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Things Fall Apart
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Suggested Essay Topics
1. Think about the role of weather in the novel. How does it work, symbolically or otherwise, in relation to important elements of the novel such as religion? Are rain and draught significant? Explore the ways in which weather affects the emotional and spiritual realms of the novel as well as the physical world.
2. Women suffer great losses in this novel but also, in certain circumstances, hold tremendous power. What role do women play in Okonkwo’s life? Is there any difference between his interaction with specific women and his understanding of women and femininity in general?
3. Animal imagery abounds in the folktales and proverbs circulated among the clan members. What is the significance of some of the animals they discuss? What does the prominence of animal figures suggest about Igbo culture and about Achebe’s larger goals?
4. In what ways does the idea of progress shape the novel? If Unoka, Okonkwo, and Nwoye are symbolic of three successive generations, how does society in Umuofia change over the course of their lifetimes? Where does Ikemefuna fit into this picture?
5. Throughout the novel, drums, music, and the town crier’s voice punctuate the narrative at key moments. When does silence occur and what does it mean? Is there more than one type of silence? Can silence be characterized as a positive or negative occurrence? What are the implications of the fact that Unoka takes his flute with him to the Evil Forest when he dies?
Things Fall Apart SparkNotes Literature Guide
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Full book analysis summary, character list characters, okonkwo characters, themes literary devices, pride quotes, full book quiz quick quizzes, mini essays essays, take a study break.
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10 Smart Topics for Your Things Fall Apart Analysis
Sometimes you read a book that—whether you love it or hate it—is unlike any other you’ve read before. Things Fall Apart is one of those types of books.
Written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe , Things Fall Apart shows readers a view of Africa that’s different from the white-authored colonial-type stories like Heart of Darkness .
Instead of viewing Africans as exotic or viewing Africa as a continent to be explored and conquered, this book makes the characters and the settings feel real and familiar.
But it’s precisely because this book is so different that it’s difficult to choose a topic for your Things Fall Apart analysis.
But don’t worry—there are plenty of great topics that can come out of the literature. The following are just a few. You can use them for your analysis or as inspiration to come up with your own topic.
Write About Story Structure for Your Things Fall Apart Analysis
Topic #1: compare and contrast the standard story structure with that of things fall apart.
Besides the portrayal of the characters and the settings, what makes Things Fall Apart so unique is its structure.
It’s a narrative view of the plight of Okonkwo (the protagonist). There’s no goal in mind, and the story doesn’t follow the structure we all learn early on in school—exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, moment of final suspense, and resolution.
Instead, it’s much looser in its structure, which makes it feel more sincere to many readers.
Need help with comparing and contrasting the two? Check out these Kibin blog posts for some guidance:
- How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
- How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement
- Compare and Contrast Essay Tips from a Kibin Editor
Explore a Theme in Your Essay
Topic #2: discuss the theme of tradition versus change in the novel.
Change is what pushes any story forward. The tension it causes by disrupting the status quo allows characters to develop and allows a fuller, more nuanced story to develop. In Things Fall Apart , the tension between tradition and change is one of the major themes.
The community of Umuofia certainly has a traditional way of doing things at the beginning and through the middle of the book. Everything from leadership to gender roles, and spirituality to punishment is approached from a traditional viewpoint.
But change is imminent.
In your Things Fall Apart analysis, you can discuss how changes—such as Okonkwo’s exile, the introduction of the missionaries, and the change in leadership of the missionaries—serve to disrupt Umuofia’s traditions.
Topic #3: Describe how the theme of masculinity presents in different ways throughout the book
There are many references to masculinity throughout Things Fall Apart . Okonkwo knows that the clan did not view his father as masculine and sets out to be the exact opposite of him.
The clan views strength as a masculine quality, but Okonkwo takes it a step further—he views aggression as strength and, thus, as a masculine quality. He also sees the first converts to Christianity as unmasculine.
Topic #4: Explain how the colonial and African cultures within Things Fall Apart clash
As explained above, the missionaries are a main source of change in this book. This topic delves into the cultural differences between the missionaries (and the colonial West in general) and the Igbo culture represented in the story.
The laws—and punishments for breaking laws—are different. Their language is different. Their views of each other are different. In your essay, analyze these differences , explaining how they lead to friction.
Look for Symbols
Topic #6: Describe how fire serves as a symbol for Okonkwo’s emotions
Fire plays a major role in Things Fall Apart . It is closely tied to Okonkwo’s emotional state. Just as fire burns intensely, so too does Okonkwo’s anger. It spreads and becomes uncontrollable at times.
And just as fire consumes almost everything in its path, Okonkwo’s anger consumes him and eventually leads to his death.
Topic #7: Explain what the locusts symbolize
In Chapter 15, we get a pretty clear indication of what the locusts symbolize—Obierika mentions a comment from the Oracle that compares the locusts to the arrival of the white men.
It’s important to note that the locusts in Things Fall Apart don’t cause the mass panic that the Biblical plague of locusts does. Instead, they’re just a part of everyday life. In fact, Umuofia residents even eat the bugs, believing the bugs won’t cause any harm.
But locusts do cause harm, much like the missionaries they represent. At first viewed by Umuofia residents as just some harmless pest, the missionaries soon take over the village and destroy the Igbo culture.
Show You Know Your Characters
Topic #8: Explain what makes Okonkwo a tragic hero
A tragic hero is a protagonist who, despite some redeeming qualities, also has one or more major flaws that lead to the hero’s downfall—and that downfall is death in many cases.
Okonkwo possesses many of the traits of a tragic hero. He has hubris , or excessive pride. The story reverses the fate of Okonkwo, who was once well-respected in his community, then exiled and feared.
But most importantly, he possesses a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall—his fear of weakness. It’s the fear of weakness that leads him to kill Ikemefuna.
It’s that same fear that drives him to beat his wives and children, and to kill the British messenger. It’s this last action that ultimately leads to his suicide, but the fear of weakness behind the action is prevalent throughout the novel.
Topic #9: Compare and contrast Mr. Brown and Reverend James Smith
Both Mr. Brown and Reverend James Smith are missionaries and represent Western colonialism.
However, they each have different personalities and ways of approaching the Umuofia residents. Mr. Brown is kind, generous, and willing to learn about the culture and traditions of Umuofia.
Reverend Smith, on the other hand, is much harsher in his approach. He is completely intolerant of Igbo traditions and religion. He not only expects converts to have nothing to do with their old customs but also encourages them to be fanatical in their new beliefs.
Topic #10: Analyze the relationship between Nwoye, Ikemefuna, and Okonkwo
Nwoye doesn’t have the best relationship with his father. Nwoye wants to please Okonkwo, but doesn’t know how and receives many beatings for his failures. Ikemefuna comes along, and the two form a strong bond.
Ikemefuna teaches Nwoye how to be more traditionally masculine (without going overboard like Okonkwo), and it seems like Nwoye and his father have started to mend their relationship.
Okonkwo messes that all up by killing Ikemefuna. Nwoye mourns the loss of his friend and rebels against his father.
A Final Note on Your Things Fall Apart Analysis
Whether you go with one of the above topics or focus on other themes, symbols , imagery , or characters , make sure your literary analysis hits all the right points. Need help? Use these Kibin posts to help keep your Things Fall Apart essay on track:
- How to Write a Literary Analysis That Works
- Literary Analysis Essay Tips From a Kibin Editor
- 15 Literary Terms You Need to Know to Write Better Essays
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Whatever topic you choose, it’s important to make sure you have enough support for your argument . Don’t choose the topic that sounds the most complex or the smartest.
By doing that, you’re only making more work for yourself and probably ending up with a worse essay. Instead, choose a topic that you know you can write about and one that’s narrow enough .
If you need a little inspiration for how to approach your paper, take a look at these examples:
- A Literary Analysis of Women in Things Fall Apart
- The Fall of Umuofia in Things Fall Apart
- Chi: An Important Motif in Things Fall Apart
- Character Analysis of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart
- Irony in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
When you’ve written your essay, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. The Kibin editors are here to make sure your Things Fall Apart analysis meets all the assignment requirements and is free of spelling and grammar mistakes.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays .
About the Author
Eden Meirow is a full-time copywriter and part-time freelance writer. Along with her BS in marketing from Florida State University and MA in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University, she has spent the past 7 years learning how best to reach and teach people using the power of words. When she's not working, she's constantly trying to expand her creativity through music, writing, art, and animation.
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3. Sample Essay Topics
4. A+ Essay Topic Breakdown
Things Fall Apart is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
Things Fall Apart is set in a fictional group of Igbo villages called Umuofia, around the beginning of the twentieth century. The first half of the novel is dedicated to an almost anthropological depiction of Igbo village life and culture through following the life of the protagonist Okonkwo . Okonkwo is the greatest wrestler and warrior alive in the nine villages and beyond. He has dedicated his life to achieving status and proving his strength to avoid becoming like his father Unoka – a lazy, improvident, but gentle man. Weakness is Okonkwo’s greatest fear. After men in another village kill a woman from Umuofia, a boy named Ikemefuna is given to Umuofia as compensation and lives in Okonkwo’s compound until the Gods decide his fate. Ikemefuna quickly becomes part of Okonkwo’s family; he is like a brother to Okonkwo’s son Nwoye and is secretly loved by Okonkwo as well. Over the next three years, the novel follows Okonkwo’s family through harvest seasons, religious festivals, cultural rituals, and domestic disputes. Okonkwo is shown to be more aggressive than other Igbo men and is continually criticized and rebuked by the village for his violence and temper . When the Oracle of the Hills and Caves decides that Ikemefuna must be killed, Okonkwo is warned by a respected elder to have no hand in the boy’s death because Ikemefuna calls him ‘father’. However, afraid of being thought weak, when Ikemefuna runs to Okonkwo in hope of protection, Okonkwo delivers the fatal blow. Ikemefuna’s brutal death deeply distresses Nwoye who becomes afraid of his father.
At the end of Part One, Okonkwo accidentally kills a clansman at a funeral after his faulty gun explodes and is exiled to his motherland, Mbanta. During his exile, British missionaries arrive in Mbanta and establish a church. Nwoye, disillusioned with his own culture and Gods after Ikemefuna’s death, is attracted to Christianity and is an early convert . This is a heartbreaking disappointment to Okonkwo. When Okonkwo and his family return from exile after seven years they find that the missionaries and colonial governors have established Umuofia as the center of their new colonial government . Clashes of culture and morality occur, and as the British make the Igbo more dependent on them through introducing trade and formal education, the Igbo way of life is continually undermined . When a Christian convert unmasks an egwugwu during a tribal ritual, a sin amounting to the death of an ancestral spirit, the egwugwu burn down the village church. The men who destroyed the church are arrested and humiliated by the District Commissioner, and Okonkwo beheads a court messenger at a village council in rebellion. When none of his clansmen rise with him against the British, Okonkwo realizes his culture and way of life is lost and commits suicide in despair. Suicide is a crime against the Earth Goddess, Ani , so Okonkwo is left to rot above ground in the Evil Forest, like his father Unoka – a shameful fate he spent his life desperate to avoid. The final paragraph, written from the perspective of the District Commissioner, reduces Okonkwo’s life to a single sentence about his death in his planned book The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of The Lower Niger . Achebe has filled an entire novel with evidence of the complexity and sophistication of Okonkwo’s individual and social life and the District Commissioner’s casual dismissal and belittling of him causes us to flinch with horror and dismay. This is a metaphor for the reduction of Igbo culture in the eyes of its colonizers.
The title gives away the plot of the novel and anticipates the collapse of Okonkwo and his society. Things Fall Apart is about the connection between the tragic downfall of Okonkwo , who fate and temperamental weakness combine to destroy, and the destruction of his culture and society as the Igbo way of life is assailed by forces they do not understand and are unprepared to face .
A Full and Fair Representation of Ibo Traditional Life
The first part of the novel presents the traditional world of the Ibo with specificity and vibrancy . The imbedded descriptions of the patterns of interaction, daily routines and seasonal rituals of Ibo life creates an overwhelming impression of community and shared culture. We see the established system of values which regulates collective life and how closely related this is to natural cycles and environments. The Ibo’s moral values are contained in sayings and stories, rituals and festivals. Achebe depicts a comprehensive and sustaining social, spiritual, economic, agricultural, and legal order. (Chapters to consider: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 19)
While Ibo society is marked by the internal coherence of its organization and the poetry of its rituals, this coherence is partially formed by the repression of the individual and the inflexibility of social norms. Achebe shows the violence, dehumanization, and discrimination vulnerable groups experience in Umuofia due to the rigid adherence to tradition and superstition. This includes the customary abandonment of newborn twins, the sacrificial murder of Ikemefuna in the name of justice, and the discriminatory caste structure that denies inclusion to the osu (Chapters 7, 18).
Obierika’s questioning of the stern logic of some customs suggests that many laws are enacted from a sense of duty and inevitability rather than from a firm conviction in their justice or efficacy (Chapter 13). The cultural demand for conformity places a huge moral and psychological burden on individuals who must reckon with the sometimes heartless will of the gods . This internal tension is epitomized in the character of Okonkwo, discussed below.
Clash of Cultures
When the Ibo are confronted with rival institutions a mirror is held up to their society. Fall Apart honestly considers and reflects on Ibo practices, customs, values, and beliefs. The novel is a frank articulation of the nature of the African past and its relevance to the present and future . Achebe wants to illuminate Ibo culture to dispense with lingering colonial prejudices, but he is not sentimental or nostalgic for the past. Instead he is shifting through it to identify the valuable aspects of Ibo culture to bring into the future and help define Nigeria’s post-independence identity .
Achebe recognises that the colonial encounter which led, swiftly and seemingly inevitably, to the disintegration of Ibo culture revealed its profound weaknesses. Achebe suggests that with the arrival and contrast against another culture, a cultural reckoning was inevitable for the Ibo. However, cultural reckoning and revaluation is not the same thing as destruction and erasure . The British colonialists were a hostile force seeking cultural domination. By pointing out some of the weaknesses of the Ibo tradition, Achebe in no way excuses or justifies colonial domination or diminishes the pain and tragedy of the cultural erasure that occurred.
The anti-colonial position and purpose of the novel is powerfully clear. Achebe depicts the process of colonial initial establishment and the resultant cultural suspension of Ibo society. The British colonizers believed in their inherent cultural superiority and arrived in Umuofia with the intention to “bring civilization” (p.151) to Africa. They wanted to achieve full control by supplanting Ibo religion and culture with their own.
The British arrived quietly and non-confrontationally with their religion and the clans allow them to stay, misinterpreting their silence as peaceability . An Ibo proverb warns that there is danger in silence and nothing to fear from someone who reveals their motivations (Chapter 15). Obierika recognizes how the white man’s strategy disguised their intentions and gave them the freedom to grow and fortify. He explains the political consequences for the clan, now divided by the new religion, they can no longer act as one (Chapter 20). Without strength in unity, the Ibo are vulnerable to further encroachment of British control in their other institutions .
As only a small number of Ibo initially converted to Christianity, the church was only able to establish itself firmly in the villages because of the Ibo’s religious tolerance (Chapter 2, 22). Mr Brown learns about Ibo religion and his willful blindness to its complexity shows how the colonizers justified their colonial rule and imposition through labelling their subjects ‘primitive’ . Mr Brown understands that Christianity held no appeal for people well integrated in Ibo society, concluding that “a frontal attack on it would not succeed” (p.132) and thus introduces education as a new method of cultural displacement and erasure . Additionally, trade also increased the Ibo’s dependence on the introduced economy (Chapter 21).
From the very first introduction of the colonizers we understand that violence and fear were tools of oppression and dominance , forcing the Ibo to submit and keeping them unresisting (Chapter 15, 20, 23). Not only do the British impose foreign rule on the Ibo and judge them by standards they do not recognize, the District Commissioner’s personal brand of ‘justice’ is corrupt and hypocritical. When the elders are arbitrarily and falsely imprisoned, he tells them that what they have done “must not happen in the dominion of our queen” (p.141), combining personal corruption with a state apparatus of paternalism, hegemony, and occupation (Chapter 20, 23).
Dogmatic zealot, Reverend Smith, encourages fanaticism in his converts, motivating them to insult and humiliate the clan (Chapter 22). Under Reverend Smith’s wrathful guidance, the colonial agenda becomes transparently aggressive . The grief and pathos of the Ibo’s situation and collective trauma is displayed evocatively in the final episodes as Achebe depicts this painful moment of acute crisis (Chapter 22, 23, 24, 25).
A recurring thematic question in Things Fall Apart is to what degree the collapse of the Ibo and the downfall of Okonkwo are due to their own internal weaknesses or the whims of a pernicious fate .
The Ibo understand fate to be in a dynamic and somewhat ambiguous relationship with personal agency . This is evident in their proverb “when a man says yes his chi says yes also” (p.20) which acknowledges and privileges the role of an individual’s choices in shaping their destiny (Chapter 4). The saying “as a man danced so the drums were beaten for him” (p.135) also relates this idea – fate is a response to one’s behaviour. Okonkwo is warned that killing Ikemefuna, his surrogate son, is the “kind of action for which the goddess wipes out whole families” (p.49).This demonstrates the clan’s belief that the goddess’s (or fate’s) punishments are not arbitrary but the result of individual action (Chapter 8).
Although there is an element of chance in Okonkwo’s gun accidentally exploding and killing someone, his exile carries the suggestion of just comeuppance in its echo of the guns failure to shoot when purposely aimed at Ekwefi (Chapter 5, 13). Likewise, although the arrival of the Christians was unexpected and chanced, Nwoye’s rejection of his father is traceable directly to Okonkwo’s choice to kill Ikemefuna (Chapter 7). The desertion of people injured by Ibo traditions is a blow to the clan that feels equally earned (Chapters 16, 17, 18).
