  3. What does Uchendu's prayer at the top of page 2931 tell you about what his society values the most?
  4. In the last paragraph on page 2931 an elder explains why it is important for clansmen to get together. Why is it important to do so? Do you think it's important for large group of relatives in our culture to get together once in a while? Compare the bond of kinship in Ibo society and in ours.
Chapter 20
  1. How have things changed in Umuofia since Okonkwo left?
  2. Who were the court messengers, and what was the clan's attitude toward them?
  3. What crimes had the prisoner's committed, and how were they treated in the prisons?
  4. Why do you think the people think that the District Commissioner judged cases in ignorance?
  5. Okonkwo wants to fight the white men. Obierika says it's too late. Why is it too late, according to Obierika?
  6. Okonkwo learns that a man has been hanged for killing another man over land dispute. Is that a good solution?
  7. 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?
  1. I cannot live by the bank of a river and wash my hands with spittle.
  2. He that has health and children will also have wealth.
  3. An animal rubs its itching flank against a tree, a man asks his kinsman to scratch him.
  4. A child cannot pay for his mother's milk.