African Literature




EOC Practice

"Telephone Conversation" by Wole Soyinka


Things Fall Apart

Online text of the book

Chapters 1 and 2

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 1
1. What claim to fame does Okonkwo earn at 18 years old?
2. When Okonkwo is angry and cannot speak because of his stutter, how does he get his point across?
3. Why doesn't Okonkwo have any patience with his father?
4.. When is the only time that Unoka is not haggard and mournful?
5. Why does Unoka's neighbor, Okoye, visit him?
6. While talking with Okoye about the war, Unoka changes the subject to which topic?
7. How does Unoka react when Okoye asks him to repay the two hundred cowries owed to him?
8. Why is Okonkwo considered one of the greatest men of his time?

Chapter 2
1. Hoaw are the men called to the marketplace?
2. What do the people of Umuofia fear in the night?
3. What does Okonkwo drink wine out of?
4. What is the emergency that the great orator announces at the meeting in the marketplace?
5. What ultimatum is dispatched to Mbaino as a consequence of the murder of the woman from Umuofia?
6. What does Mbaino give Okonkwo as an offering for the murder of the woman from Umuofia?
7. What are the things that Okonkwo fears most?
11. Why is Okonkwo's twelve-year-old son, Nwoye, causing him great anxiety?
12. What does the clan decide to do with Ikemefuna?


What does it mean to be a man?

Rules to Teach Your Son


Okonkwo has a rigid understanding of what it means to be a man. THis is in part due to overcompensating for his father's reputation. Unfortunately, Okonkwo's sense of honor is so tied to this, that he cannot adjust to a changing society.

Chapters 3 and 4

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 3
1. Under what circumstances will the people of Umuofia consult Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves?
2. When Okonkwo was a boy, his father, Unoka, consults Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills, about why his crops always fail. What reply did the Oracle give?
3. What is the shameful death Unoka endures?
4. What does Okonkwo bring with him to share with the wealthy Nwakibie and his family before asking for yam seeds and share cropping privileges?
5. Why does Nwakibie trust Okonkwo to farm his yam seeds?
6. What is the only way a young man can build a barn of his own if his father has no yams?
7. What are the crops that are considered women's crops by the people of Umuofia?
8. How does Okonkwo react to the disastrous growing season that destroys all his yams and the yams of his people?

Chapter 4
1. Why does Okonkwo insult Osugo at a meeting by calling him a woman?
2. How long is Ikemenfuna in Okonkwo's care?
3. How does Nwoye's mother treat Ikemenfuna?
4. Why does Okonkwo beat his second wife, Ojiugo, during the sacred Week of Peace?
5. What is Okonkwo's punishment for committing a "nso-ani" during the Week of Peace?
6. What does every man and his family do after the Week of Peace?
11. What are the women's duties after the yams are planted?
12. During the rainy season, how do the people of the village pass the time?



What are cowries?

They are shells used as money.

Chapters 5, 6, and 7

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 5
1. What is the festival that gives thanks to Ani, the earth goddess and source of fertility?
2. Why do men and women look forward to the Feast of the New Yam?
3.What drives Okonkwo into a rage on the first day of the festival, leading him to beat his second wife, Ekwefi, and almost kill her with a gun?
4. The first day of the New Year is celebrated with feasting and fellowship. What takes place on the second day of the New Year?
5. Ezinma tells her mother, Ekwefi, that her upper eyelid is twitching. What does Ekwefi tell Ezinma the significance of the twitch is?
6. Nwoye's mother calls Ezinma "Ezigbo" when she brings the fire to Nwoye's mother's hut. What does "Ezigbo" mean?
7. Obiageli, Nwoye's sister, comes home crying because her water pot is broken. How did her waterpot break?
8. Ezinma offers to bring Okonkwo's chair to the wrestling match for him. Why did he refuse his daughter's offer?

Chapter 6
1.Which of the spectators of the wrestling match are allowed to sit around the huge circle of the wrestling ring?
2. Why is the big, ancient silk-cotton tree in the playground considered sacred?
3. Who is the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves, in real life?
4. How many men are in each of the two teams of wrestlers who face each other in the wrestling ring?
5. Which men fight in the final wrestling match of the day?

Chapter 7
1. What hopes does Okonkwo have for his son, Nwoye’s, future?
2. Okonkwo is sitting in his obi with Ikemefuna and Nwoye, eating dried locusts when Ogbuefi Ezeudu comes with a message. What is the message?
3. After speaking with the elders of nine villages, what does Okonkwo tell Ikemefuna about what is going to happen to him?
4. What happens to Ikemefuna?
5. Who gives the final thrust of the machete?
6. What happens to twins born in Umuofia?




