Vocabulary Exercises: Things Fall Apart, Cycle 1



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Vocabulary Exercises: Things Fall Apart, Cycle 1
Words to Own— Start studying them!


*meager (adj.) (22) barely adequate; deficient in amount, quality, or extent

*improvident (adj.) careless, wasteful

*brusqueness (n.) (26) an abrupt, discourteous manner

*capricious (adj.) unpredictable, changing

*interim (n.) the time between two events

*emissary (n.) (53) agent sent on mission to represent interests of another

abomination (n.) (31) action that causes disgust or abhorrence

*rebuke (v.) (54) reprimand; scold; express criticism

*benevolent (adj.) (26) doing or producing good

communal (adj.) (87) of or relating to a community

*arduous (adj.) (34) strenuous; demanding great labor or effort

*pandemonium (n.) (89) wild uproar or noise

*poignant (adj.) (34) profoundly moving; touching (to the heart)

*approbation (n.) (91) warm approval; praise

clambered (v.) (39) scrambled

trifle (n.) (94) small amount; something of little importance

*revel (v.) (38) take great pleasure or delight

*wily (adj.) (53) clever; tricky

*taut (adj.) (48) pulled or drawn tight; not slack

*malevolent (adj) wishing harm to others; malicious


Essential Questions – These questions are not homework, but we will discuss in class.

  • To what extent is Things Fall Apart successful in communicating an alternative narrative to the dominant Western history of missionaries in Africa and other colonized societies?

  • How are historical events portrayed in fiction?

  • How are all narratives culturally positioned (Afrocentric v. Eurocentric)?

  • What role does ritual and tradition play in a community?

  • What is a community?

  • In what ways are all societies similar?


LITERARY DEFINITIONS

proverb – a common saying meant to explain human behavior or give advice, ex. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

mood – the emotion a piece of writing creates in the reader, often created by imagery

foreshadowing – clues in the novel of something to come, can be obvious or very subtle

juxtaposition – when two contrasting images, characters, or ideas are put next to each other in a work, ex. Shooting the climax of a scary movie in the middle of a joyful festival.
Getting Things Straight (1-6 is hmwk for Monday, May 3)

Ch. 1 – This is your homework.

1. Fill in the blank boxes:






Physical

Treatment of Others

Work Ethic

Okonkwo









Unoka










Ch. 2

2. How do we know that Okonkwo is a fearless fighter for his people?


3. What steps does the village take before it declares war on another village?
4. What is Okonkwo most afraid of?
Ch. 3

5. Why was Okonkwo’s road to success particularly difficult?


6. Give some examples of how important politeness is to people in the village.
Ch. 4

7. Once Ikemefuna got over his fear, how was his life in Okonkwo’s household?


8. Why does Umoufia celebrate a week of peace?
9. Why do Okonkwo’s neighbors believe that he isn’t really sorry about the blasphemy he committed?
10. Describe life during the rainy season.
11. Describe the relationship between Ikemefuna and Nwoye.
Ch. 5

1. What event in your own life seems similar to the New Yam Festival? How is it similar?


2. In your own words, describe how Okonkwo’s different wives relate to each other.
3. What incident in this chapter makes clear that Okonokwo’s children respect Ikemefuna?
Ch. 6

4. What do Ekwefi and Chielo mean when they say that they hope Ezinmna (Ekwefi’s daughter) will “stay”?


5. How can you tell that news travels fast in the village? Give two examples from the chapter.
Ch. 7

6. What simile is used to describe Ikemefuna’s growth spurt?


7. What conflict is Nwoye experiencing in the beginning of chapter seven?
8. Why does Ogbuefi Ezeudu visit Okonkwo?
9. What two incidents make “something give way inside” Nwoye?
Ch. 8

1. Describe how Okonkwo feels about Ezinma, his daughter.


2. Explain the question Okonkwo is asking: “‘Where are the young suckers that will grow when the old banana tree dies?’”
3. Why doesn’t Okonkwo think of Ndulue as a strong man?
4. What do the last few paragraphs of the chapter foreshadow?
Ch. 9

5. What is different about Okonkwo’s relationship with Ekwefi versus his other two wives?


6. According to the medicine man, why did Ekwefi’s children keep dying?
7. What is the iyi-uwa?
Ch. 10

8. Who are the egwugwu, and why are they important to the villages?


9. How do the villagers show respect for the egwugwu?
Delving In

Chapters 1-4

1. Mood is the emotion writing is meant to evoke. Sometimes, a particular mood can foreshadow an event in a novel. What mood is created by the moonless night at the beginning of Chapter 2? What event does the mood foreshadow?

