Things Fall Apart: IntroductionChange is a part of life.But when drastic changes transform the worldyou know—how do you deal with them?
Things Fall Apart: IntroductionOkonkwo is a member of the Ibo people in theAfrican country of Nigeria in the late 1800s. Okonkwo is a wealthy farmer and is well respected in his clan.
Things Fall Apart: IntroductionOkonkwo has a big family that follows the traditionsof the Ibo people. He has three wives; a son, Nwoye; and two daughters, Obiageli and Ezinma. He also cares for a young boy, Ikemefuma, who has been brought to the village as a hostage.
Things Fall Apart: IntroductionOkonkwo believes in the Ibo traditions. He values strength and hard work and looks down on gentleness and compassion.Okonkwo will do anything to be different from hisfather, who was considered weak and died indisgrace.
Things Fall Apart: IntroductionBut Okonkwo’s desire to succeed andto stamp out weakness leads him tocommit many violent acts… some ofwhich bring him into conflict with hisclan.
Things Fall Apart: IntroductionOne day a senseless act changes his life. He and hisfamily are sent away from the village.
Things Fall Apart: IntroductionWhile Okonkwo and his family are away, changesbegin to take place in their village.Christian missionariesarrive—determined tochange the Ibo way of life.
Things Fall Apart: IntroductionAfter seven years, Okonkwo and his family returnhome. What changes will he find in the village? Will Okonkwo be able to adjust to a world that has fallen apart?
Things Fall Apart: BackgroundThings Fall Apart is set during a period of Britishcolonial rule of Nigeria in the late 1800s. Nigeria became a British colony in 1886.
Things Fall Apart: BackgroundChristian missionaries arrived in Nigeria inthe mid-1800s, and by the end of thecentury had begun a strong conversioncampaign. They wanted the African peopleto embrace Christianity.
Things Fall Apart: BackgroundTraditional Ibo religion was based on an earthgoddess and a creator god. Other deities andspirits were also honored. Animals were used as sacrifices in religious ceremonies.
Things Fall Apart: BackgroundThe Ibo were subsistence farmers,crops meansIn Ibo culture, women grew food whichthey grew crops to survive.Men grew the important yam crop. Women grewother crops.
Things Fall Apart: BackgroundAn Ibo village was part of a clan network made upof about five thousand people that were• led by a council of men that made decisions democratically • shared a common market and meeting place
Things Fall Apart: Discussion StartersDiscuss (1)Okonkwo believes that strength and toughnessare more important than compassion andgentleness.• In what circumstances might this attitude helpa person succeed?• When could it cause problems?
Things Fall Apart: Discussion StartersDiscuss (2) The European missionaries want the Ibo to change their way of life.• Why do some people want to impose their culture on another?• Can one culture judge another by its own standards?• When do you think it’s acceptable to encourage a group of people to change their way of life? When is it not acceptable?