Chapters 8 and 9

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 8
1. How does Okonkwo act for two days after Ikemefuna's death?
2. Why does Okonkwo worry about his son, Nwoye?
3. What is the strange event that takes place in the village of Ire that Ofoedo tells Okonkwo and Obierika about?
4. What is the agreed upon bride-price for Akueke?

Chapter 9
1. Ekwefi awakes Okonkwo early in the morning pounding on his door. What is she anxious to tell him?
2. Nine out of ten of Ekwefi's children die in infancy. After the second death, Okonkwo goes to the medicine man to find out why this is happening. What explanation does the diviner give?
3. What does Okagbue, the medicine man, dig up from under the orange tree that makes the people of the village believe that Ezinma will live to adulthood?
4 . What does Okonkwo bring back from the bush while Ezinma lays sick in Ekwefi's hut?
5 . How does Ekwefi make the medicine she hopes would cure Ezinma?



Chapters 10 and 11

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 10
1. How can an observer tell if a communal ceremony is only for the men of the village?
2. Who are the two groups of people who stand facing the elders at the ceremonial trial?
3. As the drums sound and the flutes blast, what appears out of the egwugwu house?
4. What does the law state in Umuofia if a woman runs away from her husband?
5. What is the first trial's dispute set before Evil Forest and the egwugwu?
6. What is the decision of the egwugwu after hearing the case for Mgbafo's family against Uzowulu?

Chapter 11
1. One night, the storytelling of Okonkwo's wives and children stops because the priestess, Chielo is shouting in a highpitched voice. What does she tell Okonkwo?
2. What does Ekwefi do after Chielo carries Ezinma away on her back?
3. Where does Chielo bring Ezinma?
4. Who appears in front of Ekwefi as she waits tearfully outside Agbala's cave?


Chapters 12 and 13

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 12
1. Okonkwo's friend, Obierika, is celebrating his daughter's uri. Why does this day put the entire neighborhood into a festive air?
2. What does the priestess do when she brings Ezinma out of Agbala's cave?
3. Why do all the women abandon preparing the food for the uri and rush off to the Obierika's crop field?
4. What are the traditional events when night falls and it is time to end Obierika's daughter's uri?

Chapter 13
1. What does the ekwe, a hollowed out wooden instrument and the blast of the cannon signify to the nine villages of Umuofia?
2. What is the name of the man that the ekwe announces to Umuofia?
3. Why can Ezeudu, the oldest man in his village, only be buried at night?
4. What is the tragedy that takes place during the final burial rites for Ezeudu while the cannon is shot and guns fired?
5. What is Okonkwo's punishment for killing Ezeudu's son?


Chapters 14, 15, and 16

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 14
1. Where does Okonkwo bring his family after being banished from his village?
2. What does Uchendu, the younger brother of Okonkwo's mother, give to Okonkwo after he comes looking for refuge?
3. What is the final ceremony, Amikwu, Uchendu's youngest son, has to perform before getting married?
4. Why do the people say "Mother is Supreme" when the man is the head of the family and his wives and children are obedient to him?
5. What does Uchendu tell Okonkwo his duty was?

Chapter 15
1. What does Obierika bring for Okonkwo two years after Okonkwo had been exiled?
2. What does the Abame clan do to the first white man that comes to their village?
3. What news does Obierika bring to Okonkwo and Uchendu about the Abame clan?
4. Why does Uchendu say, "Never kill a man who says nothing" when Obierika tells them about the white man the Abame killed?
5. Who says that the Abame were fools and had been warned of danger, and that they should have brought guns and machetes with them to the market?
6. Where does Obierika get the bags of cowries that he brings to Okonkwo?

Chapter 16
1. What happens in Umuofia the next time Obierika comes to visit Okonkwo, two years later?
2. What type of clan members joins the white man's religion?
3. Why does Obierika go to visit Okonkwo a second time, two years after the first?
4. How many missionaries go to Mbanta?
5. What do the missionaries tell the Mbanta people about their gods?
6. Who is captivated by the message of the missionaries?


Chapter 14 marks the PART 2 portion of the book. Things change from here on out.



Chapters 17, 18, and 19

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 17
1. When the missionaries ask the rulers of Mbanta for land to build their church, what do the rulers give them?
2. What do the people of Mbanta expect to happen to the missionaries when they start building their church?
3. What is the name of the first woman to join the Christian missionaries?
4. What does Nwoye do after his father, Okonkwo, beats him for being with the missionaries?
5. What is Okonkwo afraid will happen to his male children after he dies?
6. What is Okonkwo's popular nickname?