After his exile, Okonkwo believes his chi has turned against him (Chapter 14). He renunciates the wisdom of his elders by denying the active role he had in directing the course of events. His refusal to reflect on the connection between his actions and punishment reflect his fatal flaws: hubris and willful lack of self-knowledge. By refusing to self-analyze and self-correct, Okonkwo loses the opportunity of redemption. Comparably, the Ibo, despite believing in a relationship between action and fate, do not reflect on the cause of their kinsmen’s desertion to Christianity. Achebe provides numerous examples of the clan’s dogma and brutal traditions denying people such as Ikemefuna or twins control over their lives (Chapter 2, 7). It was the shortcomings of the Ibo social and religious order that made members susceptible to the attraction of a competing value system with a more articulated concept of individuality. The Ibo’s cultural lack of self-apprehension meant they could not adjust their traditions to save themselves .
However, just as Achebe shows how individuals in the clan are at the mercy of rigid overarching authority, he shows how the fateful forces of history constrain human agency . The British’s hostile intention to erase and supplant the Ibo way of life is a punishment greater than the Ibo deserve and a force stronger than they can rise to. In his description of the grief and trauma of colonial imposition, Achebe demonstrates his compassion and sorrow for the Ibo as they faced the sweeping and unforgiving forces of change in their moment of historical crisis .
Sample Essay Topics
1. "Things Fall Apart demonstrates how the values and customs of a society help us to deal with the familiar but not with change." Discuss.
2. "Traditional ideas of honour dominate Okonkwo's life and finally they destroy him." Discuss.
3. "Nwoye knew that it was right to be masculine and to be violent, but somehow he still preferred the stories his mother used to tell." How does Achebe explore masculinity in Things Fall Apart ?
Now it's your turn! Give these essay topics a go. For more sample essay topics, head over to our Things Fall Apart Study Guide to practice writing essays using the analysis you've learnt in this blog!
A+ Essay Topic Breakdown
Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. This essay topic breakdown will focus on the THINK part of the strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response .
Within the THINK strategy, we have 3 steps, or ABC. These ABC components are:
Step 1: A nalyse
Step 2: B rainstorm
Step 3: C reate a Plan
Let's look at an essay prompt in this video below:
In Things Fall Apart , women suffer the most and are victimised by men. Discuss.
Whenever you are breaking a prompt down. Ask yourself...
- What are the key words/ ideas that you need to address?
- Which theme is the prompt referring to?
- Do you agree with prompt? Or do you disagree with it?
The keywords of this prompt would be women, suffer,, victimised and men. The prompt requires us to address the role of women in the text and the ways in which they suffer in a society that is pervaded by patriarchal values. It also asks us, ‘Who is to blame?’ Are men solely responsible for the maltreatment or are there other causes to their suffering? The word ‘most’ in this prompt is actually there to give us a bit of room for discussion. Yes, women do suffer, but do they suffer the most? Or do men suffer as well?
Now that we’ve thought about the prompt, we can move on to the second step of the THINK part of the THINK and EXECUTE technique. To find out more about this unique strategy, I’d recommend downloading a free sample of our How to Write a Killer Text Response eBook!
Now, before we write our ideas in beautiful topic sentences, it’s often easier to simplify everything first. One way to do this is to work out whether the paragraph agrees or disagrees with the prompt at hand. We could follow this structure…
Yes, the prompt is true because X Yes, another reason it is true is X While it is true, it is limited by X
By elucidating the ways in which women are seen as inferior to their male counterparts, the writer establishes his critique on a society that victimises and oppresses women. From the outset of the book, Okonkwo is characterised as a violent man who ‘rules his household with a heavy hand’, placing his wives in perpetual fear. The frequent beating and violence fortifies the portrayal of him as a man who is governed by his hatred of ‘gentility and idleness’, further showing the terror that his wives are forced to be living in.
"Do what you are told woman. When did you become one of the ndichie (meaning elders) of Umuofia?"
He also sees his wife’s mere act of questioning as disrespect, as evidenced through the ways in which he implies that she is overstepping her role.
“There were many women, but they looked on from the fringe like outsiders"
This simile also shows how women are often marginalised and treated as outcasts, underlining the overarching yearning for social justice throughout the text. This pitiful image of women looking ‘on from the fringe’ also helps Achebe relay his criticism of gender double standards and the unfairness that Igbo women are forced to live with. Achebe’s sympathy for women’s suffering and condemnation of men’s mistreatment towards are also evident through his depiction of a society that normalises misogyny.
‘His mother and sisters worked hard enough, but they grew women’s crops… Yam, the king of crops, was a man’s crops’
The personification of the crops, in particular, the men’s crops, the ‘yam’, being the ‘king of crops’ establishes this gender hierarchy in yet another way. More specifically, the position of men in the social hierarchy is highlighted and the negative connotation attached to the ‘women’s crops’ undermine their hard work, rendering it in significant. While women are the main victims of Igbo gendered prejudice, Achebe does not disregard the undue burden that societal expectations impose on men.
‘He was afraid of being thought weak.’
Achebe explores the burdens of unrealistic expectations that are placed on both men and women. This quote exemplifies societal expectations on men to be strong, powerful and fearless leaders who never show emotions. Achebe’s sympathies regarding these expectations show us that this is an important critique in Things Fall Apart that we can analyse.
If you find this helpful, then you might want to check out our Things Fall Apart: A Killer Text Guide where we cover 5 A+ sample essays (written by a 50 study scorer!) with EVERY essay annotated and broken down on HOW and WHY these essays achieved A+ so you reach your English goals! Let's get started.
The Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response
How To Write A Killer Text Response Study Guide
How to embed quotes in your essay like a boss
How to turn your Text Response essays from average to A+
5 Tips for a mic drop worthy essay conclusion
With contributions from Lindsey Dang.
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Now quite sure how to nail your text response essays? Then download our free mini-guide, where we break down the art of writing the perfect text-response essay into three comprehensive steps. Click below to get your own copy today!
Access a FREE sample of our Things Fall Apart study guide
- Learn how to brainstorm ANY essay topic and plan your essay so you answer the topic accurately
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The Erratics is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
Setting is a literary element that refers to the context of where a story takes place, usually alluding to the time and location. Your expectations of a story that takes place in Victorian England would differ greatly from a story set in late 2000s Australia, showing us that the historical, social and geographical aspects of the setting shape the meaning of the text.
In the memoir The Erratics, the setting plays a vital role in Vicki Laveau-Harvie's storytelling. From the beginning of the novel, Laveau-Harvie uses both the title and prologue to foreground the importance of the Okotoks Erratic (a geographical phenomenon in Alberta, Canada) to establish the role that place and belonging have played in her life. Further reinforcing the importance of the setting, the memoir’s narrative follows Laveau-Harvie’s experience flying back to Alberta, Canada (her hometown), after having moved to and started a new life in Australia.
Why Focus on Setting When Writing a Text Response?
The setting can be useful evidence to have in your repertoire as it helps you show that you not only have an understanding of the ideas of the text but also how those ideas are constructed . When looking at the criteria you will be marked against in the end-of-year exam you will see that to score a 7 and above in Section A you need to consider the ‘construction’ of the text ( read more here ). Construction refers to your ability to discuss the parts that make up a text through the use of metalanguage as evidence to support your views. The setting is just one of the ways you can address construction in The Erratics, but, as a text so focused on physical environments, it’s a good type of metalanguage to start with.
Famous for producing Justin Bieber and maple syrup, Canada has a similar history to Australia. Canada has an Indigenous population who inhabited the land for thousands of years before British and French expeditions came and colonised the land. In the 1700s, due to various conflicts, France ceded most of its North American colonies while the United Kingdom stayed. Over time the country gained greater autonomy and, like Australia, it is now a constitutional monarchy with a prime minister but recognises the British royal family as its sovereign. Further mirroring Australia, Canada also has a colonial past that it is still reckoning with as recent headlines about the human remains of hundreds of Indigenous people at a residential school reminds us.
Vicki is specifically from Alberta, and the majority of the novel is about her experiences returning there after having moved to Australia (at the start of the memoir she had been estranged from her parents for 18 years). Known for its natural beauty and its nature reserves, Alberta is a part of Western Canada. Alberta is one of only two landlocked provinces in Canada which is interesting considering that Vicki leaves it for a country famous for its beaches and coastal cities.
When annotating the text , highlight the descriptions of the setting. You’ll notice that when Laveau-Harvie describes Alberta or Canada as a whole she presents the country as being dangerous and hostile. An example of this is the blunt statement that the ‘cold will kill you. Nothing personal’. However, Laveau-Harvie does find some solace in the landscape, observing the beauty of the ‘opalescent’ peaks and the comfort in predictable seasons.
Vicki’s Parent’s Home
The first description Laveau-Harvie gives us of her family home is to call it ‘Paradise, [with] twenty acres with a ranch house on a rise, nothing between you and the sky and the distant mountains.’ The idyllic image foregrounds the natural landscape but is then immediately juxtaposed with the description of the home as a ‘time-capsule house sealed against the outside world for a decade’. This description heightens Vicki’s mother and father’s isolation from the outside world and alludes to the hostility of the home that is reaffirmed with the doors that ‘open to no one’. The family home becomes an extended metaphor for Vicki’s parents themselves, with the description of it as a ‘no-go zone’, hinting at the sisters’ estrangement from their parents who have shut them out.
Moreover, the land the house sits on does not produce any crops despite it being such a large expanse of land, heightening the home’s disconnect from the natural world. This detachment from the natural world is furthered by her labelling her parents as ‘transplants from the city’ and contrasting them to locals who ‘still make preserves in the summer’. Vicki’s mother in particular is at odds with nature due to materialism, such as her wardrobes being full of fur coats.
The Erratics + Napi
In the prologue we are introduced to the Okotoks Erratic as being situated in ‘a landscape of uncommon beauty’ with the Erratic itself being something that ‘dominates the landscape, roped off and isolated, the danger it presents to anyone trespassing palpable’. The memoir then immediately shifts to Vicki’s experience in the hospital trying to convince the staff that she is her mother’s daughter, drawing a parallel between the dominating and dangerous landscape to the dominating and dangerous mother. In the memoir, the Erratic is an extended metaphor for the mother with both the land and the mother being described as ‘unsafe’, ‘dominat[ing]’ and a ‘danger’. Moreover, the structural choice of opening the novel with the Erratic makes its presence felt throughout the novel even though it is not mentioned again until the end of the text.
In contrast to the prologue, the epilogue has a feeling of peace and reconciliation as the mother and what she has represented to her family is reconciled with the landscape. This is particularly pertinent as the geographical and spiritual origins of the rock revealed in the epilogue is a story of stability after a rupture. This alludes to the ability of Vicki’s family to heal after the trauma inflicted on them by the mother. The epilogue could also be understood as a reminder of humanity's insignificance in the face of nature and larger forces, as represented by Napi.
While Laveau-Harvie does not directly address Canada's colonial past in her memoir outside of the inclusion of Napi, the colonial presence is felt throughout the memoir through the setting of both Australia and Canada. These settings allude to how living on stolen land means that while individuals - particularly middle-class, white individuals - may not always recognise and address the colonial history of the land they live on, the fact that land was never ceded is still felt.
As discussed before, Canada and Australia are similar as they are both former British colonies that are now constitutional monarchies, so why would Vicki want to move to a place that is similar to where she already lived and experienced trauma?
There are a few potential answers, the first being the geographical distance. There are over 1300kms between Sydney and Alberta and, considering the trauma Vicki and her sister have experienced, it stands to reason that she would want to put distance between her childhood home and her adult life. This leads to the second reason, travelling to ‘Far flung places’ as a method to deal with trauma. While in Canada, Vicki reminisces about the ‘boozed-up Brits on Bondi’ that embodies her life in Australia. The evocative, alliterative image creates a stark contrast between warm and carefree Australia and cold and emotionally taxing Canada, reinforcing how travelling provides individuals with a means to survive their traumatic childhoods and create new lives for themselves.
When writing about setting you do not need to be an expert in geography. As this blog post has shown, to understand Laveau-Harvie’s use of setting in The Erratics you only need to know about two countries, so next time you write a text response, consider using your understanding of setting to show your teacher or examiners that you’ve thought about the text’s construction.
1. Summary 2. Themes 3. Symbols and Analysis 4. Quotes 5. Sample Essay Topics 6. Essay Topic Breakdown
Alice Munro is a Canadian Nobel-Prize-winning author of short stories , and Runaway , first published in 2004, is a collection of eight such stories (though kind of actually only six, because three of them are sequential). These stories examine the lives of Canadian women throughout the last century, but not all of them are necessarily realistic to what daily life actually looks like. Rather, Munro uses borderline-supernatural events (which some critics say feel staged or contrived) to shed light on the tensions and challenge s of gender in modern life.
This can mean that some of the stories are quite hard to follow; they go through all these twists and turns, and the lines between stories start blurring after a while. Let’s go through each in a bit more detail before jumping into our analysis.
2. Story-by-Story Characters and Summary
The titular story is about a woman Carla , her husband Clark , their goat Flora , and their elderly neighbour Sylvia Jamieson . There are many runaways in the story: Carla ran away from her middle-class home to marry Clark, Flora the goat literally runs away, a scandalous lie about Sylvia’s late husband gets a bit out of hand, and now Sylvia is helping Carla run away once again, this time from Clark. Few of these runaways are really very successful: this story is really interrogating why and how.
The next three stories are sequential, and revolve around Juliet , a well-educated classicist who is working as a teacher in the first story, ‘Chance’ - it is set in 1965 and she is 21. In this story, she meets her lover Eric Porteous on a train, then finds him again six months later. Eric is sleeping around with a few women in light of his wife’s declining health and eventual passing, but by ‘Soon’ he and Juliet have settled down and had a baby together - Penelope .
‘Soon’ focuses more on the relationship between Juliet and her parents, in particular her mother Sara . Juliet feels a bit out of place now at home, and feels guilty about not being more present for Sara. In turn, ‘Silence’ depicts her own daughter running away from her. Juliet returns to her studies and only hears about Penelope’s life through a chance encounter with a friend who reveals that Penelope is now a mother herself.
The next story is about Grace , an older woman revising the family home of her husband Maury Travers . Their marriage never had a lot of passion in it really - Grace was always more interested in Maury’s family - but both of them were just doing what was expected of them. The contrast comes from Maury’s brother Neil , a doctor who accompanies Grace on a hospital trip when she cuts her foot. This trip becomes longer and more sensual, feeling adulterous even though very little actually transpires between them - the story raises questions around what counts as cheating, and what marriages should entail.
‘Trespasses’ is slightly deliberately disorienting from the start (which is actually the end of the story). We go on a flashback in the middle to learn about a father, Harry , and his daughter Lauren . One day when moving house, Lauren finds a cardboard box - Harry explains that it contains the ashes of a dead baby who he and his wife Eileen (Lauren’s mother) had had before Lauren. This leads to Lauren questioning if she was adopted, which is further complicated by Delphine , a worker at a hotel who seems to think Lauren is her biological daughter. The ending (which was teased at the beginning) is the evening of confrontation between the four characters where the truth is finally revealed.
Conversely, ‘Tricks’ has a more linear plot to follow. Robin is a carer for her asthmatic sister Joanne , but she’s taken to watching Shakespeare plays in the next town once a year. One year, she meets a European clockmaker Danilo who plans to meet her next year when she is back in town - but this doesn’t go to plan at all. It’s only 40 years later that Robin finds out Danilo had a twin brother, which is why the plan had gone downhill.
The last story in the collection is arguably the most complex, and it’s broken into 5 parts to reflect that complexity. It follows Nancy as she ages from a fresh high school graduate to an old woman by the end of the sequence, including her marriage to the town doctor Wilf . Importantly, the stories also cover her friendship with Tessa , who has the supernatural powers mentioned in the title. However, by the third story, Tessa has been abandoned in a mental hospital and she has lost her powers. Throughout the stories, we also see Ollie , Wilf’s cousin (or a figment of Nancy’s imagination according to this analysis), who seems to be responsible for Tessa’s demise.
Let’s start tracing some of the common themes between the stories.
A key theme explored throughout many of the stories is marriage and domesticity . There’s a strong sense that it’s an underwhelming experience : it doesn’t live up to expectations and it particularly dampens the lives of the women involved. Nancy’s marriage to Wilf in ‘Powers’ only happens because she feels guilty - 'I could hardly [turn him down] without landing us both in…embarrassment' - but, as a result, she loses her fun, intellectual streak as he tells her to put down her book, 'give Dante a rest'. A similar fate befalls Juliet, who gives up her study in the process of becoming married.
Marriage is also sometimes explored as a deliberate choice , even if it might have unintended consequences - for example, Carla’s marriage to Clark is described as a life that she 'chose'. This interpretation is more unclear though, and is contradicted in other stories like Passion, where Grace’s marriage is described as 'acquiescence ', acceptance without protest. It’s even contradicted to some extent in the same story: Munro compares Carla’s marriage to a 'captive' situation, where she might’ve chosen to enter the marriage, but after that has little say in how it goes.
This sounds a bit trite, but the title is a key theme as well - just not necessarily in the physical sense . Consider all of these different definitions and how they pop up in the stories. In ‘Runaway’, Carla and the goat run away, but also the lie Carla tells Clark about Leon, a runaway lie that taints his relationship with Sylvia completely. Some runaways are described as accidents - 'she – Flora – slipped through' - while others are much more deliberate. The question here is how much control we actually have over our own lives . Not a lot, it would seem.
The other side of runaway/s is to think about who the victim in each runaway is. Does somebody run away because they are 'in a bad situation, the way it happens', a victim of circumstance , or do they run away because they feel guilty , or because they’re abandoning someone else, the true victim of being left behind? Carla does seem like more of a victim of circumstance with good reason to run away, but think about Nancy leaving Tessa behind in ‘Powers’: ‘“I’ll write to you”, she said…she never did.’
This question about who the real victim is might be the hardest to answer for ‘Silence’. Juliet’s daughter abandons her, but it’s not like there’s a strong history of positive mother-daughter relationships in their family: Juliet wasn’t able to give Sara what she needed ( 'she had not protected Sara') and in turn isn’t able to quite give Penelope what she needs either (Penelope having a 'hunger for the things that were not available to her in her home '). At the same time, Penelope’s abandonment does feel quite callous and inexplicable , even if Juliet feels like it’s what she deserves; Munro suggests at the end of the story that a reunion would be an 'undeserved blessing'. The intertextuality with Aethiopica reveals Juliet’s good intentions, her similarity to the 'great-hearted queen of Ethiopia', but it doesn’t quite give us the satisfaction of a neat resolution either.