2. How do Okonkwo’s fears affect his relationship with his son, Nwoye?

3. Explain one of the proverbs mentioned in chapter 3.

4. Why do you think Okonkwo is so stern with the man at the beginning of chapter 4?

5. What is more important to Okonkwo – his feeling of success and importance or the rules of his village? Why do you think so?


Chapters 5-8

1. Okonkwo is a complicated character. Based on what you’ve read in these chapters, what things are most important to him in life? What conflicts arise because of his priorities?

2. Although it is supposed to be a secret, everyone seems to know what will happen to Ikemefuna. How can you tell that everyone knows?

3. This chapter juxtaposes two very different moods. What are the two moods? Why do you think Achebe put them in the same chapter?

4. Make a prediction about how Ikemefuna’s death will affect Nwoye. Use information from the book to support your prediction.


  1. Reread Okonkwo and Obierika’s argument at the beginning of Chapter Eight. What does this argument reveal to us about Okonkwo’s character.

  2. People often do not realize how diverse and complex a place Africa is. How does Achebe show that diversity in Chapter Eight?


Chapters 9-11

  1. What makes Ekwefi and Ezinma’s relationship different from how you’d expect relationships between mothers and children to be? Why is it different

  2. Several different stories are told in these chapters. What types of lessons are being taught to children through the stories? Give at least two examples.

  3. At the beginning of Chapter 10, the narrator says that no one know what goes on in the egwugwu house. When this book was written, anthropologists had probably studied and found what went on within the egwugwu cults. Why doesn’t Achebe go ahead and take us inside the egwugwu house?


Overall

1. To what extent is Things Fall Apart successful in communicating an alternative narrative to the dominant Western history of missionaries in Africa and other colonized societies?



2. Why do you think Achebe chose to start the story by describing the wrestling match between Okonkwo and Amalinze?
Academic Challenge – Answer in a paragraph or two.

  1. Okonkwo’s demanding, serious personality exists in every culture all over the world. If a person in New Orleans had Okonkwo’s personality, describe what their life would be like. What would they do for a living? Where would they live? What hobbies would they have? What would their family be like?

  2. Proverbs are important in both Ibo and American culture. Think about the proverb “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Does this describe Okonkwo well? Why or why not?
    The use of dialect in the novel is not meant to make the characters seem ignorant. When we first meet the people of Eatonville, the narrator describes, “They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgement” (1). The narrator is explaining how seriously the people take their speech, even if it is not standard English.

    The use of dialect in the novel is not meant to make the characters seem ignorant. When we first meet the people of Eatonville, the narrator describes, “They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgement” (1). The narrator is explaining how seriously the people take their speech, even if it is not standard English.



Vocabulary Exercises—Cycle 2, Things Fall Apart


Literary Road Map: Things Fall Apart, Cycle 2
Words to Own—You need to know and write sentences for only the *starred* words (unless I personally spoke with you about learning all the words).

*impenetrable (adj.) solid, dense, cannot be penetrated

*prophesy (v.) to tell the future or to speak for gods

*eloquent (adj.) describes clear and intelligent speech

sediment (n.) the residue or remains after a flood

*gravely (adv.) badly, seriously

*infuriating (adj.) maddening, causing incredible anger

*voluble (adj.) talkative

expedient (adj.) convenient, practical, useful

mirthless (adj.) without humor or joy

*requisite (adj.) required, necessary

coiffure (n.) combed hairstyle

*excrement (n.) poop, pee

rollicking (adj.) exciting, fun, playful

callow (adj.) immature, youthful, naïve

*prevail (v.) to win, to overcome

*abominable (adj.) horrible, vile, repulsive

*resilient (adj.) tough, strong, flexible

buoyant (adj.) cheerful, lighthearted

*desecrate (v.) to violate or destroy something holy

*astray (adj.) away from the correct path

*superfluous (adj.) unnecessary





Essential Questions

  • To what extent is Things Fall Apart successful in communicating an alternative narrative to the dominant Western history of missionaries in Africa and other colonized societies?