Chapter 18
1. What is the other thing that the white man brought to Umuofia besides religion?
2. What is an osu?
3. What is the first thing Mr. Kiaga orders the outcasts to do if they want to remain in the new religion?
4. What do the rulers and elders of Mbanta decide to do about the Christians after one of the converts kills the Sacred Python?
5. What happens to the Christian women who go to the stream for water to wash the church with?
6. What event occurs that convinces the clan that the gods can fight their own battles?

Chapter 19
1. What does Okonkwo send to Obierika as he enters his final year of exile?
2. How is Okonkwo going to thank his mother's people for helping him during his seven years in exile?
3. How do Ekwefi and Ezinma harvest the cassava for the feast?
4. What does Okonkwo serve at the feast for all the umunna, the descendants of Okolo?
5. What does the oldest member of the clan say is the reason for gathering for Okonkwo's feast?
6. Why do the elders fear for the young people of the village?

Chapters 20 and 21

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 20
1. What is the first thing Okonkwo plans to do when he returns to his clan?
2. What does Okonkwo hope his sons will be initiated into when his family returns from exile?
3. What is the nickname of kotma, the court messengers who guard the prison which holds people who break the white man's law?
4. Why does Obierika tell Okonkwo that it is too late to fight the white man and drive him from the land?
5. When Aneto kills Oduche over a land dispute, what does the white man's government decide?

Chapter 21
1. Who is the white missionary that makes friends with great men of the clan and is presented with a carved elephant tusk?
2. What is the name of the god that the people of Umuofia believe is the creator of the all the world and the other gods?
3. What does Mr. Brown build in Umuofia?
4. How does Mr. Brown encourage the people to attend school?
5. What is Nwoye's name changed to after he joins the Christians?
6. What does Okonkwo mourn when he returns to his clan?


Chapter 20 marks the PART 3 (and final part) of this story

Chapters 22 and 23

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 22
1. Who is the missionary that replaces Mr. Brown in Umuofia?
2. What does Mr. Smith tell the people about ogbanje, the evil children who are born over and over again to plague their mothers?
3. Who touches off the conflict between church and clan in Umuofia that has been building since Mr. Brown left?
4. What does Enoch do that is one of the greatest crimes a man can commit during the annual ceremony?
5. What does the angry band of egwugwu do to Enoch's compound and the Christian church as revenge for unmasking one of the ancestral spirits?
6. What option does Ajofia, the leading egwugwu, give to Mr. Smith when they come to the church?

Chapter 23
1. What does the District Commissioner do three days after the destruction of the church?
2. What happens to the six leaders of Umuofia during their meeting with the District Commissioner?
3. What punishment does the District Commissioner give the six leaders of Umuofia?
4. How are the six leaders of Umuofia treated while in captivity?
5. How many cowries do the court messengers ask the people for as payment to release their leaders?
6. Why do the men of Umuofia meet in the marketplace after the village crier beats the message on the ogene?



Extra Credit Meme Challenge

Create (don't just find one online) a clever meme dealing with some aspect of Things Fall Apart. Send it to me.

Worth? 1 test point. If it makes me laugh - 3 test points. If I think it is so good that it should be immortalized on this web page - 5 test points.

Can you do more than one? Yes. Limit 5 test points.


Chapters 24 and 25

Questions you can use to gauge your reading understanding:

Chapter 24
1. What happens to the six leaders of Umuofia once the fine is paid to the District Commissioner?
2. What does Okonkwo vow to do after being released from the white man's prison?
3. What does Okonkwo feel the greatest obstacle to going to war against the white man is?
4. When the village meeting is called after the six leaders are released from the white man's prison, what does Okika say the clan should do?
5. What does Okika suggest they do that their fathers had never done before?
6. What does Okonkwo do when the court messengers come to the meeting, telling the clan to stop?

Chapter 25
1. What does the District Commissioner find when he goes to Okonkwo's compound?
2. What does the group of men ask the District Commissioner for?
3. What does the District Commissioner see when Obierika and five or six others lead them to a small bush behind
Okonkwo's compound?
4. Why do Obierika and the other clan members need help getting Okonkwo's body down from the tree?
5. Who can bury the body of a clan member who commits suicide?
6. What does Obierika yell to the District Commissioner after Okonkwo's body is taken down?



Test Review

The questions for the above chapter readings are taken and adapted from this study guide. Feel free to check for the questions I did not present here to see if you can answer them.




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