Ethics and Morality
Finally, Munro’s stories also raise questions around morality . Besides what we’ve already covered - adultery, runaways - there are further questions raised around parenthood , particularly in ‘Trespasses’. Harry seems to share a bit too much information with his child, who really doesn’t need to know about the dead baby just yet. Lauren is 'not short of information', and it’s worth questioning where that boundary should be for a child of her age.
But not all ethical questions have simple answers : as in ‘Tricks’ they can sometimes just have 'outrageous', cruel punchlines that don’t reveal themselves for decades. Munro doesn’t necessarily have all the answers on this one. She brings up complex moral situations but does not pass judgment on any.
4. Symbols & Analysis
Throughout the stories, Munro brings in a few elements of Greek mythology or literature . The intertextuality in ‘Silence’ is one example, drawing on the classical text Aethiopica , but there are a few more scattered throughout the stories: the constellations of Orion and Cassiopeia in ‘Chance’ and an oracle-like figure in Tessa, a main character in ‘Powers’. All of these elements have some significance:
- Cassiopeia is known for her arrogance and vanity, which parallels with the way Juliet detaches herself from her life ('she had made herself into a rather superior, invulnerable observer' - despite her very real vulnerabilities)
- Orion is known for his forbidden romance with the virgin goddess Artemis, which parallels with Eric’s romance with Juliet (Juliet being relatively inexperienced with men herself, with all of her experiences being 'fantasy')
- Oracles in mythology are like mouthpieces of the gods who can prophesy about the future. They were often women, so oracles were unusually influential in their male-dominated societies. The question is whether this parallels with Tessa at all: even though she has these supernatural powers, are there other forms of power she might lack instead?
In general, intertextuality is a way to enrich a text by drawing parallels and linking characters to existing stories or archetypes. Here, Munro uses classical texts to add dimension to her characters in a way that is almost-but-not-quite commentary. Pre-existing Greek myths are a way for us to see what’s really going on .
(Rail)Roads and Transit
The other symbol that comes up a few times in the stories is roads or railroads - basically places where runaways might happen . ‘Chance’ is set in the middle of a train journey, ‘Tricks’ involves a couple of train journeys, ‘Runaway’ maps the roads leading in and out of Carla’s home, and almost all of ‘Passion’ takes place on the road. If we broaden ‘places where runaways might happen’ to include planes as well, then we can add ‘Powers’ and ‘Silence’ to the list.
All of these spaces are what might be called liminal - they’re ‘in-between’ spaces with an air of suspense about what can happen. It’s probably most prominent in ‘Passion’, where Grace describes the events of that road trip as a 'passage” in her life, both physically and metaphorically. In general though, they’re the settings where the wildest and most significant events tend to happen.
- 'She—Flora—slipped through.'
- 'She (referring to Carla) chose this life with Clark.'
- 'She is just in a bad situation, the way it happens.'
- 'She saw him as the architect of the life ahead of them, herself as the captive, her submission both proper and exquisite.'
- 'She might be free.' - this is the second last line in the story. Note the ambiguity here (and through all these quotes, to be honest) about which ‘she’ is being referred to (Carla, Flora or even Sylvia)
- 'Juliet was twenty-one years old and already the possessor of a B.A. and an M.A. in classics.'
- 'The problem was that she was a girl. If she got married—which might happen…—she would waste all her hard work.'
- 'She had made herself into a rather superior, invulnerable observer.'
- '…the two of them (referring to Sara and Juliet) intertwined. And then abruptly, Juliet hadn’t wanted any more of it.'
- 'But she had not protected Sara. When Sara had said, soon I’ll see Juliet , Juliet had found no reply. Could it not have been managed?…She had put everything away.'
- Penelope supposedly had a 'hunger for the things that were not available to her in her home.'
- 'Penelope does not have a use for me.'
- 'She hopes as people who know better hope for undeserved blessings, spontaneous remissions, things of that sort.'
- Grace, watching a movie with Maury, felt 'rage…because that was what girls were supposed to be like. That’s what men - people, everybody - thought they should be like. Beautiful, treasured, spoiled, selfish, pea-brained. That was what a girl should be, to be fallen in love with.'
- 'It was not in her nature, of course, to be so openly dumbfounded, so worshipful, as he was.'
- 'Describing this passage, this change in her life, later on, Grace might say - she did say - that it was as if a gate had clanged shut behind her. But at the time there was no clang - acquiescence simply rippled through her.'
- Lauren 'had been brought up to believe that children and adults could be on equal terms with each other.'
- 'How could she be sure that they had not got her as a replacement? If there was one big thing she hadn’t known about, why could there not be another?'
- 'Forgive us our trespasses' - note the ambiguity of ‘trespasses’ (does it mean sins as in the prayer, or overstepping boundaries, or both?)
- 'Some of the best-looking, best-turned-out women in town are those who did not marry.'
- 'A means to an end, those tricks are supposed to be.'
- 'I couldn’t stand for the poor man (referring to Wilf) to have had two girls turn him down’
- 'I used to have a feeling something really unusual would occur in my life, and it would be important to have recorded everything. Was that just a feeling?'
- 'She could be upset to see you leave without her. So I’ll give you an opportunity just to slip away.'
- 'He has nearly forgotten that he ever believed in her powers, he is now only anxious for her and for himself, that their counterfeit should work well.'
Having great quotes is one thing, but you also want to make sure you know How To Embed Quotes in Your Essay Like a Boss !
6. Sample Essay Topics
- What does Runaway teach us about romance?
- Carla, Grace and Tessa are more similar than different in terms of their relationships with the men in their lives. Do you agree?
- How does Munro contrast younger and older women in Runaway ?
- What does the setting contribute to the overall effect of Runaway ?
- 'Forgive us our trespasses.' What types of boundaries are created and overstepped in Runaway ?
7. Essay Topic Breakdown
Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. This essay topic breakdown will give you a brief glimpse on the THINK part of the strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response .
‘Forgive us our trespasses.’ What types of boundaries are created and overstepped in Runaway ?
Step 1: Analyse
This quote is from ‘Trespasses’ and captures the double meaning of the word as both overstepping physical boundaries and sinning in the moral or religious sense . It’s likely we’ll want to talk about both interpretations - physically trespassing but also encroaching on boundaries in immoral ways. Note that the prompt also includes the action words ‘created’ and ‘overstepped’, meaning that there’ll be a pretty diverse range of examples that we’ll need to use to answer this prompt comprehensively.
Step 2: Brainstorm
Let’s start with physical boundaries : Carla’s marriage and the fences on her property and the US-Canada border in ‘Powers’ come to mind. Then, we’ve got non-physical boundaries: emotionally as in ‘Chance’ and ethically as in ‘Trespasses’. This is where we start getting into whether these boundaries are created or overstepped .
Clark creates boundaries for Carla and her attempts to break free from them are unsuccessful. The border in ‘Powers’ is more of an excuse for Nancy to neglect Tessa, a boundary she creates and never makes the effort to overstep. Finally, the ethical boundaries in ‘Trespasses’ are overstepped from the get-go. How can we synthesise these ideas into one essay?
Step 3: Create a Plan
I think the trick with questions like this is not to just allocate different types of boundaries and/or different action words to each paragraph. Try to think of creative ways to string these ideas together that also build towards a bigger picture or overall contention about the text as a whole. This example plan explores physical and emotional boundaries but makes a bigger argument that they are often associated with regret in Munro’s stories.
Paragraph 1 : Physical boundaries are both the most intentional and the most difficult to overstep.
- Carla’s farmstead is isolated and bordered by roads; her marriage to Clark and her life on this farmstead is likened to a 'captive' situation, with Clark being the 'architect' of it all
- Munro ends Runaway on a pessimistic note about Carla’s ability to leave this boundary: 'She might be free'
- International borders also constitute physical barriers, and these are used by Nancy in ‘Powers’ to avoid responsibility; because this is an active decision (‘“I’ll write to you”, she said…she never did.’), it’s a barrier that never really gets broken. Similar to Penelope in ‘Silence’
Paragraph 2 : Munro’s stories, however, focus more on emotional boundaries , and the way these are applied varies greatly. This variation underscores their complexity .
- Emotional boundaries when created can prevent intimacy: Juliet 'ma[kes] herself into a rather superior, invulnerable observer' so as to avoid commitment. These boundaries come back to bite when she has a daughter
- Conversely, they cause a great deal of harm when overstepped: for example, ‘Trespasses’ sees 'crazy and dangerous' adults toy with the life of a child, constantly assuming that she 'can take it' when in fact this is not the case
Paragraph 3 : Regardless, Munro’s characters often come to regret the boundaries they erect or overstep.
- Carla’s ambivalence about her marriage is tinged with regret either way: when she’s there, she wants to escape, and when she escapes, she questions if she has 'anything left in [her]'
- Juliet reflects on the boundaries she puts up between herself and Penelope and realises that 'spontaneous remissions' between them are undeserved and impossible
- In ‘Powers’, Nancy struggles with the guilt of abandoning Tessa: many years later, she still wants to 'open [the past] up' and understand her motives. However, it is too late, and the boundaries are already there
- Munro does not suggest that boundaries are inherently good or bad, but her stories show how they can be sources of regret when treated improperly
Runaway is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Creative Response. Check out Audrey's blog on how to approach Runaway as a Creative Response for more.
For a detailed guide on Creative Response as a whole, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Creative Writing .
After Darkness is currently studied in VCE English under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
1. Introduction (Plot Summary) 2. Characters and Development 3. Themes 4. Narrative Conventions/Literary Devices 5. Sample Paragraphs 6. Additional Essay Prompts and Analysis Questions to Consider 7. Tips
1. Introduction (Plot Summary)
Christine Piper’s historical fiction, After Darkness deals with suppressed fragments of the past and silenced memories. The protagonist, Dr Ibaraki, attempts to move forward with life whilst also trying to hide past confrontations as well as any remnants of his past wrongdoings and memories. The text consists of three intertwined narrative strands – Ibaraki’s past in Tokyo in 1934, his arrival in Broome in 1938 to work in a hospital there, and his arrival in a detainment camp in Loveday (South Australia) in 1942 after the outbreak of war.
2. Characters and Development
4. Narrative Conventions/Literary Devices
- ‘a mallee tree’ - Aboriginal word for water which symbolises purity, source of life 'if it’s hit by bushfire it grows back from the root with lots of branches, like all the others here. It’s a tough tree. Drought, bushfire…it’ll survive almost anything…I was struck by the ingenuity of the tree in its ability to generate and create a new shape better suited to the environment.'
- The tag with 'the character ko…[with] its loop of yellowed string...The knot at the end had left an impression on the page behind it: a small indentation, like a scar.'
- 'Felt like hell on earth'
- 'The hollow trunks of dead trees haunted its edges like lost people' - Can also link to the landscape narrative convention
- 'The scene was like a photograph, preserving the strangeness of the moment.'
Description of the hospital atmosphere where the patient next to Hayashi laid
- 'Only the windows were missing, leaving dark holes like the eyes of an empty soul'
- 'The photos reached me first. I leafed through the black and white images: swollen fingers, blistered toes, blackened faces, and grotesque, rotting flesh that shrivelled and puckered to reveal bone. The final photo depicted a child’s chubby hands, the tips of the fingers all black.' - Also foreshadowing death of his and Kayoko’s child
- 'That afternoon, the sky darkened, and the wind picked up…making the world outside opaque.'
- Middlemarch (book) which symbolises Ibaraki and Sister Bernice’s friendship as Bernice was left behind
- Robinson Crusoe
- 'Being able to conduct research in this way has delivered unparalleled knowledge, which we’ve already passed on to the army to minimise further loss of life.'
- 'You haafu fools don’t deserve the Japanese blood in you!'
- 'You bloody racist!'
- 'You fucking Emperor-worshipping pig...!'
- 'Haafu' - Derogatory, racism term used to define those who are biracial (half Japanese):
An interpretation of the language use throughout the text could be Piper’s way of humanising the Japanese people to her readers and notifying them that they also have their own culture and form of communication
Another interpretation of the language use is to show that both the Australians and Japanese are just as cruel as each other because they show no respect to one another and use language in such a brutal way
Ibaraki represents that divide where he can speak both languages, yet still, cannot voice his own opinion or stand up for himself (link to theme of silence)
- 'The void seemed to have a force of its own, drawing the meaning of the words into it.'
- 'The engine coughed into life.'
- 'snow was falling as I walked home from the station – the first snow of the season.' - Foreshadowing the storm about to come in his life
- 'A black silhouette against the fallen snow.' - Foreshadowing Kayoko’s death
5. Sample Paragraphs
'But as soon as you show a part of yourself, almost at once you hide it away.' Ibaraki’s deepest flaw in After Darkness is his failure to reveal himself. Do you agree?
Christine Piper’s historical fiction, After Darkness explores the consequences that an individual will be forced to endure when they choose to conceal the truth from their loved ones. Piper reveals that when a person fails to reveal themselves, it can eventually become a great obstacle which keeps them from creating meaningful and successful relationships. Additionally, Piper asserts that it can be difficult for an individual to confront their past and move completely forward with their present, especially if they believed their actions were morally wrong. Furthermore, Piper highlights the importance of allowing people into one’s life as a means to eliminate the build-up the feelings of shame and guilt.
Piper acknowledges that some people will find it difficult to open up to others about their past due to them accumulating a large amount of regret and guilt over time. This is the case for Ibaraki as he was involved with the ‘experiments’ when he was working in the ‘Epidemic Prevention Laboratory', in which Major Kimura sternly told him to practise ‘discretion and not talk ‘about [his] work to anybody'. The inability to confide in his wife or mother after performing illegal and mentally disturbing actions causes him to possess a brusque conduct towards others, afraid that they will discover his truth and ‘not be able to look at [him] at all'. His failure to confess his past wrongdoings shapes the majority of his life, ruining his marriage and making him feel the need ‘to escape’ from his losses and ‘start afresh'. He eventually lies to his mother by making her believe that he ‘had gone to Kayoko’s parents’ house’ for the break, avoiding any questions from being raised about his job. As a consequence, he fails to tell his family about his horrid past suggesting that he has accepted that ‘[his] life had become one that others whispered about'. Juxtaposed to Ibaraki’s stress relieving methods, Kayoko confides in her mother after she receives news of her miscarriage, highlighting that when one willingly shares their pain with loved ones, it can release the burden as well as provide them with some assistance. In contrast to this, Ibaraki’s guilty conscience indicates that he will take ‘the secret to his grave', making it extremely difficult for people he encounters to understand him and form a meaningful connection with him. Nonetheless, Piper does not place blame on Ibaraki as he was ordered to keep the ‘specimen’ business hidden from society, thereby inviting her readers to keep in mind that some individuals are forced by others to not reveal their true colours for fear of ruining a specific reputation.
Throughout the journey in After Darkness , Piper engendered that remaining silent about one’s past events that shapes their future is one of the deepest flaws. She notes that for people to understand and form bonds with one another, it is extremely important to reveal their identity as masking it only arises suspicions. Piper postulates that for some, memories are nostalgic; whereas, for others it carries an unrelenting burden of guilt, forcing them to hide themselves which ultimately becomes the reason as to why they feel alone in their life.
6. Additional Essay Prompts and Analysis Questions to Consider
- Analyse the role of silence in After Darkness . Compare the ways in which the characters in the text utilise or handle silence. What is Piper suggesting about the notion of silence?
- Discuss the importance of friendship in the text. What is it about friends that make the characters appear more human? How can friendship bolster development in one’s character?
- Racism and nationalism are prominent themes in the text. How are the two interlinked? Explore the ways they are shown throughout the text and by different characters. Is Piper indicating that the two always lead to negative consequences?
- Analyse some of the narrative conventions (imagery, simile, metaphor, symbols, motifs, landscapes, language, etc.) in the novel and what they mean to certain characters and to the readers.
- Explore the ways in which the text emphasises that personal conscience can oftentimes hold people back from revealing their true thoughts and feelings.
- Character transformation (bildungsroman) is prevalent throughout the text. What is Piper suggesting through Ibaraki’s character in terms of the friendships and acquaintances he has formed and how have they impacted him? How have these relationships shaped him as a person in the past and present? Were such traits he developed over time beneficial for himself and those around him or have they caused the destruction of once healthy relationships?
If you'd like to see how to break down an essay topic, you might like to check out our After Darkness Essay Topic Breakdown blog post!
- Be sure to read as many academic articles as you can find in relation to the text in order to assist you with in-depth analysis when writing your essays. This will help you to stand out from the crowd and place you in a higher standing compared to your classmates as your ideas will appear much more sophisticated and thought-out.
- Being clear and concise with the language choices is such a crucial factor. Don’t over complicate the ideas you are trying to get across to your examiners by incorporating ‘big words’ you believe will make your writing appear of higher quality, because in most cases, it does the exact opposite (see Why Using Big Words in VCE Essays Can Make You Look Dumber ). Be careful! If it's a choice between using simpler language that your examiners will understand vs. using more complex vocabulary where it becomes difficult for the examiners to understand what you're trying to say, the first option is best! Ideally though, you want to find a balance between the two - a clearly written, easy to understand essay with more complex vocabulary and language woven into it.
- If there is a quote in the prompt, be sure to embed the quote into the analysis, rather than making the quote its own sentence. You only need to mention this quote once in the entire essay. How To Embed Quotes in Your Essay Like a Boss has everything you need to know for this!
If you'd like to see sample A+ essays complete with annotations on HOW and WHY the essays achieved A+, then you'll definitely want to check out our After Darkness Study Guide ! In it, we also cover advanced discussions on topics like structural features and context, completely broken down into easy-to-understand concepts so you can smash your next SAC or exam! Check it out here .
We've all been there. You're moments away from having to deliver your 5-6 minute long oral to all of your classmates and your teacher, and you're still trying to memorise that one bit that you just can't seem to get down pat. It sucks.
