Connection Between the Science of Fear & Things fall Apart (Essay Sample)
This set of questions will move us into the novel that we will connect with The Science of Fear: Things Fall Apart. This questions are meant to get you acclimated with the “feel” of Achebe’s novel and his characters since it is a foreign kind of story-telling to most Western readers.
Your responses to each of the questions should be at least 75 words long.
1. Part of understanding most stories is learning about the context surrounding the story: who wrote it, when was it written, why was it written, etc. Since Things Fall Apart involves a native culture very different from our own, it is that much more important that you have some context before and while you read the story. The first task is a little bit of research on the novel’s context. I have divided the class in half; each group of people will have three topics to research. To answer this first question, let everyone know what you found out about your assigned topics. If you directly quote material from a source, make sure to put the words in quotation marks. Also, let us know the sources you used to get your information.
You are responsible for looking up what you can find on the Igbo culture, British colonialism (especially in Nigeria), and racial stereotypes of Africans in Western culture (literature, film, cartoons, etc.).
2. . What are Okonkwo’s strengths and weaknesses as of Chapter 8?
3. Throughout the novel Achebe describes Ibo customs and uses Ibo vocabulary with little to no explanation of the meaning. Why do you think he does this?
4. Choose two short quotations from chapters 1-8 and type them out. Then respond to them. What are your initial thoughts about these quotes? Do you have any questions about them?
Use this book as a main resource "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe.
The Science of Fear: Things Fall Apart
Igbo (Ibo) culture, British colonialism and stereotypes
The Igbo culture is largely patriarchal with the men allowed to marry more than one wife like in the case of Okonkwo the protagonist in Things Fall Apart. The Igbo emphasize cooperation especially when performing rites and rituals, with major decisions made by a council of elders. They also follow traditions passed down across generations, with emphasis on rites of passages from birth, marriage to funeral ceremonies. Additionally, the formalized interactions emphasize respect to the gods, ancestral sprits and fellow men. The Igbo believed in spirits both good and evil, where children were killed if they were thought to be associated with evil. Honor in the family is highly revered, and all the people need to understand their place and role in the society. There was a cultural clash between the Igbo and British colonialist. Colonialism was an extension of the Eurocentric view that the African culture was inferior to that of Europeans.
Okonkwo’s strengths and weakness
Okonkwo is a fierce wrestler who defeats the most feared wrestlers in Umuofia (Achebe 1). The protagonist will also stop at nothing to improve his family’s economic welfare, working from cock-crow in his farm (Achebe 10). Okonkwo seeks to be different from his lazy father, and he greatly supports the Igbo’s culture. As such, he exudes manliness by supporting the Igbo cultural aspects that are patriarchal. However, Okonkwo also has flaws as he greatly detests his father. Okonkwo is also a hot-tempered proud man prone to making rash decisions including resulting to violence, which is thought to be manly.
Achebe on Ibo customs and vocabulary
Chinua Achebe provides a narrative on the Igbo cultu...
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