  • How are historical events portrayed in fiction?

  • How are all narratives culturally positioned (Afrocentric v. Eurocentric)?

  • What role does ritual and tradition play in a community?

  • What is a community?

  • In what ways are all societies similar?

LITERARY DEFINITIONS



Situational irony – when something happens that is the opposite of what is expected to happen.

juxtaposition – when two contrasting images, characters, or ideas are put next to each other in a work, ex. Shooting the climax of a scary movie in the middle of a joyful festival.
Getting Things Straight

FRIDAY HW: Ch. 11 (p. 95)

  1. What do the women and children do on the pitch black nights?




  1. What value does the story of the tortoise and the birds teach?




  1. How are Agbala’s messages carried to the people?




  1. The end of this chapter is an example of situational irony. Why is it ironic?


Ch. 12 (p. 110)

  1. How does Okonkwo protect his pride when Ezinma is taken?




  1. Describe the celebration in this chapter.


Ch. 13 (p. 120)

  1. What is the ekwe’s purpose?




  1. The funeral sounds like complete chaos at first. What signs are there that it is a controlled chaos?




  1. Why does the village cleanse itself after Okonkwo’s crime?


Part TWO

HW: Ch. 14 (p. 129)

  1. Why is life in the new village so difficult for Okonkwo?




  1. What do the Ibo (Okonkwo’s tribe) mean when they say “fatherland” and “motherland”?


Ch. 15 (p. 136)

  1. Does Uchendu remind you of anyone in your own life? Who and why?




  1. What stories had Obierika heard of the white men before they ever came to Abame? (pg. 140-141)


Ch. 16 (p. 143)

  1. What type of people from the clan are the first to convert to Christianity?




  1. What do the missionaries say and do that leads the people of Mbanta to doubt them?




  1. Why is Nwoye attracted by the missionaries?


HW: Ch. 17 (p. 148)

  1. The village leaders give the missionaries the Evil Forest in order to get rid of them. How does this plan backfire?




  1. Why does Nneka join the church?




  1. What terrifies Okonkwo about Nwoye and the rest of his sons converting to Christianity?


Ch. 18 (p. 154)

  1. Write a two sentence summary of the chapter.


Ch. 19 (p. 162)

  1. Give 2 examples from this chapter that show the importance of family.



PART THREE

HW: Ch. 20 (p. 171)

  1. How does Okonkwo plan to regain his position in Umuofia?




  1. What role do Ezinma and Obiageli play in helping Okonkwo return to a position of power?




  1. If there are only two white men in Umoufia, why can’t they be driven out?




  1. How does Nnama win in the new court?


Ch. 21 (p. 178)

  1. Even if some people are against Christianity, what changes did they agree with?




  1. What makes Mr. Brown respected by the clanspeople?


Ch. 22

  1. How is the Reverend James Smith different from Mr. Brown?




  1. What types of people appreciate Reverend Smith?


THURSDAY HW: Ch. 23

  1. Write a two sentence summary of this chapter.


Ch. 24

  1. How many people died in the greatest war Okonkwo ever fought?




  1. In Okika’s speech, what is he trying to communicate about change and traditions?


Ch. 25

  1. What’s up with the last paragraph? What is Achebe doing?
    The use of dialect in the novel is not meant to make the characters seem ignorant. When we first meet the people of Eatonville, the narrator describes, “They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgement” (1). The narrator is explaining how seriously the people take their speech, even if it is not standard English.

    The use of dialect in the novel is not meant to make the characters seem ignorant. When we first meet the people of Eatonville, the narrator describes, “They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgement” (1). The narrator is explaining how seriously the people take their speech, even if it is not standard English.




Subjects/Topics

Predicted Themes (+Evidence)

1. Tolerance / Diversity of customs, traditions, and beliefs

1. Customs, traditions, and beliefs that may be bad for our own society could be good for another.

2. Pride



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