For many VCE English students, the oral presentation is the scariest part of the course; it’s often also the first.
Doing a speech can indeed be daunting— you’re marked in real time, you can’t go back and edit mistakes, and the writing part itself is only half the battle. Nonetheless, the oral SAC can also be one of the more dynamic and engaging tasks you complete in VCE English, and there’s plenty of ways to make it more interesting and also more manageable for yourself.
We’ll break the whole process down into three parts (don’t worry, one of these will be the delivery itself) and have a look at ways to tackle each; hopefully, you’ll feel more empowered to give it a go on your own terms. Don't forget to also check out Our Ultimate Guide to Oral Presentations for everything you need to know for Oral Presentations.
Part One: Choosing a good topic
(in this section—researching events & issues, topic ideas).
For a bit of a head start on this step, be sure to check out our blog post filled with Oral Presentation Topics for 2020 . It's one of our best kept secrets!
In the study design, the description that’s given for the Oral Presentation is:
“A point of view presented in oral form using sound argument and persuasive language . The point of view should relate to an issue that has appeared in the media since 1 September of the previous year.”
Besides this restriction on how current/recent your issue is, the expectations themselves for this task are pretty standard (and therefore pretty broad): you
- select a topic or point of view
- research arguments and supporting evidence; and
- position the audience accordingly in your speech
Getting started on this first part can be tricky though, especially if you want to choose something a bit more original or fresh.
In any case, the first thing you need is an event . As a reminder, an event in the VCE English context is anything that happens which also generates opinionated media coverage —so, it’s not just an event but it has to be an event that people have published opinions about, and they have to have been published since September 1.
You might wonder why we don’t go to the issue straight away. Here’s a hypothetical to illustrate: if you asked me to name an issue, the best I could probably come up with off the top of my head is climate change. However, if you asked me to name an event, I’d pretty easily recall the bushfires—something much more concrete which a) has generated specific and passionate opinions in the media; and b) can easily be linked to a wider issue such as climate change.
So where do you find an event? If you can’t think of a particularly interesting one right away, you could always try Wikipedia. Seriously, Wikipedia very helpfully has pages of things that happened in specific years in specific countries, so “2019 in Australia” might well be a starting point. The ABC news archive is also really helpful since you can pick dates or periods of time and see a good mix of news events from then.
I wouldn’t underestimate your own memory here either. Maybe you attended the School Strike for Climate and/or you feel vaguely disappointed in the government. Maybe there was something else happening in the news you remember (even though it is often about the environment these days). It doesn’t have to be from the news though—maybe there was a movie or TV show you watched recently that you have thoughts about. You could really do a speech on any of these, as long as you suspect there might be recent, opinionated media coverage .
Only once you have an event should you look for an issue . This will be a specific debate that comes out of the event, and can usually be framed as a “whether-or-not” question. The bushfires, for example, might generate debate around whether or not the Australian government is doing enough to combat climate change, whether or not Scott Morrison has fulfilled his duties as Prime Minister, whether or not it’s appropriate to discuss policy already when people are still grieving. All of these issues are going to be more current and more focused than just ‘climate change’, so pick one that resonates for your speech. For a list of 2019-20 issue-debate breakdowns (i.e. topic ideas!), give this a read!
From there, you might delve a little deeper into viewpoints around your chosen issue, and you’d do this mostly by reading opinion or analysis articles (rather than hard news reports). Opinion is great to see what other people are thinking, and could help you bolster or reinforce your own arguments, whereas analysis is good to get a little deeper into the implications of and evidence behind the issue. The actual contention itself comes last—even though you might already have an idea what you think about the issue, you’ll be best prepared to articulate it after doing the research first.
Part Two: Writing a good speech
(in this section—register/tone selection, personas, openings, how formal you need to be, drafting & rehearsing).
For this part of the task, I’d keep in mind a specific snippet of its description: the need to use sound argument and persuasive language .
To be fair, persuasive language mightn’t necessarily be something you actively think about when you write persuasively—you wouldn’t ever really be like “hey, this is a great spot to include an appeal to compassion.” However, while you don’t need to start now, it’s good to have in mind a general register for your speech before you start. It’s one of the first things you might analyse in a written essay for good reason—it’s broad and it sets the tone for your argument/s.
With the bushfires for instance, you might contend that even though grief is a strong emotion, it should also be a trigger for resolute, permanent policy reform. But will you come from a frustrated, this-is-what-we’ve-been-saying-for-years register, or a compassionate look-at-the-damage-caused register, or an assertive, we-need-to-bring-the-community-together-first register?
Maybe you can incorporate a bit of each, or maybe (probably) there are more options, but in any case, making this decision first will help with stringing together arguments and incorporating more persuasive language techniques (PLTs). Note that most PLTs can be used across a number of registers, but there are some that might work more effectively with some of these.
These are things you’ll have to think about for your written explanations, and might also help you shape future research if you need to shore up the speech a little more. Something you may consider as well is adopting a persona , that is a character and a context for your speech. You don’t have to, but it may help you get started. It can be hard to just write a speech from scratch, but if you’re the mayor of a township affected by the fires and you’re outlining a course of action, it’ll help with your register and outlook.
Openings in general can be tricky though. Try to avoid stating your event, issue and contention outright—the audience doesn’t need to know that “recently, Australia experienced a horrific bushfire season and I’m going to talk about why now is the time to act on climate change.” They’ll figure it out. Instead, try to start with something that clearly communicates your register and/or persona (if you have one). If you’re a frustrated climate activist, start by illustrating the historical patterns of bushfires getting worse and worse. If you’re a compassionate community-builder, start with anecdotes of the damage. If you’re an assertive leader, explain who you are, what your experience is and how you want to create change. Don’t worry if you feel like the issue won’t be clear enough—again, they’ll figure it out! The opening also sets the bar for formality in your speech, and it’s honestly up to you how formal you’ll want to be. As a rule of thumb, don’t be so formal that you can’t use contractions (such as “you’ll” and “can’t”)—avoid those in essays for sure, but they’re a natural part of speaking and it’ll feel strange if you don’t use them.
I’d also recommend you draft and rehearse in front of others, highlighting areas where you think are the weakest and asking them for specific advice on those sections at the end. Having specific questions to ask, such as “should I include more data/quantitative evidence in x section?” or “is this specific appeal to x obvious enough?”, also means you get better feedback (since these are much easier to answer than “Was that fine?”).
Part Three: Delivering an engaging presentation
(in this section—body language, eye contact, rehearse rehearse rehearse, tone variation).
Most of you probably find this the most daunting part of the SAC—honestly, me too—but this is the part with the most tried-and-tested tips for success.
With regard to body language , stand with your feet shoulder width apart and, more importantly don’t move your legs . Especially if you’re nervous, swaying or shuffling will be noticeable and make you appear more nervous—when you practise, pay attention to the lower half of your body and train it to stay still if possible. That being said, do use your arms for gestures. Those are more natural and will help engage the audience, though don’t overdo it either—usually, holding cue cards in one hand frees up the other but also stops you from going overboard.
And cue cards brig us up to another important consideration— eye contact . Hold cue cards in one hand as high as you can without it feeling uncomfortable. This means you don’t have to take your eyes away from the audience for too long or too noticeably to check your notes.
Of course, knowing your speech better means having to check your notes less frequently. When I did my speech, I’d read it out aloud to myself 3-5 times a day for a week or two in advance, which made me feel like I was going insane but also meant that my speech was basically memorised . The cue cards were there in case of emergency, but I really didn’t need them at all. Absolutely make sure to rehearse your speech. Further, when you rehearse, try to pretend that you’re actually delivering the speech. This means:
- looking up ahead
- holding the cue cards in the right spot; and
- not just reading the words but speaking as if to an audience.
This last point is really important— tone variation might come naturally to some but not to others. I always found that building it into rehearsal helped with getting it consistent and natural. Tone variation involves things like emphasising certain words, using pauses or slowing down for effect, or modifying volume . Incorporating some of these elements—even writing them into your notes by bolding/italicising/underlining—will help you break out of monotony and make the speech more engaging as well. Be sure to emphasise things like emotive language and any evidence you might use to illustrate your arguments. And one last thing— don’t speak too quickly ! Easier said than done, but often the icing on the cake for a speech that is memorable for the right reasons.
Wondering where to go from here? Well, luckily, my eBook, How To Write A Killer Oral Presentation, details my exact step-by-step process so you can get that A+ in your SAC this year.
- Access a step-by-step guide on how to write your Oral Presentation with simple, easy-to-follow advice
- Read and analyse sample A+ Oral Presentations with EVERY speech annotated and broken down on HOW and WHY students achieved A+ so you reach your goal
- Learn how to stand out from other students with advice on your speech delivery
Sounds like something that'd help you? I think so too! Access the full eBook by clicking here !
This blog was updated on 05/10/2020.
4. Literary Devices
5. Important Quotes
7. A+ Essay Topic Breakdown
Pride and Prejudice is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice , follows the titular character of Elizabeth Bennet as she and her family navigate love, loyalty and wealth.
When Mrs. Bennet hears that a wealthy, young and eligible bachelor, Mr. Bingley, has moved into the manor of Netherfield Park nearby, she hopes to see one of her daughters marry him. Of the five daughters born to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, Jane takes an early liking to Mr. Bingley despite his friend, Mr. Darcy, initial coldness and apathy towards her younger sister Elizabeth. Though Mr. Darcy’s distaste soon grows to attraction and love.
While Jane and Mr. Bingley begin to fall for each other, Elizabeth receives and declines a marriage proposal from her supercilious cousin Mr. Collins, who eventually comes to marry Elizabeth’s dear friend Charlotte. While Mr. Darcy is in residence at Netherfield Park, Elizabeth finds and enjoys the company of a young officer named Mr. Wickham who too has a strong disliking for Mr. Darcy. Mr. Wickham claims it was Mr. Darcy who cheated him out of his fortune, which then deepens Elizabeth's initial ill impression of the arrogant man.
After a ball is held at Netherfield Park, the wealthy family quits the estate, leaving Jane heartbroken. Jane is then invited to London by her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, which Mr. Darcy fails to tell Mr. Bingley as he has persuaded him not to court Jane because of her lesser status.
When Elizabeth visits her newly married friend Charlotte, she meets Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s (Mr. Darcy’s Aunt) other nephew, Colonel Fitzwilliam. While there, Mr. Darcy appears and proposes to Elizabeth unexpectedly claiming he loves and admires her. To Mr. Darcy’s surprise, Elizabeth refuses as she blames him for ruining Mr. Wickam’s hopes of success and for keeping Jane and Mr. Bingley apart. Mr. Darcy later apologies in a letter and admits to persuading Mr. Bingley not to pursue Jane, but argues that her love for him was not obvious. In the letter, he also denies Wickam’s accusations and explains that Wickham had intended to elope with his sister for her fortune.
Elizabeth joins her Aunt and Uncle in visiting Mr. Darcy’s great estate of Pemberley under the impression he would be absent. It is there that Elizabeth learns from the housekeeper that Mr. Darcy is a generous landlord. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy then have a chance encounter after he returns home ahead of schedule. Following her previous rejection of him, Mr. Darcy has attempted to reform his character and presents himself amiably to Elizabeth’s Aunt and Uncle as she begins to warm up to him.
Mr Darcy happens upon Elizabeth as she receives the terrible news that Lydia has run off with Wickam in an event that could ruin her family. Mr. Darcy then going out in search for Wickham and Lydia to hurry their nuptials. When Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy return to Netherfield Park, Elizabeth is pleased to see him though Darcy shows no sign of his regard for her. Jane and Mr. Bingley soon become engaged.
Soon thereafter, Lady Catherine visits the Bennets and insists that Elizabth never agree to marry her nephew. Darcy hears of Elizabeth's refusal, and when he next comes, he proposes a second time which she accepts, his pride then humbled and her prejudices overturned.
- Elizabeth Bennet
- Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
- Jane Bennet
- Mr. Charles Bingley
- Mrs. Bennet
- George Wickham
- Lydia Bennet
- Mr. Collins
- Miss Bingley
- Lady Catherine De Bourgh
- Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner
- Charlotte Lucas
- Georgiana Darcy
- Mary Bennet
- Catherine Bennet
Within the text the theme of pride is ever present as it plays a major role in how Austen’s characters present themselves, their attitudes and how they treat each other. For much of the novel pride blinds both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth of their true feelings and hence becomes something both characters must overcome. While Darcy’s pride makes him look down upon those not immediately within his social circle, Elizabeth takes so much pride in her ability to judge the character of others that she refuses to amend her opinions even when her initial judgements are proven wrong. Indeed, this is why Elizabeth despises the benign Darcy early on in the text, but initially takes a liking to the mendacious Wickham. By the denouement of the novel, both Datcy and Elizabeth have overcome their pride by encouraging and supporting each others own personal evolution. Indeed, as Darcy sheds his elitism Elizabeth comes to realise the importance of revaluation.
The tendency of others to judge one another based on perceptions, rather than who they are and what they value becomes a point of prolific discussion within Pride and Prejudice . Indeed, the title of the text clearly implies the related nature of pride and prejudice as both Darcy and Elizabeth are often shown to make the wrong assumptions; Darcy’s assumptions grounded in his social prejudice whereas Elizabeth’s is rooted in her discernment led astray by her excessive pride. As Austen subtly mocks the two lovers biases, she gives the impression that while such flaws are common faulting someone else for the prejudice is easy while recognising it in yourself is hard. While Austen’s representation of prejudice is aligned with personal development and moral growth as she wittingly condemns those who refuse to set aside their prejudices like Lady Catherine and Caroline.
The family unit that Austen displays with Pride and Prejudice becomes the social and domestic sphere as it forms the emotional center of the novel in which she grounds her analysis and discussion. Not only does the family determine the social hierarchy and standing of its members but provides the intellectual and moral support for its children. In the case of the Bennet family, Austen reveals how the individuals identity and sense of self is molded within the family as she presents Jane and Elizabeth as mature, intelligent and witty and lydia as a luckless fool. Not only this, Austen reveals the emotional spectrum that lives within every family as shown through Elizabeth’s varying relationship with her parents; the tense relationship with her mother and sympathy she shares with her father.
At the center of its plot, Pride and Prejudice examines the complex inequality that governs the relationships between men and women and the limited options that women have in regards to marriage. Austen portrays a world in which the socio-economic relationship between security and love limits the woman and her choices as it based exclusively on a family’s social rank and connections. Indeed, the expectations of the Bennet sisters, as members of the upper class is to marry well instead of work. As women can not inherit their families estate nor money, their only option is to marry well in the hope of attaining wealth and social standing. Through this, Austen explains Mrs. Bennet’s hysteria about marrying off her daughters. Yet Austen is also shown to be critical of those who marry purely for security, thereby offering Elizabth as the ideal, who initially refuses marriage as she refutes financial comfort but ends up marrying for love.
Class and Wealth
As Austen focuses much of her novel on the impacts of class and wealth, she makes clear of the system that favours the rich and powerful and often punishes the weak and poor. Characters like Lady Catherine, whose enforcement of rigid hierarchical positions often leads her to mistreatment of others. Other characters like Mr. Collins and Caroline are depicted as void of genuine connection as they are unable to live and love outside the perimeter of their social standing. In contrast, characters such as Bingley and the Gardiners offer a respectable embodiment of wealth and class through their kindness and manners. Indeed, Austen does not criticise the entire class system as she offers examples that serve to demonstrate the decency and respectability. Darcy embodies all that a high-class gentleman should as though he is initially presented as flawed and arrogant, it becomes clear as the novel progresses that he is capable of change. Always generous and compassionate, his involvement with Elizabeth helps to brings his nurturing nature to the foreground, evident in his attempts to help the foolish lydia. Ultimately, Austen suggest through Darcy’s and Elizabeth's union that though class and wealth are restrictive, they do not determine one’s character nor who one is capable of loving.
- Symbolism, imagery and allegories
- Writing style
- Three Act plot
- “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (ch.1)
When writing on any text in Text Response, it is essential to use quotes and analyse them.
Let’s take this quote, for example.
“it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”
This is the opening line of the novel. It is satirical, ironic and mocking in tone. Austen makes fun of the notion that wealthy bachelors must be wanting to marry in order to be valued in society. By using this tone, she subverts this “truth universally acknowledged” and encourages readers to question this societal presumption of wealth and marriage.
Have a look at the following quotes and ask yourself, ‘how would I analyse this quote?’:
- “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” (ch.3)
- "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (ch.20)
- “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (ch.34)
- “They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” (ch.43)
- “You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.” (ch.58)
1. What do the various relationships shown in Pride and Prejudice tell us about love, marriage and society?
2. Austen shows that even those of the best moral character can be blinded by their pride and prejudice . To what extent do you agree?
3. Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time . What impact does this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships ? Discuss.
For more sample essay topics, head over to our Pride and Prejudice Study Guid e to practice writing essays using the analysis you've learnt in this blog!
Essay Topic Breakdown
Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. This essay topic breakdown will focus on the THINK part of the strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response because it’ll dramatically enhance how much you can take away from the following essays and more importantly, to then be able to apply these in your own writing.
Step 3: C reate a Plan
Character-based Prompt: Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time. What impact could this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships? Discuss.
The following comes essay topic breakdown comes from our Pride and Prejudice Study Guide:
Step 1: Analyse
Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time . What impact could this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships ? Discuss.
A character based essay prompt is pretty self-explanatory as the prompt will have a specific focus on one character or a group of characters. While they may look relatively simple and straightforward, a lot of students struggle with character based questions as they find it is hard to discuss ideas in a lot of depth. With that in mind, it's important that we strive for what the author is saying; what is the author trying to convey through this specific character? What do they represent? Do they advocate for specific ideas or does the author use this character to condemn a certain idea and action?
