- 1. Many scholars claim that much of the novel’s success lies in its objective tone. They claim the narrator does not favor either the European or Igbo people. Did you find the narration objective or subjective? If subjective, who is favored? If objective, how are the portraits balanced or fair? Support your view with references to the text.
- 2. In Part II, Okonkwo is exiled to his motherland. How is Mbanta different from Umuofia? What is significant about his return to his motherland? How does this change affect Okonkwo’s identity?
- 3. Compare the philosophy of Mr. Brown’s missions to that of Rev. James Smith’s. What conclusions can you draw about the two men’s methods for bringing Christianity to the Igbo? How accurate is the depiction of European missionaries? Consider that Achebe’s father was a missionary and Achebe had direct experience with Christians interacting with the Igbo.
- 4. After reading “The Second Coming” by Yeats, see what parallels can you draw between the poem and the novel. How do Yeats and Achebe account for the decline of society or culture? Yeats pointed out that societies don’t fall due solely to external pressures; some tensions and pressures must exist within the society first. What tensions existed within the Igbo society before the missionaries arrived? How do values within the culture clash with those of the newly arrived Europeans?
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