I strongly suggest that you read this twice daily
1. Why was Okonkwo famous?
He was a well known, successful wrestler when he was young. As an adult, he was a wealthy
farmer and strong warrior.
2. Describe Unoka.
He was Okonkwo’s father. He was lazy and improvident. He constantly borrowed money
that he didn’t repay.
3. Why had the men of Umuofia called a meeting?
The men of Mbaino, a neighboring village, had murdered a woman of Umuofia, and the men
4. Where does the story take place?
It takes place in the village of Umuofia, in Africa.
5. What influence did the oracle have on decisions made in Umuofia?
The men didn’t go to war unless the reason was accepted by the oracle.
6. What were Okonkwo’s greatest fear and greatest passion?
He was afraid that he would resemble his father. His greatest passion was to hate everything
his father loved.
7. What upset Okonkwo most about his son, Nwoye?
Nwoye was lazy, not ambitious.
8. What did Okonkwo bring home from his trip to Mbaino?
He brought home a boy from the village. His name was Ikemefuna.
9. How did Okonkwo begin his prosperous career?
He took gifts to a wealthy man in the village and asked him for some yam seeds.
10. How did Ikemefuna react to living with Okonkwo’s family?
At fist he tried to run away, and refused to eat. The family treated him well and he began to\
get used to living with them.
11. What unheard of thing did Okonkwo do during the Week of Peace?
He beat his second wife.
Short Answer Study Questions-Things Fall Apart, p. 5
12. How did the people view yams?
Yams stood for manliness, and one who could feed his family on yams all year was a great man.
1. Describe the Feast of the New Yam.
The Feast of the New Yam was held yearly before the harvest. It honored the earth goddess,
Ani, and the ancestral spirits of the clan. New yams were offered to these powers. The old
yams of the previous year were disposed of. All cooking and serving utensils were washed.
Yam foo-foo and vegetable soup were the main ceremonial dishes.
2. Who was Okonkwo’s favorite child, and what did he often say about the child?
His favorite child was Ezinma, daughter of Ekwefi. He often said it was a shame she wasn’t
3. What unacceptable thing did Okonkwo do just before the Feast of the New Yam?
He beat his second wife, Ekwefi, then fired his gun at her.
4. Who was Chielo, and why was she important?
She was the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves.
5. What sport did the villagers enjoy watching during their feasting?
They enjoyed watching the young men of the village wrestle.
6. What influence did Ikemefuna have on Nwoye?
Ikemefuna acted as an elder brother. He made Nwoye feel grown up. Nwoye began acting
more like a man.
7. How did Okonkwo feel about Ikemefuna’s influence on Nwoye?
He was inwardly pleased, although he would not show it. He did, however, invite the boys
to sit with him and told them stories of the land.
8. How did the villagers feel about the coming of the locusts, and what did they do about it?
They were delighted to have the locusts. They caught as many a possible, roasted them, and
ate them as a delicacy.
9. What did the village decide to do with Ikemefuna?
The oracle decided that the villagers should kill him.
Short Answer Study Questions-Things Fall Apart, p. 6
10. Who struck the last blow to Ikemefuna, and why?
Okonkwo did, because he was afraid of being thought weak.
1. What did Okonkwo do whenever he thought of his father’s weakness and failure?
He thought of his own strength and success.
2. What did Okonkwo tell himself about his part in Ikemefuna’s death?
He said he was becoming a woman. A man who had killed five men in battle should not fall
to pieces over the death of a boy.
3. What did Obierika tell Okonkwo about his part in Ikemefuna’s death?
Obierika said it was the kind of action that would not please the Earth; that the goddess
would wipe out an entire family for such an action.
4. Describe the meeting to determine Obierika’s daughter’s bride price.
The suitor, Ibe, his father, Ukegbu, and uncle met with Obierika, his brothers, his son, and
Okonkwo. They ate kola nuts and drank palm wine. Then Obierika gave Ukegbu a bundle
of thirty short broomsticks. Ukegbu and his clan took the sticks outside. When they returned
they gave a bundle of fifteen sticks to Obierika. He added ten more sticks and gave the bundle
back. The two groups finally agreed at a bride-price of twenty bags of cowries.
5. The men began discussing rumors about white men. Who did they think the white men were?
The polite word for leprosy was “the white skin.” The men in the hut thought the white men
6. Describe the relationship between Ekwefi and Ezinma.
It was more like the companionship of equals, rather than that of mother and daughter.
7. Describe Ekwefi’s difficulties in getting pregnant.
She had borne ten children, but nine of them had died in infancy. She began giving them
names like “Death, I implore you” and “May it not happen again.”
8. What did the medicine man tell Okonkwo after the death of Ekwefi’s second child?
He said there was an ogbanje, a wicked child who, when it died, re-entered its mother’s
womb to be born again. He said Ekwefi should go and stay with her people when she became
Short Answer Study Questions-Things Fall Apart, p. 7
9. Describe the burial of Ekwefi’s third child, and the reason for it.
The medicine man ordered that there be no mourning or funeral. He mutilated the dead child
and buried it in the Evil forest. He said this would make the ogbanje think about coming
10. Explain the significance of Ezinma’s iyi-uwa.
This was a special kind of stone that formed the link between an ogbanje and the spirit world.
If it were discovered, then the child would not die. When Okagbue found Ezinma’s iyi-uwa,
the people knew Ezinma’s troubles were over.
Chapters 8-10 continued
11. How did Okonkwo cure Ezinma’s iba illness?
He brewed a potion made of leaves and herbs, then put her over the steam.
12. What was the purpose of the ceremony described in Chapter 10?
A woman’s birth family was having a dispute with her husband because he was mistreating
her. The only decision the man would accept in the case was that of the symbolic meeting
of the clan spirits.
1. What did Chielo want with Ezinma?
Chielo wanted to take Ezinma to see Agbala.
2. What did Ekwefi do?
She followed Chielo and Ezinma to the cave of Agbala.
3. What did Okonkwo do when Chielo took Ezinma?
He followed her, too, with his machete.
4. What was the purpose of the uri ceremony?
The family of the suitor was bringing palm-wine to Obierika and his extensive group of
5. What was the significance in the amount of wine the family brought?
They were thought to be behaving like men if they brought a generous amount.
6. What happened at the end of the ceremony?
The bride-to-be went to live with her suitor’s family for seven market weeks.
Short Answer Study Questions-Things Fall Apart, p. 8
7. Describe Ezeudu’s funeral.
He was the clan elder, so there was a great ceremony. There was a lot of shouting, drum
beating, and firing of guns.
8. How did the author describe a man’s life?
A man’s life was a series of transition rites which brought him closer to death and his
9. What happened during the frenzy?
Okonkwo accidentally shot a boy.
10. What was the result of Okonkwo’s action?
He and his family were forced to leave the clan for seven years. The men from Ezeudu’s
quarter demolished Okonkwo’s houses and barn, and killed his animals.
11. What was the reason for the clan’s actions against Okonkwo?
They were cleansing the land which Okonkwo had polluted. It was not revenge.
12. What did Obierika think about after this calamity, and what was his conclusion?
He wondered why a man should suffer because of an inadvertent mistake. He also wondered
why he had to throw away his wife’s twins when they were born. He concluded that the clan
had to punish offenses so that the Earth would not loose her wrath on all the land, instead of
just on the offender.