This question is looking at the attitude Elizabeth Bennet has in regard to the expectation and institution of marriage and how her view could impact the lives of the people around her. As always, we want to make sure that we not only identify our key words but define them. I started by first defining/ exploring the attitude Elizabeth holds towards the institution of marriage ; as marriage was not only an expectation in the times of regency England but a means to secure future financial security , Elizabeth’s outlook that an individual should marry only for the purpose of happiness and love was not only radical but dangerous . Her outlook, while noble, could and did put her family at jeopardy of being cast out from their estate as without a union between one of the Bennet daughters and Mr. Collins, Mr. Collins would have every right to do so as the only male inherent. I also looked at the wider implications Elizabeth’s outlook could have on the lives of the other characters such as Charlotte , Darcy and Bingley .
Step 3: Plan
Contention : Your contention relates to your interpretation of the essay prompt and the stance you’re going to take – i.e. are you in agreement, disagreement, or both to an extent.
While radical for her time, Elizabeth's progressive view of marriage can be seen to advocate for the rights of women and love and happiness but also, can jeopardise the livelihoods of those around her as Elizabeth is guided by selfish motives.
P1: The radical view of marriage Elizabeth holds can be viewed as selfish and guided by her own self interest which is shown to negatively impact the lives of her family.
P2: As Elizabeth diverts from the traditional approach to marriage, she encourages her friends and loved ones to follow their own hearts and morals rather than society's expectations.
P3: Because Elizabeth is depicted as a bold and beautiful woman, she is unable to recognise that her radical view is a luxury that not all characters have access to.
If you'd like to see an A+ essay on the essay topic above, complete with annotations on HOW and WHY the essays achieved A+ so you can emulate this same success, then you'll definitely want to check out our Pride and Prejudice Study Guide: A Killer Text Guide! In it, we also cover themes, characters, views and values, metalanguage and have 4 other sample A+ essays completely annotated so you can kill your next SAC or exam! Check it out here ."
For a detailed guide on Language Analysis, what you're expected to cover, how to prepare for your SAC and Exam and more, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Language Analysis .
[Modified Video Transcription]
Today we're going to go through the 2019 past VCAA English Exam ( grab a copy of the exam here so you can analyse with me). As you probably know, if you've watched my videos before, you always want to make sure you read the background information when it comes to Analysing Argument.
I'm going to use Analysing Argument and Language Analysis interchangeably by the way, but I'm talking about the same thing okay?
The background information is pretty important because it gives you context for what is happening in this article. Without reading the background information, you might just head in there and possibly even come up with an entirely different context altogether, which might screw over your actual analysis and the author's intention. So, never skip the background information. Make sure that you read it and also pick out the gems that you find in it.
What I've always found is background information is great for picking keywords - words I might want to use throughout my own Language Analysis. It also has really good details about the article. In this case, you can see that there's a member of the public who has responded, which tells us a little bit about the author; it's a 'response' as well, so there's going to be two articles; it's an advertorial - an advertorial is a paid advertisement that looks like an article (I'll use the word advertorial as I'm describing the article in my introduction), and, I also know where it's been published. This is already really good information for you to start using in your introduction.
Finding Your Own Interpretation
Let's move into the analysis itself. By the way, this is my first time doing this analysis, so we're doing it together. What you'll find is that I come up with particular interpretations that you might not have come up with. I might miss something, you might miss something, and what you'll find is my interpretation is not the only interpretation out there. If you come up with something else, it's totally fine for you to go ahead and analyse it, as long as you can back it up. This is what English is all about, so don't stress if I haven't matched up with you in exactly what I'm saying. You can also use my interpretation as a double interpretation. So, what you could do is go into your essay, write your interpretation and if mine compounds on top of yours pretty well, if it's a great addition to what you're saying, add it in and bam! You're showing your examiner that, you're somebody who can look at one particular technique from several different perspectives and that's kind of cool.
Moving on to the Analysis
So, 'A Better, Faster Shopping Experience'. From what I can already see here is there's this sense of convenience already being brought up. Now, at this point in time, I don't know what the point of that convenience is, but I know for me as a shopper, if I can get something for a better experience and I can get it done faster, then hells yeah, I am all for that. Think about yourself in the reader's shoes, after all, you really are the reader reading this article. Think about how it's starting to impact you.
I've done a video about the TEE rule previously that goes through T echnique, E xample and the intended E ffect on the audience. Make sure you're familiar with that because I will use a lot of that in today's analysis.
'An open letter to our valued customers. As you know, Hailey's Local Store is not your average grocery store.'
Interesting. The 'As you know' is pretty familiar. It's this familiarity that this person is sharing with us (the author's name is Hailey, so I'll just say Hailey). She says 'As you know, Hailey's Local Store is not your average grocery store' and repeating that familiar 'As you know' reminds the audience - us - of our long-term relationship with the store. So, in a sense, she's drawing upon our good will and our trust in the local shop, which creates this differentiation between herself (as somebody who's more proactive and customer-centric) and your bigger grocery stores.
'We're a little bit different - we always put our customers first.'
At this point, we start to feel valued. We know that we are her priority. Her priority isn't about profits, which a lot of stores are about, it's about the people, and as a result, we're more inclined to look at her in a favourable way.
'We offer lots of healthy meals, many specials, locally source food and, as you know, we abolished plastic carry bags four years ago - long before the big stores.'
This whole sentence is pretty good because it shows us that she is somebody who is forward-thinking and she has actually carried through with her claim that she puts her customer first. We know that because she follows it up with:
'Why did we do those things? Because you told us that was what you wanted and needed.'
She's got historical proof of putting customers first, which again, serves to build this rapport and relationship between Hailey and us as her customers.
If I look at the first paragraph as a whole, I see that she's building this up, she's setting this up in a particular way and whatever direction she's going to head in next, we're more inclined to follow her, to believe in her and to support her because she's shown us that she has supported us first. She's helped us out, so why can't we help her out? Again, I haven't read the rest of this article yet so these are just the thoughts that are going through my mind as I'm reading this first paragraph - just to give you a little bit of insight into my brain.
In this first paragraph, I can see that she's using a pretty welcoming and warm tone. If you have a look at the photograph that's been placed at the top of this article - and remember that with particular images they're strategically placed, so if it's placed at the start of the article versus at the end, think about how that impacts your perception of the photograph - for me, the first thing I see when I look at this article is the photo and I see a smiling happy owner. As you can see, the first paragraph serves to back up this photograph as well, with what she's talking about in terms of prioritising customers and valuing customers. You can also see products behind her, which look fresh and full and her shelves are full, so in that sense, it furthers this impression of the local and grounded nature of the store. It feels homey and this invites that comfort and trust from us.
Then, as we move into our second paragraph, I'm seeing a lot of exclamation marks, which gives me the sense of this upbeat, exciting environment, or even tone you could say. I think she's doing this because she wants us to jump on board with cashless payments as well, and to not see them as something that's a burden for us. She ties the advantages of cashless payments directly to the customer’s experience of the store by frequently repeating personal terms, such as 'you' and 'your' throughout these first couple of paragraphs. By the way, I'm not going to write down all the language analysis, because I think there's just not enough space, but me chatting about it with you is good enough. Let's move onto the next paragraph.
'you won't need to go rummaging through your bags for coins. You won't ever have to worry that you don't have the cash to cover your essential food supplies - your card will ensure that you do'.
Not only is she highlighting the advantage. Here, she's arguing for the advantages of cashless payments by showing you the inconveniences of having cash in phrases like 'you won't need to' and 'you won't ever have to'. I also like the phrase 'rummaging through your bags for coins'. It gives this sense of how cumbersome the nature of physical money is in comparison to cashless payments.
In the next paragraph, she highlights cashless payments with the words 'Simple!' which reiterates her point (from the previous paragraph) about how cumbersome coins can be. She finishes off this paragraph with a 'Welcome to the twenty-first century.', so there's this sense of being forward in her decisions and that we should be as well - because nobody wants to be left behind in history. A lot of us like to think of ourselves as people who are open-minded, open to change and will take up things that are better for us, things that are more convenient for us.
So, she's saying that this is it for twenty-first century, join us over here rather than way back when, when we had to use coins. She also highlights 'mobile phone[s]', 'smart watch', 'smart ring' - many things that a lot of people have and this just compounds that idea of, 'yeah, this is a no brainer' essentially. Why shouldn't you move to cashless payments if you're already immersed in this tech world of having mobile phones, smart watches, smart rings, etc.?
She moves into talking about the wider economic context of Australia in this next paragraph. That sense of time I was talking about, comparing the now - the twenty-first century - with a decade ago, you can see that link right here. It's very obvious now. She creates a strong impression of societal inevitability of this technological change, especially because she cites statistics - '70 per cent of household spending was in cash; now it's half of that.' I can see in the next paragraph that she uses expert opinion as well - the 'Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia'. This all connects to this main phrase that we are in a ‘turning point’ now, that cash will be rapidly phased out until we become a cashless society and we should join her; we should make moves on this otherwise we're going to get left behind.
I like that she's bringing in Australia because it also brings in this additional sense of pride on our behalf. We're Australians, we're proud that we've been one of the biggest users of electronic payments in the world, we're the ones who are making waves, we're the ones who are putting our feet forward first. So, you could talk about appeal to patriotism here as well. It's interesting because here she says that she's a leader, or
'We've always tried to be a leader in our community and respond to our customer's needs.'
What do you think when you think of a leader? Typically for me, I admire leaders. They're somebody I look up to and I want to follow in their footsteps essentially. So by positioning herself as a leader, I think that's pretty interesting because she's telling us, ‘Hey, I've done all this thinking, I have initiative, I am forward-thinking, so come with me, join with me on this cashless payments movement.’
'you'll breeze through a check-out'
I like the word 'breeze through', or just 'breeze' because it connects again, back to this idea of convenience with a faster shopping experience, and it is juxtaposed against that cumbersomeness of 'rummaging through...bags for coins'. Something to think about is: as you analyse an article, you don't just have to analyse it chronologically or talk about it chronologically in your essay either. If you see things that connect later on, connect them in your essay and put them together, because what you're showing your examiner is that you can see not just the minor details - i.e. language techniques in each sentence - but you can actually zoom out and see the overall picture, how the arguments are coming together and how she's structuring her piece so that we walk away with a certain perspective. Think about that in a two-step method. There's the zoom in where we're looking at sentence by sentence and what techniques are there, which is basically what we've been doing, but at the same time, you can zoom out and have a look at how the different techniques all come together and work as a whole. If this is something that you're not too comfortable with just yet, just stick with the chronological order and working through the sort of minor details. And then on your next read, you can read through with the focus of, 'okay, what if I was to look at this from a more holistic perspective?'
We talk about this 'zoom in' and 'zoom out' technique in How To Write A Killer Text Response .
Ahh! I didn't even look ahead enough, there are more words and more phrases that connect to the idea of convenience and ease. It’s 'faster', ‘will save you time', 'safer' as well?! There's a new appeal. It's not necessarily new, it's just a different angle you could come from. If you wanted to talk about the sense of security, that appeal to safety, then you could do that as well.
'it means not having to spend hours sorting, storing and securing cash'
So, more cumbersome notions. And then in comparison,
'more time', 'We understand the concerns a minority of our customers may have.'
I love when they do this, acknowledging the opposition essentially is what she's doing. She's saying, ‘yup, like, I can hear you, not all customers want this. Some of you don't.’ And my assumption is that she's going to back it up with her own rebuttal. This not only pulls along the people who are already supportive of her, but she's also trying to pull along those who are a little bit more sceptical of this idea of cashless payments. So let's see, she says,
'What if you prefer cash, don't feel comfortable using credit or debit cards, or don't have a mobile phone or smart watch? We don't want to leave anyone out. For the next three months we will offer cashless payments, but still accept cash to people to give people time to adjust.'
It's interesting because she is again, building up this position of hers, where she is friendly, she is helpful, she is thoughtful and she cares about her community. Something you could also say, and this is if you're looking at things more pessimistically, is that she's doing this more so for herself. By saying that these people have three months, there's this unspoken pressure that's happening as well. She's putting pressure on the minority and emphasising the supposed inevitability of a cash-free shopping experience. Even by just saying 'minority' that's in a way applying pressure as well, because it's saying that you are part of this smaller group, the smaller group of people who won't come with us or have not yet come with us, so join us. There's a very clear expectation that these customers need to adapt and catch up.
Want to see these ideas and annotations turned into a full A+ essay?
If you want more, I have also got a fully written up 2019 essay based on the articles that we're analysing today in my How To Write A Killer Language Analysis study guide. In that study guide, not only do I have the essay for 2019, I also have a fully written up essay for the 2017 & 2020 VCAA English Exams , and we're always working on adding ones from future years as well. Plus, there's heaps of sample A-plus essays in there already and heaps of information that I think will be super helpful for you before you move into your SAC. So please, go ahead and check that out! It's loaded with value and I know it'll be worth your money.
1. What do Year 10s Learn in English?
2. year 10 english curriculum breakdown, 3. year 10 english texts, 4. how to get good marks in year 10 english.
Year 10 English is when the Pre-VCE year kicks in. Most schools will treat it as an opportunity to expose you to the VCE curriculum, but with Year 10 level texts. This means they’ll cover the same assessment tasks and begin teaching you the skills you need to have by the time you get to VCE.
Other schools will use this year to prepare students for the different English subjects that are offered at the VCE level, so they can decide by the end of the year. These may include VCE English/EAL, VCE Literature and VCE English Language.
For this blog, we’ll focus on the current Victorian Year 10 Curriculum (this will be updated as they change).
Similar to the VCE years (Year 11-12), most Year 10’s will be expected to complete the following assessment tasks:
- Comparative text response
- Creative (with a written explanation)
Under each area of study, there will be key skills that you will need to learn to nail the accompanying assessment tasks.
Considering what you would have learnt in Year 9, Year 10 builds on those skills a bit further. Fundamentally, you would need to provide more detail whenever you’re expected to analyse evidence or provide an explanation and there will be specific essay structures your teacher will want you to follow. This may vary depending on your school.
Check out ' What should Year 9 students expect when they enter Year 10 ' for a more in depth breakdown of the Year 9 to 10 transition!
Let’s break down each assessment task you’re expected to complete as mentioned above.
Watch our video What kind of assessments can you expect at a Year 10 level!
Many Year 10 students will be introduced to the world of annotations when going through the text response unit. This is because the text will need to be understood inside out for you to score highly on the essay.
When you begin annotating your text, look for the following:
- Key ideas explored by the author
- Characterisation and character transformation
- Social/Historical/Cultural/Political context
- Stylistic features used by the author, such as symbolism, motifs, etc.
- Words you don’t understand (and then define them)
To help you have a better understanding of your text, teachers will usually assign you comprehension questions about your text and that will be their way of easing you into writing analytical body paragraphs.
Examples of prompts you may receive for text response include:
- ‘Night paints a vivid picture of a broken society in a broken place.’ Discuss.
- ‘Holden’s critique of phonies in The Catcher in the Rye is his way of critiquing society.’ Do you agree?
As important as the keywords are in the prompt, you need to be able to identify the type of prompt you have chosen to answer. Similarly, you must take some time to familiarise yourself with the task words that commonly pop up in prompts.
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Text Response to get a more specific idea of HOW you can smash out this essay.
Comparative Text Response
This is oftentimes deemed to be the most difficult area of study students will complete in English. Instead of just interpreting and analysing one text, you’re now presented with two texts you will need to find common ideas and themes to discuss.
To get in the high-scoring range you will need to do the following to help you stand out from the rest of your classmates:
- Constantly form links between the texts and the prompt you’re answering
- Consistent and detailed comparison throughout the essay between the two texts
- Be able to demonstrate a depth understanding of the texts
- Refer back to the writer’s views and values (their intention/message to the reader)
- Explore the different ideas expressed by the author
- Examine HOW the author has created certain effects on the reader , taking into consideration their use of narrative and stylistic choices
- Use relevant metalanguage
We also have The Ultimate Guide to VCE Comparative to help you break down HOW you can best prepare for this assessment task.
If you would like to know the pros and cons of the different comparative essay structures you can follow, check out this blog .
This particular assessment will generally be based on the text you have studied with your class. It may be a collection of short stories, a novel, poems, etc. The majority of the time, teachers will expect you to pick one of the characters from the text and write an alternate plot for them while also mirroring the style of the original text .
Sometimes, teachers will allow you to pick the story and character you get to focus on, other times, they’ll provide you with a list you can choose from. If you’re given free rein for this task, check out our creative ideas you can adopt.
A written explanation usually accompanies this assessment task as well. This is where you break down your creative task for your teacher, sharing with them your purpose for writing it the way you have. You will address your language choices, themes, literary devices used, intended audience, etc. This tends to be around 200 words in length. Here’s a blog that explains HOW you can write the best written explanation.
Some more creative writing resources to help you out with this assessment:
- How To Achieve A+ In Creative Writing
- How YOU Can Be A Better Creative Writer! For ANY Student
- 11 Mistakes High School Students Make In Creative Writing
Mimicking the analysing argument essay you will need to complete in both Year 11 and Year 12, you will be expected to:
- Demonstrate your understanding and knowledge of both written and visual features of persuasion in your analysis (this is where the intended effect of the writer comes into play)
- Be able to identify and explain your assumptions with sophistication
- Show insightful knowledge of both explicit and implicit meaning within the texts
- Prove that you know HOW language choices can influence the audience
- Use relevant metalanguage (this may include persuasive devices, language or visual techniques)
Some schools like to pick a specific issue to focus on, for instance, social media. All of the articles and tasks they assign their students to analyse will then be focused on this issue. Other schools will expose their students to a variety of different issues. Either way, you will be exposed to a variety of persuasive material and forms, including opinion pieces, speech transcripts, editorials, cartoons , etc. This is elaborated on in The Ultimate Guide to VCE Language Analysis .
Different schools will teach different analysis techniques. One of the most common ones includes the WHAT-HOW-WHY method . This will be applicable when you move into Year 11 and 12 English too.
Introductions for this particular essay are just as straightforward and can be quite formulaic. Check out our YouTube video on how to write an A+ language analysis introduction to learn the elements you need in an argument analysis introduction. If you’re curious about the writing process for the entire essay, then check out this video .
A lot of the time in Year 10, you will also be unpacking media advertisements. This will tie into the argument analysis area of study.
