1. Describe Okonkwo, the protagonist of “Things Fall Apart.” How does he work to achieve greatness as defined by his culture?
2. Describe Unoka, Okonkwo’s father. What are Okonkwo’s feelings toward Unoka, and why? How does his father shape Okonkwo’s character and actions?
3. Describe the setting (time, place, culture) of the novel. How is social life organized?
4. What do we learn from the kola ceremony of hospitality? Note how Achebe introduces—but does not fully explain–Igbo customs, rituals, and ceremonies in the novel. Think about why Achebe chooses to do this, considering that he wrote for an international non-African audience as well as his own peoples.
5. What are the important crops? How does sharecropping work? What are the male and female designated crops? What is the relationship of women to agriculture?
6. What roles does Chielo play in the village?
7. How has Nwoye begun to “act like a man”? What values does Okonkwo associate with manliness? How does Nwoye relate to these values?
8. Why is Okonkwo asked not to take part in the killing of Ikemefuna? Why do you suppose they have decided to kill the boy? Why do you think Achebe does not translate the song that Ikemefuna remembers as he walks along?
9. How is the notion of white men first introduced into the story? Why might Africans suppose that they have no toes?
10. Why does Ekwefi prize her daughter Ezinma so highly? What attitudes toward children does the ogbanje reflect? Does Achebe seem to validate the belief in ogbanje?
Which African words and concepts does he translate into English, and which are left for the reader to understand through their use and context in the text? Why do you think Achebe chose to keep these words in their original language?
2. Is Okonkwo a good father and provider?
3. How do you think Okonkwo’s son Nwoye will grow up?