Explain how Achebe portrays Okonkwo and for what purposes.
Reading: Things Fall Apart, chapters 1-6. If you are unable to secure a physical copy, here is a digital copy (much less preferred, though): Chinua Achebe – Things Fall Apart.epub
Purpose: To consider the political consequences of Achebe’s literary method in Things Fall Apart
Skills/knowledge practiced: Textual analysis; close reading; writing with citations; use of textual evidence; developing argument; analysis of narrative techniques; genre analysis; following proper MLA formatting guidelines; paraphrasing quotes
Submission instructions: Please submit your 300-350 word response as a Word doc on Blackboard (no paper copies will be accepted). Every submission should include at least one quote from the text.
Grades will be based on the completeness of your submission (including textual quotes + sufficient word count length) as well as proper grammar/spelling and the depth of your critical analysis. Four points total: 1 pt. for proper citation use; 1 pt. for sufficient length; 1 pt. for sufficient depth of content/engagement; 1 pt. for proper assignment formatting.
Assignments should be formatted as follows: 12 pt. font, 1-inch margins, double-spaced with header, page numbers, Times New Roman font, Word Count listed, Works Cited page on separate page, submitted as Microsoft Word or PDF. This may seem like a lot but it is the golden standard for document preparation, and if properly followed will make your writing immediately more consistent and easier to read. See the following for an example: MLA Citation Template and Example.pdf
Prompt: A 2013 New York Times article explains that Achebe’s schooling in Nigeria in the 1930s and 40s was based on a British model of education, which included a focus on studying British novels. This was in conflict with Achebe’s African identity because such books compel the reader to adopt the perspective of the heroic white individual: “I did not see myself as an African in those books,” explains Achebe, “I took sides with the white men against the savages. . . . The white man was good and reasonable and smart and courageous. The savages arrayed against him were sinister and stupid, never anything higher than cunning. I hated their guts.” Achebe eventually acknowledged the severe limitations of this perspective and started writing fiction from a more Afrocentric perspective.
For your writing assignment, explain how Achebe portrays Okonkwo and for what purposes. Is Okonkwo a character with whom the reader is meant to identify? If so, what is Achebe’s purpose in establishing parallels between Okonkwo and the reader? Alternatively, is Okonkwo a character the reader is meant to critique? If so, in what ways and why? How does your interpretation fit with the novel’s status as an important work of global literature?
Requirements: 300-350 words.
Image preview to explain how Achebe portrays Okonkwo and for what purposes.