Here, you may be analysing HOW and WHY advertisements are created the way they are and the choices made by the creator to influence the specific target audience. Sometimes, you will also have the opportunity to create your own! If this is the case, you will also most likely write up a written explanation of around 200-300 words explaining the choices you have made.
As you would have read in The Ultimate Guide to Year 9 English, reading is one of the most important skills that need to be maintained as you progress through high school.
Here is a list of 10 texts many students at a Year 10 level may have read:
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
How many of these texts can you tick off the list?
a) Knowing Where to Start
Of course, it’s important to acknowledge your strengths in English; however, to improve upon your marks and do even better, you will also need to fine-tune your weaknesses . Merely relying on strengths won’t be enough anymore.
Identify the skills you need to improve and be specific!
For example, ‘I need to make my introductions shorter and simpler’ or ‘I will plan my essay more extensively so I will know which pieces of evidence will be relevant for each body paragraph.’
If this is the case, writing a million essays won’t get you to where you want to be. It would be inefficient and a waste of everyone’s time. Hone down your focus to one or two things , instead of every skill that falls under essay writing.
Referring back to the above example, if you want to make your introductions shorter and simpler, read through a few sample high-scoring introductions and test them you can adopt for an introduction and know which one will work best for you. Or if your pain point is the planning process, compile different essay planning templates and use them in your essay planning so you can narrow down your options for different types of prompts.
This way, starting small will help you improve without overwhelming you so much. Check out How I Went From Average To A+ In High School English to get that boost of motivation and confidence before you embark on this learning journey.
As you do this, don’t forget to keep in mind the 7 Deadly (English Writing) Sins you should always avoid!
b) Work With Your Teacher
As we’ve explained in our Instagram post on the feedback loop , getting feedback for your essay or paragraph from your teacher and tutors will also help you improve much faster !
If you’re not familiar with the essay writing feedback loop process, it goes:
- Step 1: Write a paragraph(s) or essay
- Step 2: Get input on what works and fix what doesn’t (this input can come from your teacher and/or tutor)
- Step 3: Redraft or write a new one to test your skills
- Step 4: Repeat
Whether it’s just a plan, an introduction, a body paragraph or even a complete essay, taking the initiative to seek help from your teacher will provide you with clarity on what it is you need to be working on. This is crucial if you want to jump from a C grade to an A+.
Each time you write a practise essay or paragraph, you should have a goal in mind so you know what you’re trying to improve upon. This way, you can cut down your workload and reduce study time !
I would recommend you do this as many times as necessary until you get that 10/10 essay so you can use it as a template or model essay in the future!
c) Write Under Timed Conditions
Even though a lot of the time in Year 10, teachers will be a bit more lenient so they’ll permit you to bring in a cheat sheet into the exam or assessment. However, that doesn’t always mean you’ll be able to finish on time, so it’ll serve you best to do some additional practise essays under timed conditions.
Some things to look out for when you do practise writing timed essays or paragraphs:
- Ensuring that your handwriting is legible
- Trial and error different types of planning methods to find which suits you best
- Know the essay structure you want to adopt for the particular essay
- Avoid ‘fluff’ (unnecessary details) and get straight to the core idea and analysis since that is where you’ll get the marks
- Practise makes perfect!
Here’s a YouTube video that details how you can go about writing 3 essays in 3 hours which you’ll eventually need to do!
At LSG, we have the most qualified tutors who have received the marks you’re after who can walk you through your high school English journey with you.
What will we offer you?
- Regular English advice and support (whether that is homework help, essay feedback or if you just want to go the extra mile and get ahead with your English studies)
- A specialised LSG Signature Program that can cater to your goals and help you develop the knowledge and get all the consistent writing practise you need
- Guidance as we work through the necessary writing skills and strategies that will get you the A+ you desire
- Access to exclusive LSG resources that will save you time creating your own notes (planning and writing templates, sample high-scoring essays, and so much more!)
If you want more information on why you should pick us, check out our tutoring page . Otherwise, click here to express your interest today!
- Plot Summaries
- Textual Features Analysis
- Themes (Convergent and Divergent Strategy)
- LSG’s Bubble Tea (BBT) Strategy for Unique Strategies
- Sample Essay Questions
For a detailed guide on Comparative, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Comparative.
1. Plot Summaries
In Stasiland , Anna Funder, the author and first-person narrator , meets and listens to the ordinary people of East Germany : those who resisted the GDR dictatorship, those who were crushed by it, and those who diligently and remorselessly worked for it as Stasi informants or officers. As Anna speaks with those whose lives have been traumatised by the Stasi, she reflects on how the reunified Germany has dealt with (or ignored) its citizens' trauma and whether memory can be reconciled . Anna is an Australian working for a television station in Berlin in 1996. As an outsider Anna is uniquely positioned to ask East Germans about their experiences , as they do not have to battle with prior knowledge and experience to share their stories. She is interested in the former German Democratic Republic and what has happened to the East German people since the country reunified with West Germany. She became curious after learning that there are people putting together documents that were shredded by the Stasi.
Anna travels to Leipzig and visits the former headquarters of East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi, which is now a museum. The Stasi were the East German secret police and internal surveillance and defense force . Headed by Erich Mielke, they conducted surveillance on the East German population, aided by a vast number of civilian informants. While in Leipzig, Anna meets with a woman called Miriam Weber, who attempted to sneak out of East Germany when she was just a teenager. Miriam, sleep deprived and tortured, lied about receiving help from an organisation to cross the Wall and was sentenced to jail time. Her husband Charlie was also imprisoned by the Stasi and died while in custody. Miriam was told he committed suicide by hanging, but she suspects he was killed after the Stasi refused to show her his body and went to great lengths to hide Charlie during the funeral.
Returning to the apartment she rents in Berlin, Anna puts an advertisement in the paper calling for former Stasi agents and informers to share their stories with her. She meets with several ex-Stasi men, including Herr Winz, Herr Christian, Herr Bohnsack and Hagen Koch. She also visits and speaks to Karl-Eduard von Schitzler, a hateful man who hosted a propaganda-filled television program that criticised West Germany and gave false information about Communist success. In their discussions the former Stasi agents are concerned with justifying their involvement with the Stasi, although many also remain committed to communist ideals and await with anticipation the next revolution and restoration of the communist government.
Anna rents her apartment from an unpredictable and evasive young woman called Julia. Over time, Julia comes to trust Anna and shares her story of the Stasi cruelly interfering with her life. Anna also speaks with her rock musician friend Klaus Renft – East Germany’s Mick Jagger, and a woman named Frau Paul who was separated overnight from her sick infant son when the Berlin Wall went up and was later imprisoned for inflated charges of assisting people to escape East Germany.
After Anna’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, she goes home to Australia for 3 years, returning to Berlin to meet with some of the people she spoke with during her earlier stay, including Hagen Koch and Miriam. She also finally visits the ‘puzzlers’ in Nuremberg, whose story first sparked her interest in investigating the lives of East Germans affected by the Stasi. Anna is disappointed in the puzzlers, realising that their work is futile and there is no real effort put towards uncovering the lost information.
Almost all East Germans were left reeling at the sudden collapse of their government. For many, the collapse of the GDR took with it ideological security and made them nostalgic for the past. For others, being confronted with the level of the Stasi’s intrusion into their lives was deeply traumatic, as people realised they had been grievously betrayed by their fellow citizens, neighbours and even family members. The nostalgia for the regime that Funder witnesses shows how people cling to certainty and position and sometimes struggle with new freedoms. However, having spoken with so many individuals whose lives were ruined by the Stasi, Anna feels that the old regime was oppressive and authoritarian, and that the East Germans are better off with the challenges of their freedom, rather than stuck with the certainties of their oppression.
Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go is set in a dystopian alternative reality in England in the 1990s. The narrator, Kathy H, is a thirty-one-year-old 'carer' – a clone who looks after other clones who are donating their organs. Kathy is about to retire after a long career as a carer to become a donor herself, meaning she will soon 'complete' ( a euphemism for dying ). However, this premise is not immediately apparent to the reader . At the start of the novel, Kathy informs us she will be leaving her role as carer in a few months and has started to write down memories of her life, sorting through her time as a 'student' at Hailsham. However, at the start of the novel the reader is not aware that Kathy is a clone, although she appears to be addressing an insider from her world.
In the first third of the novel Kathy reflects on her childhood and teenage years at Hailsham . Hailsham is an institution where clones are looked after by 'guardians' and referred to as 'students', and which at first appears to be a private boarding school with a heavy focus on the arts and creativity. Their best works of painting, pottery, drawing or poetry were selected and taken away by a woman known as 'Madame', for what the students presume, and what is later confirmed to be, a gallery. The students know they are different from their guardians and the people who live outside Hailsham, referred to as 'normals', but the truth of what the clones are and their certain fate is not fully articulated until the characters are adults.
Kathy is close friends with a confident and controlling girl called Ruth and a boy named Tommy, whose work is never selected for the Gallery – an acknowledgement that defines status at the school. Tommy, teased and excluded, struggles to control his temper and often explodes into furies of rage. The students collect items and other students’ artwork for their own memory boxes , bought or traded at the school’s Exchanges and Sales. Kathy buys a cassette tape by a woman named Judy Bridgewater that contains a song called ‘Never Let Me Go’. This song makes Kathy emotional, and one day she is caught dancing to it by Madame, who Kathy is surprised to see is in tears watching her. Kathy presumes Madame is upset because she knows Kathy can never have children.
Ruth and Tommy start dating and Part Two sees the three friends reach early adulthood and move to a place known as the Cottages, to live with other clones from around the country and experience some freedom before beginning their donations or training to become a carer. When Rodney, another Cottage resident, believes he saw Ruth’s 'possible' – an original that one of the clones was modelled off – the three friends along with Rodney and his girlfriend Chrissie, take a trip to Norfolk to find her. Norfolk exists in the imagination of the Hailsham students as a 'lost corner', where things they have lost will be found. While the 'possible' is not Ruth’s original, Kathy and Tommy find a copy of the Judy Bridgewater tape that Kathy had lost. Ruth was secretly desperate to find her possible and hoped to find her working in an office. Ruth dreams of working in an office and her wish that her possible will be an office worker is one of the only suggestions we have that the clones secretly long for more from their lives and view their possibles as versions of them and what they are capable of. Back at the Cottages, Ruth continues to be manipulative and self-promoting, leading to a falling out with Kathy where she decides to leave early to begin training as a carer and falls out of contact with Ruth and Tommy.
Part Three encompasses Kathy’s time as a carer. Years after the time at the Cottages, Kathy organises to be Ruth’s carer and Ruth reconnects Kathy and Tommy, admitting she knew they loved each other and deliberately kept them apart. She hopes they will attempt to get a deferral from Madame. After Ruth 'completes', Kathy and Tommy finally become a couple. They visit Madame to ask for a deferral, who informs them there is no such thing. They learn from Madame that Hailsham was an attempt to reform the treatment of clones in their youth by proving they had souls . In most centers, clones are reared in deplorable, abusive conditions. They also learn that Hailsham had to be shut down. The normals became too uncomfortable with the reality of the clones’ souls but were not prepared to lose their organ supply. Never Let Me Go is a story about injustice and social stratification, where one group is made to suffer for the benefit of another. The 'normals' can deny their mortality while forcing the clones to confront their death sooner than their natural life span , and by shutting down schools like Hailsham, they do not need to think about the ethics of their choices.
Tommy dies and Kathy resigns herself to her fate as a donor. At the end of the novel, Kathy misses Tommy and Ruth, but consoles herself that she will always have her memories with her . Ishiguro explores the extent to which people accept their predetermined fate and how they can find meaning and love within those often-cruel limitations.
2. Textual Features Analysis
A textual feature is a component of the text used by authors to give meaning to their work. It is necessary to engage with the actual construction of the texts and to discuss textual features using metalanguage (terms that describe and analyse language). To write a thorough and thoughtful essay, you need to understand the textual features and how they are connected to overall thematic ideas. Structural features and metalanguage can be used as evidence of authorial intent and deepen our understanding of how writers use literary techniques to develop ideas and create meaning. Let’s take a look at Genre .
Stasiland is an example of creative nonfiction, meaning it tells a story of factual events and real people using literary and poetic techniques. The word ‘creative’ doesn’t give authors permission to exaggerate or dramatise the truth, instead this genre is one of factually accurate prose about real people and events that is told in a vivid and compelling way.
The reason Stasiland is classified as creative nonfiction and not under the genre of memoir is because although the events follow Anna Funder’s experiences in Berlin, they are not predominantly about her. A memoir is the writer’s own personal journey and life, whereas creative nonfiction generally has more public relevance and commentary. In Stasiland , Funder’s experiences in Berlin structure the chronology of the narrative but take a thematic backseat to the stories of the East Germans she meets and the historical events she relays .
Never Let Me Go has elements of multiple genres: dystopian fiction, speculative historical fiction, science fiction and bildungsroman.
‘Dystopia’ means the opposite of ‘utopia’, but you’ll notice that most dystopian novels are set in societies where the ruling classes believe they are in a utopia. This is true of Never Let Me Go , as the clones pay with their lives and freedom for the utopian elimination of disease and extended life spans of the 'normals '. However, while clearly set in a horrific dystopian world, Never Let Me Go notably differs from other novels in the dystopian genre, as the oppressed clones never once consider rebelling against the status quo – the most Kathy and Tommy hope for is an extension before beginning their donations and 'completing'. Ishiguro has stated in multiple interviews that he was most interested in exploring why oppressed persons never consider rebelling against their fate – what leads them to passive acceptance of their position in society?
In his exploration of this question, Ishiguro explores the development and growing up of Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy, trying to understand why they all submit without protest to their fate . In this sense the novel is a bildungsroman. Bildungsroman is a genre concerned with the psychological and moral development of a protagonist from childhood to adulthood, focusing on a person’s formation or coming of age. Never Let Me Go follows Kathy, Ruth and Tommy throughout their childhood and adolescence at Hailsham, their experience of limited freedom at the Cottages as young adults, and finally the reality of their short adult life as organ donors.
Of course, Never Let Me Go also fits into the category of speculative historical fiction and science fiction. The novel is set in an alternate historical reality where genetic science rapidly advanced after World War Two (significantly outstripping the real-world) and clones have been used to extend life in the UK for decades. However, Ishiguro does not give much narrative weight to describing the political reality of his fictional world , and neither does he offer much scientific explanation for the existence of clones. As we’ve already discussed, Ishiguro was vastly more interested in using these scientific and political circumstances to create conditions within which to explore characters and, by extension, human nature, so Never Let Me Go fits uneasily in these genres.
3. Themes (Convergent and Divergent Strategy)
Now that we’ve looked closely at both Stasiland and Never Let Me Go , it’s time to discuss in depth the key themes and ideas. Themes are the big ideas about human experience that a text explores, and form part of the message the author is hoping to communicate. A sound knowledge of key themes is essential for developing a thoughtful essay. All essay topics will ask you to explore thematic ideas in one way or another. If you have a strong understanding of both texts’ themes and how they are communicated, you will be able to generate arguments for any essay topic with confidence.
I’ll be adhering to the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy. This guide doesn’t go into too much detail about using LSG’s CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy, so perhaps familiarise yourself with it by reading How to Write a Killer Comparative .
Convergent Idea: The Importance of the Act of Remembering
Both Stasiland and Never Let Me Go illustrate the importance of remembering through the very construction of the text: in the narrative voice and narrative structure. Both narrators are looking into the past to try to make sense of history. For Kathy, this is a personal history whereas for Funder it is an act of witnessing a nation’s past and elevating the voices of the victims.
Stasiland is a compilation of the stories of all kinds of people involved and impacted by the GDR , including those who rebelled against the system, those who supported it and those crushed by it. Thus, ‘both sides’ of history are represented. Funder said in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald after the publication of Stasiland that, 'When [Germans] read my book, people in the East are not proud of themselves. They'd rather not be reminded that other people were braver than they were. So there is a huge force to pretend that the Stasi regime was not as bad as it was.' This desire to forget the past so as to ignore confronting the terrible and terrifying truths contained within it is what Funder is working against by writing Stasiland . At one point in the text, she explicitly states what she’s doing:
'I’m making portraits of people, East Germans, of whom there will be none left in a generation. And I’m painting a picture of a city on the old fault-line of east and west. This is working against forgetting, and against time' ( Stasiland , 147).
Julia explains the importance of these portraits, telling Anna 'For anyone to understand a regime like the GDR, the stories of ordinary people must be told. …You have to look at how normal people manage with such things in their pasts' (144). These 'things in their pasts' are not just trauma and hardship, but the knowledge that people just like them – their spouses, children, friends and neighbours – were capable of such cowardice, betrayal, self-interest and cruelty. It is this knowledge that Funder wants to preserve – that ordinary people are capable of both extraordinary courage and extraordinary cowardice .
Anna comes across a sobbing man 'I don’t want to be German anymore!...We are terrible…They are terrible. The Germans are terrible' ( Stasiland , 253-4). Anna reflects that East Germans were 'long used to thinking the bad Germans were on the other side of the Wall' and now he is forced to ask 'were his people, now broke or drunk, shamed or fled or imprisoned or dead, any good at all?' ( Stasiland , 254).
Although Kathy’s narration is entirely from her perspective , her act of remembering is also in many ways a political statement that forces us to consider the inhumanity people are capable of .
Kathy recollects and structures her memories of her childhood and relationships to understand them as a unified whole, essentially establishing her identity . More importantly, it is evident in phrases such as 'I don’t know how it was where you were, but at Hailsham…' ( NLMG , 13) and 'I’m sure you’ve heard it said plenty more' ( NLMG , 4) that Kathy is positing a reader for her writing. Assuming a reader places her autobiography in a social framework with the purpose of communicating her life , which turns it into a historical account that exists beyond the limit of her death. Kathy’s attempt to leave a legacy by writing down her experiences and structuring her identity is an act of protest against a society that believes she is sub-human , without feelings or motivations, and that her life meant nothing.
Divergent Idea: The Role and Value of Nostalgia
The way memory can be distorted is particularly clear in relation to the idea of nostalgia for a brutal past. This idea is explored differently in Stasiland and Never Let Me Go , with Funder condemning nostalgia as blinding people to the horrors of the past, and Ishiguro illustrating how drawing comfort from the past can help people through difficult times .
In Stasiland , many disaffected former East Germans tell Anna that things were 'so much better before' ( Stasiland , 251) the country’s reunification. Anna reflects:
'I don’t doubt this genuine nostalgia, but I think it has coloured a cheap and nasty world golden; a world where they was nothing to buy, nowhere to go and anyone who wanted to do anything with their lives other than serve the Party risked persecution, or worse' ( Stasiland , 251-2).
Similarly, while working at the radio station on Ostalgie parties ( Ostalgie is nostalgia for life in Communist East Germany), Miriam observes 'a crazy nostalgia for the GDR – as if it had been a harmless welfare state that looked after people’s needs. Most of the people at these parties are too young to remember the GDR anyway. They are just looking for something to yearn for' ( Stasiland , 275). Funder is critical of nostalgia because it minimises past injustice .
Conversely, in Never Let Me Go , nostalgia and false memories are shown to be consolatory and even useful. Before Kathy begins to recount her childhood, she mentions a donor who was once under her care who 'knew he was close to completing' ( NLMG , 5). He asks Kathy to share memories of her childhood and 'What he wanted was not just to hear about Hailsham, but to remember Hailsham, just like it had been his own childhood. …so the line would blur between what were my memories and his' ( NLMG , 5). Although this man is falsifying his memories, he is not editing and revising history like some people in east Berlin , he is replacing them entirely to suppress the trauma of his own past. He is not yearning for a return to an idealised past the way some people in Stasiland do. For Kathy, nostalgia for her childhood helps her reconnect with her friends, creating a sense of belonging and identity. Her attachment to Hailsham strengthens her worldview, her relational bonds and gives meaning to her life. Nostalgic memory in Never Let Me Go brings comfort, although you could argue that it also fosters passivity and acceptance in the face of oppression .
4. LSG’s Bubble Tea (BBT) Strategy for Unique Strategies
Why is an interpretation important.
Your interpretation is what English is all about; it’s about getting you to think critically about the essay topic at hand, to formulate a contention (agree, disagree, or sit on the fence) and argue each of your points with the best pieces of evidence you can find - and it’s something you might already be starting to do naturally.
In this section, we aim to help you develop your own interpretation of the text, rather than relying on your teacher, tutor or even a study guide (including this one) author’s interpretation. By developing your own interpretation, you become a better English student by:
- Writing with meaning. For a text to be interpreted, you need a text and an interpreter (i.e. you!). Whenever we read a new text, our interpretation of a text is shaped by our pre-existing beliefs, knowledge and expectations. This should be reassuring because it means that you can leverage your own life experiences in developing a unique interpretation of the text! We’ll show you how this works in the next point.
- Remembering evidence (quotes or literary devices) more easily. If you know you admire a character for example (which is in itself an interpretation 😉), you can probably remember why you admire them. Perhaps the character’s selflessness reminds you of your Dad (see how you’re using real life experiences mentioned in Point 1 to develop an interpretation of the text?). You will then more easily recall something the character said or did in the text (i.e. evidence) that made you admire them.
- Having an analysis ready to use alongside the evidence. As a result of Point 2 , you’ll be able to write a few sentences based on your own interpretation. Rather than memorising entire essays ( we’ve talked about this before ) and regurgitating information from teachers, tutors, study guides and other resources - which can be labour intensive and actually detract from the originality of your essay - you’re approaching the essay with your own thoughts and opinions (which you can reuse over and over again across different essay topics).
Let’s look on the flip side. What happens when you don’t have your own interpretation?
When you don’t take the time to actively think for yourself - i.e. to think through your own interpretations (we’ve talked about the importance of THINK in the THINK and EXECUTE strategy here ) - when it finally comes to writing an essay, you may find it difficult:
a) to get started - formulating a contention in response to the essay topic is challenging because you have no strong opinion about the text ,
b) complete the essay - writing up arguments and using evidence in paragraphs becomes challenging because you have no strong opinion about the text ,
c) to score higher marks - ultimately, you end up regurgitating other people’s ideas (your teacher’s, tutor’s or from study guides) because you have (you guessed it) no strong opinion on the text .
Having your own interpretation means that you’ll eliminate issues a, b and c from above. Overall, you’ll have opinions (and therefore contentions) ready for any prompt when you go into your SACs or exams, which means it’ll be easier not only to write a full essay, but an original and insightful one as well.
To overcome the issues above, you need to be confident with your own interpretation of the text. This doesn’t come naturally to a lot of students, and it makes sense why. After all, so many subjects reward specific answers (2 + 2 = 4), whereas English is tricky because there’s so much more flexibility in what constitutes a ‘correct answer’. It’s scary treading the sea of different possible interpretations because you’ll ask yourself questions like:
- How do I know if my interpretation is correct?
- How do I know if my evidence actually backs up what I’m arguing?
- What if I disagree with my teacher, and they mark me down for a differing opinion?
- Or worse - I’m not smart enough to come up with my own interpretation!
Let me say that you are absolutely smart enough to develop your own interpretation, and I’ll show you how to do so in A Killer Comparative Guide: Stasiland & Never Let Me Go with LSG’s unique strategy - the BUBBLE TEA (BBT) strategy . By following our step-by-step framework, you can be confident that your interpretation is valid, that it backs up your argument, and that most importantly, you won’t lose marks for it!
5. Sample Essay Questions
1. ‘To conform is to be safe and to survive.’ Compare how this idea is examined in both texts.
2. 'The earlier years…blur into each other as a kind of golden time' ( Never Let Me Go ) 'I don’t doubt this genuine nostalgia, but I think it has coloured a cheap and nasty world golden.' ( Stasiland ) Compare what the two texts say about the dangers of willful ignorance.
3. 'For Miriam, the past stopped when Charlie died.' ( Stasiland ) '…I’d see it was Tommy, and he’d wave, maybe even call…and though the tears rolled down my face, I wasn’t sobbing…I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be.' ( Never Let Me Go ) What role do love and relationships play in helping people withstand persecution?
4. ‘It is impossible to be free when you are unaware of your confines.’ Compare how the two texts explore freedom and confinement.
4. ‘The past is always harder to access than we think’. Compare the ways in which Stasiland and Never Let Me Go depict the difficulties in uncovering the past.
As with all our essay topic breakdowns, we'll follow LSG's THINK and EXECUTE strategy , as taught in our How To Write A Killer Text Response study guide. The LSG's THINK and EXECUTE strategy follows three steps in the THINK phase - A nalyse, B rainstorm, and C reate a Plan. Learn more about this technique in this video:
'To remember or forget? Which is healthier? To demolish it or fence it off? To dig it up, or leave it to lie in the ground?' ( Stasiland ). 'What he wanted was not just to hear about Hailsham, but to remember Hailsham, just like it had been his own childhood' ( Never Let Me Go ). How does memory inform identity in Stasiland and Never Let Me Go ?
This quote-based prompt is constructed a bit like a theme-based prompt as it directs us to talk about memory’s role in forming identity. However, the quotes act as an additional hint in terms of what else we’re supposed to discuss. We need to identify where these quotes come from in the texts and why they might be significant. The Stasiland quote (from p. 52) comes from the question of what the nation should do with Hitler’s bunker. In the end the only decision was indecision, the mayor buried the bunker and hoped that people in 50 years might know what to do with it. Thus, this quote points to the difficulty countries have in creating a national identity when there is horror and trauma in their history. The Never Let Me Go quote (from p. 5) points towards an ill donor’s recreation of his identity using someone else’s memories. Therefore, this quote points to how memories, even false ones, can reconstruct individual identity.
Because of the direction of the two quotes, I am going to explore memory’s role in forming individual and group identity.
- Kathy and Julia develop greater self-insight through sharing their memories in a structured, logical narrative.
- Kathy and Herr Koch fear that the loss of the physical presence of Hailsham and the Berlin Wall will undermine the significance of their memories of these places, which form a substantial part of their pasts and identities. They therefore pay much more attention to preserving their memories of these places to affirm their identity.
- East Germany’s rewriting and erasure of history meant that they no longer identified as the same Germans responsible for Hitler’s regime.
- The episode in which a distressed man sobs 'I don’t want to be German anymore!' reveals how difficult memories can generate confusion and internal conflict over an individual’s perception of their national identity.
- In NLMG , the country’s determined forgetting of the circumstances of the clones allows them to preserve their own interests and maintain an uncomplicated, guilt-free, but false, innocent national identity.
P1: Both texts show that the degree to which one’s memories have been investigated and illuminated impacts how well they understand their identity.
- Compare Kathy and Julia and the way they reconstruct their understanding of their identity by reflecting on their memories with the new information offered by hindsight.
- Conversely, the ill donor that Kathy cares for at the beginning of the novel sought to purposefully suppress his own identity by replacing his memories. This speaks to the same idea that memories can evolve and shape identity but shows how that can be misaligned with reality and truth (note: this discussion of the donor is your opportunity to use the quote from the prompt, which is a requirement of a quote-based topic).
P2: Sometimes people hold on tightly to particular memories as a way to affirm their identity as losing those memories is akin to erasing or denying the legitimacy of their experiences.
- Compare Hagen Koch’s obsession with the Berlin Wall and Kathy’s preoccupation with Hailsham.
P3: Choosing what gets remembered or forgotten in a nation’s ‘official history’ drastically impacts how their national identity is perceived and how well that identity aligns with reality.
- 'History was so quickly remade, and so successfully, that it can truly be said that the easterners did not feel then, and do not feel now, that they were the same Germans as those responsible for Hitler’s regime'
- 'I don’t want to be German anymore!'
- 'To remember or forget? Which is healthier?'
- 'The world didn’t want to be reminded how the donation program really worked.'
- 'They preferred to believe these organs appeared from nowhere.'
If you'd like to see the sample A+ essay we wrote up for this essay topic, then you might want to check out our A Killer Comparative Guide: Stasiland & Never Let Me Go study guide !
Finding out that your school has selected to study a Shakespeare play as your section A text can be a pretty daunting prospect. If I’m honest, I wasn’t all too thrilled upon discovering this either...it seemed as though I now not only had to worry about analysing my text, but also understanding what Shakespeare was saying through all of his old-fashioned words.
However, let’s not fret - in this post, I’ll share with you some Measure for Measure specific advice and tactics, alongside excerpts of an essay of mine as a reference.
Before you start reading, How To Approach Shakespeare: A Guide To Studying Shakespeare is a must read for any student studying Shakespeare.
Having a basic understanding of the historical context of the play is an integral part of developing your understanding of Measure for Measure (and is explored further in Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare ). For example, for prompts that open with “What does Shakespeare suggest about…?” or “How does Measure for Measure reflect Shakespeare’s ideas about…?” it can be really helpful to understand Shakespeare’s own position in society and how that influenced his writing.
There’s no need to memorise certain parts of Shakespeare’s history - as that would serve no purpose - just try to gauge an understanding of what life was like in his time. Through understanding Shakespeare’s position in society, we are able to infer his stances on various characters/ideologies in the play.
- Measure for Measure is often regarded as an anti-Puritan satire. Although Shakespeare’s religion has been a subject of much debate and research, with many theories about his faith being brought forward, many believe that he was a secret Catholic. He is believed to be a ‘ secret’ Catholic, as he lived during the rise of the Puritans - those who wished to reform the Church of England and create more of a focus on Protestant teachings, as opposed to Catholic teachings. It was often difficult for Catholics to practice their faith at this time.
- Angelo and Isabella - particularly Angelo, are believed to embody puritanism, as shown through their excessive piety. By revealing Angelo to be “yet a devil,” though “angel on the outward side,” Shakespeare critiques Puritans, perhaps branding them as hypocritical or even unhuman; those “not born of man and woman.” Thus, we can assume that Shakespeare would take a similar stance to most of us - that Angelo wasn’t the greatest guy and that his excessive, unnatural and puritanical nature was more of a flaw than a virtue.
Tips for Moving Past the Generic Examples/Evidence Found in the Play
It’s important to try and stand out with your examples in your body paragraphs. If you’re writing the same, simple ideas as everyone else, it will be hard for VCAA assessors to reward you for that. Your ideas are the most important part of your essay because they show how well you’ve understood and analysed the text - which is what they are asking from you, it’s called an ‘analytical interpretation of a text,’ not ‘how many big words can you write in this essay.’ You can stand out in Measure for Measure by:
1. Taking Note of Stage Directions and Structure of Speech
Many students tend to simply focus on the dialogue in the play, but stage directions can tell you so much about what Shakespeare was really trying to illustrate in his characters.
- For example, in his monologue, I would often reference how Angelo is alone on stage, appearing at his most uninhibited, with his self-interrogation revealing his internal struggle over his newfound lust for Isabella. I would also reference how Shakespeare’s choice of syntax and structure of speech reveal Angelo’s moral turmoil as he repetitively asks himself “what’s this?” indicating his confusion and disgust for his feelings which “unshapes” him.
- Isabella is shown to “[kneel]” by Mariana at the conclusion of the play, in order to ask for Angelo’s forgiveness. This detail is one that is easily missed, but it is an important one, as it is an obvious reference to Christianity, and symbolises Isabella’s return to her “gentle and fair” and “saint” like nature.
2. Drawing Connections Between Characters - Analyse Their Similarities and Differences.
Drawing these connections can be a useful way to incorporate other characters not necessarily mentioned in your prompt. For example, in my own English exam last year, I chose the prompt “ ...Power corrupts both Angelo and the Duke. Do you agree? ” and tried to pair Angelo and Isabella, in order to incorporate another character into my essay (so that my entire essay wasn’t just about two characters).
- A favourite pair of mine to analyse together was Angelo and Isabella. Although at first glance they seem quite different, when you read into the text a little deeper you can find many similarities. For example, while Angelo lives alone in his garden, “succumbed by brick,” requiring “two keys” to enter, “nun,” Isabella, wishes to join the nuns of Saint Clare where she “must not speak with men” or “show [her] face.” Shakespeare’s depiction of the two, stresses their seclusion, piety and restriction from the “vice” plaguing Vienna. What’s important about this point is that you can alter your wording of it to fit various points that you may make. For example, you could use this example to prove to your assessor how Isabella’s alignment with Angelo signals Shakespeare’s condemnation of her excessive puritanical nature (as I did in my body paragraph below) or, you could use these same points to argue how Angelo was once indeed a virtuous man who was similar to the “saint” Isabella, and that it was the power that corrupted him (as you could argue in the 2019 prompt).
- Another great pair is the Duke and Angelo. Although they certainly are different in many ways, an interesting argument that I used frequently, was that they both were selfish characters who abused their power as men and as leaders in a patriarchal society. It is obvious where Angelo did this - through his cruel bribery of Isabella to “lay down the treasures of [her] body,” however the Duke’s behaviour is more subtle. The Duke’s proposal to Isabella at the conclusion of the play, as he asks her to “give [him her] hand,” in marriage, coincides with the revelation that Claudio is indeed alive. It appears that the Duke has orchestrated the timing of his proposal to most forcefully secure Isabella and in this sense, his abuse of power can be likened to Angelo’s “devilish” bribery. This is as, through Shakespeare’s depiction of Isabella, it is evident that she has little interest in marriage; she simply wishes to join a convent where she “must not speak with men,” as she lives a life of “strict restraint.” The Duke is aware of this, yet he demands Isabella to “be [his]”- wishing to take her from her true desire and Shakespeare is able to elucidate Isabella’s distaste through her response to this: silence. By contrasting Isabella’s once powerful voice - her “speechless dialect” that can “move men” - with her silence in response to the Duke’s proposal, Shakespeare is able to convey the depth of the Duke’s selfishness and thus his similarity to Angelo.
We've got a character list for you in Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare (just scroll down to the Character section).
What’s important to realise about these bits of evidence is that you can use them in so many different prompts, provided that you tailor your wording to best answer the topic. For example, you could try fitting at least one of the above examples in these prompts:
- ‘Give me your hand and say you will be mine…’ The characters in ‘ Measure for Measure’ are more interested in taking than giving. Discuss.
- ‘More than our brother is our chastity.' Explore how Shakespeare presents Isabella's attitude to chastity throughout Measure for Measure .
- ‘I have seen corruption boil …' To what extent does Shakespeare explore corruption in Measure for Measure , and by what means?
- ‘Measure or Measure presents a society in which women are denied power.’ Discuss.
How To Kick Start Your Essay with a Smashing Introduction
There’s no set way on how to write an introduction. Lots of people write them in many different ways and these can all do well! This is the best part about English - you don’t have to be writing like the person sitting next to you in order to get a good mark. I personally preferred writing short and sweet introductions, just because they were quick to write and easy to understand.
For example, for the prompt...
“...women are frail too.”
To what extent does ‘Measure for Measure’ examine the flaws of Isabella?
...my topic sentences were...
- Isabella is depicted as a moral, virtuous and pious woman, but it is this aspect of her nature that paradoxically aligns her with the “tyrannous” Angelo.
- Shakespeare explores the hypocrisy and corruption of Isabella as a flaw, as she deviates from her initially “gentle and fair” nature.
- Despite exploring Isabella’s flaws to a large degree, Shakespeare does indeed present her redemption at the denouement of the play.
...and my introduction was:
William Shakespeare’s play, ‘Measure for Measure’ depicts a seventeenth century Viennese society in which disease, misconduct and licentiousness are rife. It is upon a backdrop of such ordeals that Shakespeare presents the character of Isabella, who is initially depicted as of stark contrast to the libertine populate of Vienna. To a considerable extent, ‘Measure for Measure’ does indeed examine the flaws of the “gentle and fair” Isabella, but Shakespeare suggests that perhaps she is not “saint” nor “devil,” rather that she is a human with her own flaws and with her own redeeming qualities.
Instead of rewording my topic sentences, I touched on them more vaguely, because I knew that I wouldn’t get any ‘extra’ points for repeating them twice, essentially. However, if you feel more confident in touching on your topic sentences more specifically - go ahead!! There are so many different ways to write an introduction! Do what works for you!
This body paragraph included my pairing between Angelo and Isabella. My advice would be to continue to incorporate the language used in the prompt. In this paragraph, you can see me use the word “flaw” quite a bit, just in order to ensure that I’m actually answering the prompt , not a prompt that I have studied before.
Isabella is depicted as a moral, virtuous and pious woman, but it is this aspect of her nature that paradoxically aligns her with the “tyrannous” Angelo. Where Angelo is “of ample grace and honour,” Isabella is “gentle and fair.” Where Angelo believes in “stricture and firm abstinence,” Isabella too believes that “most desire should meet the full blow of justice.” This similarity is enhanced by their seclusion from the lecherous society in which they reside. Angelo lives alone in his garden, “succumbed by brick,” requiring “two keys” to enter, whilst Isabella desires the life of a nun where she “must not speak with men” or “show [her] face.” This depiction of both Angelo and Isabella stresses their seclusion, piety and restriction from the “vice” that the libertine populate is drunk from. However, Shakespeare’s revelation that Angelo is “yet a devil” though “angel on the outward side,” is perhaps Shakespeare’s commentary on absolute stricture being yet a facade, a flaw even. Shakespeare presents Isabella’s chastity and piety as synonymous with her identity, which ultimately leaves her unable to differentiate between the two, as she states that she would “throw down [her] life,” for Claudio, yet maintains that “more than our brother is our chastity.” Though virtuous in a sense, she is cruel in another. Although at first glance, Shakespeare’s depiction of Isabella’s excessive puritanical nature appears to be her virtue, by aligning her with the “devil” that is Angelo, it appears that this is indeed her flaw.
Conclude Your Essay by Dazzling Your Assessor!
My main tip for a conclusion is to finish it off with a confident commentary of the entire piece and what you think that the author was trying to convey through their words (in relation to the topic). For example, in pretty much all of my essays, I would conclude with a sentence that referenced the entire play - for example, how it appeared to be such a polarising play, with largely exaggerated, polarising characters/settings (eg. Angelo and the Duke, or the brothels that stood tall next to the monastery):
Ultimately, Shakespeare’s play ‘Measure for Measure,’ depicts Isabella as a multifaceted character. She is not simply one thing - not simply good nor bad - her character’s depiction continues to oscillate between the polar ends of the spectrum. Although yes, she does have flaws, so too does she have redeeming qualities. Though at times deceitful and hypocritical, she too is forgiving and gentle. Thus, as Shakespeare’s play, ‘Measure for Measure,’ does centre on polarising characters in a polarising setting, perhaps through his exploration of Isabella’s flaws alongside her virtues, he suggests that both the good and the bad inhabit us.
Measure for Measure is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .
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Study Help Essay Questions
1. Why did Achebe choose to take the title of his novel, Things Fall Apart , from William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming"?
2. What is the narrator's point of view and what values are important to the narrator?
3. Achebe presents details of daily village life in Umuofia, as well as details concerning the Igbo culture. Describe the setting of the novel.
4. What is chi ? Explain the importance of chi in shaping Okonkwo's destiny.
5. Obierika is a foil for Okonkwo. That is, when compared to Okonkwo, the contrast between the two characters emphasizes the distinctive characteristics of Okonkwo. Compare the two characters — Obierika and Okonkwo.
6. Achebe suggests that Igbo culture is dynamic (constantly changing). Find evidence in the novel to support this notion.
7. What is the significance of Nwoye's Christian name, Isaac?
8. In Things Fall Apart , Achebe includes stories from Igbo culture and tradition, proverbs, and parables. What is the significance of Achebe's integration of African literary forms with that of Western literary forms?
9. Achebe resents the stereotype of African cultures that is presented in literature, such as Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Identify instances in Things Fall Apart that portray variations in African cultures.
10. What is the role of women in the novel?
11. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the social structure portrayed in Things Fall Apart . For example, the culture is polygamous ; the husband, wives, and children live in their own compound; children are cared for communally.
12. Explain why you think Okonkwo kills himself.
13. In your opinion, what contributes most to things falling apart in Umuofia? Explain.
14. How are the womanly or feminine qualities of the Igbo culture important to its survival?
15. Compare Mr. Brown and Reverend Smith. How does the black and white thinking of Reverend Smith contribute to Umuofia's downfall? What would have prevented Umuofia's downfall?
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112 Things Fall Apart Essay Topic Ideas & Examples
🏆 best things fall apart topic ideas & essay examples, 💡 most interesting things fall apart topics to write about, ⭐ good research topics about things fall apart, 👍 simple & easy things fall apart essay titles, ❓ things fall apart essay questions, 💯 free things fall apart essay topic generator.
- Characteristics of Okwonko in Things Fall Apart First, when he bullies his wives and sons in the homestead, he reveals to the white man that, in Africa, a man is the head of the family. Finally, in committing suicide, Okwonko demonstrates to […]
- Things Fall Apart: Ibo Hero Analysis In addition to this, towards the end of the novel, he commits suicide due to the fact that he has no followers when it comes to dealing with the missionaries.
- The Nature of Disturbances in “Things Fall Apart” The author illustrates the disruption of peace by the arrival of white-men in the Igbo community. Nevertheless, the showing up of the white man and Christianity led to a change in this practice, the women […]
- Devotion to Traditions and Culture in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart is a literary work that represents the development of several different ideas like the importance of religion, significance of culture, and power that leads to conflicts of different types; Chinua Achebe made […]
- Things Fall Apart: Collage of Ideas and Main Themes He is not only responsible for his family and each member but he should also care about his clan and the reputation of this clan.
- Themes and Symbolism in Things Fall Apart: Symbols & Examples of Imagery Mother of the Spirits The Mother of the spirits can be viewed as personification by the clan of Umofia and the Mother of Egwugwu.
- Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and the Culture of the Igbo However, when the oracle instructs that Ikemefuna is to be killed, Okonkwo severs his head with a machete even despite the fact that he is warned by the elder that he did not need to […]
- «Things Fall Apart» by Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe Even at the helm of his success, he still remembered how he suffered when his playmate said his father was an agbala.
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe The Umuofia society is religious as it is characterized by the worship of Chuckwu the chief the god, spirits and the ancestors.
- Comparison of Shakespeare the Tempest, T.s. Eliot the Wasteland, and Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart Magic In the opening of the play Prospero is the one who, had conjured the storm in a desire to entice his, brother Antonio and the king of Naples, Alonso.
- Social and Cultural Aspects of Pre-Colonial Africa in Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart The novel emphasize on the encounters of the pre-colonial Africa and the effect of British colonialism during the 19th century. Gender disparity is clear in this village and the crimes are identified with gender where […]
- The European Colonization of Africans in Achebe’s Book “Things Fall Apart” For the last fifty years, these critics have somehow reduced the face value of the text in the book. This forms another set of variation in the face value of the text in the book.
- Post-Colonial Theory in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe We further analyze the individuals and how their actions and activities affect the society’s social culture in relation to the post-colonial society of today.
- Belgian and British Colonial Practices in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe The first distinction is the manner in which the British used to gain control of the people of Umuofia, the village of Okonkwo’s village.
- “Things Fall Apart“ and “Midnight’s Children“: Comparison One of the main qualitative aspects of the ongoing discourse of post-colonialism, is that it often addresses the issue of what can be considered the indications of one’s endowment with the so-called ‘post-colonial’ identity.
- Identity in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe If the person loses the ability to distinguish between cultural history and his/her identity, the consequences can be rather destructive, as in the case of Okonkwo from Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”.
- Okonkwo’s Identity in “Things Fall Apart” In turn, it could be assumed that the vehement feeling of connection to the particular culture influences perceptions and identity of an individual about the place of his/her culture in the world due to the […]
- Society Role in Literature: King Lear and Things Fall Apart The difference is that the leader of the plan is much tougher physically and emotionally, and it is evident that he would not give up his values and morals.
- Literature: Things Fall Apart and The Epic of Gilgamesh The two are internally affected by the struggle between the forces longing for change and those advocating for the restoration of the status quo.
- Colonial Discourse in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe Achebe’s book centers on the life of a village ‘superstar’ by the name Okonkwo and the arrival of white missionaries at the fictional village of Umuofia.
- Novel’ Significance: “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe This is one of the details that can be identified. However, this approach can lead to disastrous effects such as the marginalization of people.
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe – Literature Analysis This essay seeks to establish the strengths and weaknesses of the Igbo culture as portrayed in Things Fall Apart to assess the author’s success in achieving his main goal.
- “Things Fall Apart” a Book by Chinua Achebe Literature Analysis The title and the opening lines very much portray the matters that went on in the village, making it the bulk of the story.
- Chinua Achebe’ Book “Things Are Falling Apart” Chinua Achebe, an African author with his origin in Nigeria mainly focuses on the colonization of African countries and the role of women in the society in the village of Umuofia in his book Things […]
- Cultural Conquest in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe The period comprising the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century is known for the European colonization and separation of Africa.
- Writing Tools of “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe The book was written during the pre-colonial time and the author portrayed the western practices as of value to the people in the village.
- Female Submission in Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” Through this book, the reader is brought to the realization of the role that the white man played in the destruction of the bonds which existed in the African culture.
- Colonization in Chinua Achebe’s Novel “Things Fall Apart” The tribesmen did not want to give up the new trading society to fight for their independence, that I why they had accepted the confines of the white man’s rule.
- ”Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin and ”Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe The basic theme of the novel is Ibo culture which is to be changed because of the pressure on the part of the external forces. The introduction of the protagonist of the story Okonkwo is […]
- Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart: Narrative In the same vein, Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness,” written in 1899, is about the struggle of two civilized Europeans, Marlow and Kurtz, after they ventured in to the wouldarkness’ of uncivilized Africa,’ and […]
- Moral Complexities in Things Fall Apart by C. Achebe In spite of the fact that he was one of the greatest men in Umuofia and a leader of his community he was hence not given the burial ceremony that he deserved as an Umuofian […]
- Mirror Image: Heart of Darkness & Things Fall Apart However, Okonkwo is helpless once he finds British colonization creeping in and destroying the traditional parameters of the village and their culture as a whole along with the ramification of their religion with the invasion […]
- Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” & “Things Fall Apart” by Achebe: Comparison The work of art reflects the reality of life and hardship experienced by people: “The vision seemed to enter the house with me – the stretcher, the phantom-bearers, the wild crowd of obedient worshippers, the […]
- The Influence of “Things Fall Apart” In so doing, he renders meaning to the traditional African way of life and he also dignifies the people of the continent.
- The Western Conception of Africa in “Things Fall Apart“ by Chinua Achebe From within the context of the land and the people of it, it is demonstrated that a great culture was already in the throes of change, again reclaiming the power for the people while still […]
- “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe: Theme Study The main theme of the novel, in terms of cultural subjugation and introduction of western traditional values to replace contemporary African cultures are discussed during the course of this novel. This perhaps is the mainstay […]
- Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” Critical Review Published in 1958, the novel describes the life of a Nigerian village – Iguedo, at the advent of the white colonization in Nigeria.
- “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe: Customs and Rituals To show how powerful Chielo was Chinua Achebe says, ‘As soon as the priestess stepped into this ring of hills, her voice was not only doubled in strength but was thrown back on all sides.’ […]
- “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe: Post Colonial Theory The white men tried to spread the gospel but “the arrival of the missionaries had caused a considerable stir in the village…”..
- Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: Turning Sorrow Into Meaning In the novel, the culprit for the destruction of Okonkwo’s personality, the disintegration of the clan, which Elder Mbata speaks of in the second passage, the destruction of family ties and religion, is the person […]
- Culture in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe I also kill a cock at the shrine of Ifejioku, the god of yams” Ibo culture is shown through the world look of the Western society that is why the aspect of behavioral brutality was […]
- Colonizers vs. Ibo Society in “Things Fall Apart” by Achebe In fact, the nature of the colonialists’ influence on the Ibo people and their culture is pinpointed in the very title of the book.
- Culture and Humanity: “Things Fall Apart” and “The Gods Must Be Crazy”
- Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and Harrison’s “The Black Man’s Burden”: Self-Motivation, Courage, and Sacrifice
- Marginality, Dichotomy, and Hegemony in “Things Fall Apart”
- The Relationship Between Cultural Relativity and Superiority in “Things Fall Apart”
- Self-Motivation, Courage, and Sacrifice in Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”
- Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: Tension and Conflict Between Traditional and Modern Views
- Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: A View of the Impacts of Imperialism
- The Specific Gender Roles in the Village Environment in the Novel “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
- Imperialism and the Allegory of the Cave in “Things Fall Apart”
- The Positive and Negative Aspects of European Assimilation in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
- Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”
- Personal and Cultural Identity in “Things Fall Apart” and “I Lost My Talk”
- Internal Conflict Leading to the Downfall in the Ibo Culture in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”
- Okonkwo, the Power Hungry Warrior in “Things Fall Apart”
- The Problems Facing the Ibo People in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
- Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: Inevitable Suffering in Tragedies
- Ways of Colonialism and Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”
- British Imperialism and “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
- Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: Exploring the Ibo Culture – Spiritual and Traditional Aspects
- The European and African Narrative Techniques Used in “Things Fall Apart” and “Petals of Blood”
- “Things Fall Apart”: Cultural Changes After African Colonization
- Tragedy in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
- Things Fall Apart and African Stereotypes
- Female: The Stronger Gender in Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”
- Political and Religious Threats in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
- Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: And Intercultural Communication
- Problems and Challenges for Chinua Achebe: “Things Fall Apart”
- Colonialism: Comparisons Between “Things Fall Apart” and Historical Accounts
- Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: Orientalism and Gender Roles
- Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and the Character of Nwoye
- Africa Fall Apart: “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe and Pre-modern Era Africa
- Chinua Achebe’s Novel “Things Fall Apart”: Theology and Religion
- The American Attitudes Towards the Peasants and the Lower Classes in “The Great Gatsby” and “Things Fall Apart”
- Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: Finding Unoka in the Mirror
- The African and Ibo Culture in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
- Things Fall Apart and the Influences of Family, Culture, and Society
- Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: The Culture Collision and Its Impact on Okonkwo
- Relationship Between Character and Society in “Things Fall Apart”
- Fate and Free Will in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”
- Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”: A Discussion Of Women In Igbo Society
- What Are Two Themes in “Things Fall Apart”?
- What Is the Most Important Message in “Things Fall Apart”?
- How Does Achebe Depict Ibo Culture in “Things Fall Apart”?
- What Is “Things Fall Apart” Main Idea?
- What Happens in the End of “Things Fall Apart”?
- Why Is “Things Fall Apart” Historical Fiction?
- What Is the Conclusion of “Things Fall Apart”?
- Who Is the Most Important Character in “Things Fall Apart”?
- Why Achebe Chose the Title “Things Fall Apart”?
- What Are the Conflicts in “Things Fall Apart”?
- How Is Foreshadowing Used in “Things Fall Apart”?
- Is “Things Fall Apart” a True Story?
- What Is the Cave Called in “Things Fall Apart”?
- What Are Some Symbols in “Things Fall Apart”?
- What Does Okonkwo’s Suicide Symbolize in “Things Fall Apart”?
- Why Is “Things Fall Apart” Important in African Literature?
- What Are Cowries in “Things Fall Apart”?
- Why Is Okonkwo Important in “Things Fall Apart”?
- What Is the Story “Things Fall Apart” About?
- What Is the Historical Background of “Things Fall Apart”?
- Who Is the Narrator in “Things Fall Apart”?
- How the Tribe Changes in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe?
- Who Is the Antagonist in “Things Fall Apart”?
- What Are the Moral Lessons in “Things Fall Apart”?
- How Is Colonialism Shown in “Things Fall Apart”?
- What Are Two Major Conflicts in “Things Fall Apart”?
- How Is “Things Fall Apart” a Tragedy?
- What Does the Last Paragraph of “Things Fall Apart” Mean?
- What Does the Tortoise Symbolize in “Things Fall Apart”?
- Who Is the Hero in “Things Fall Apart”?
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IvyPanda. (2023, January 24). 112 Things Fall Apart Essay Topic Ideas & Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/things-fall-apart-essay-topics/
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IvyPanda . "112 Things Fall Apart Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." January 24, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/things-fall-apart-essay-topics/.
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- Chapter Summary
Things fall apart.
How does the title of the novel Things Fall Apart, from William Butler Yeats’ poem, relate to the events within it?
Okonkwo doubts the power of his ‘chi’ (personal god) leaving him caught between fate and freewill. Discuss the roles that these forces play in the novel.
What are the representations made by the significant figures of the colonisers such as the missionaries and the District Commissioner?
In what ways is Okonkwo a tragic hero?
Okonkwo’s relationship to his daughter Ezinma is in contrast to how he regards his son Nwoye. What are the factors that influence these relationships?
Many of the representations of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart can be seen through the character of Ikemefuna. Discuss
‘It was not the same Chielo who sat with her in the market… Chielo was not a woman that night.’ How are the dual natures of humanity and spirit being explored in this text?
The District Commissioner is going to title his work The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Niger. How does this title relate to Achebe’s description of the tribes?
What is the role of women in the novel?
There is often contrast between the Igbo laws and traditions and personal opinions. How do these coexist in the novel Things Fall Apart ?
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Things Fall Apart Essays
Things fall apart masculinity.
Masculinity has a huge impact on the lives of the Ibo tribe. For instance, Ibo tribes in Africa highly support male masculinity and dominance. From a young age the individuals of the Ibo tribe are molded to understand the concept of male superiority. For anyone who digresses away from this idea, is thought of as weak by the community. In Things Fall Apart, the protagonist’s life, Okonkwo, is derived from his obsession with masculinity and his fear of failure and […]
White Missionaries and the Igbo People
In the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the author brings white missionaries into the Igbo people’s land. These missionaries have caused the Igbo people to convert into a new religion and a new government. Therefore Chinua Achebe uses the missionaries to convey the theme that the legacy of colonialism leads to a shattered community. Even though the Igbo people had tried to resist the missionaries’ beliefs, they underestimated the missionaries’ power. This book was published in 1958 and […]
Gender Roles in Things Fall Apart
The role of women has always been surrounded by controversy, some people believe women should get married, have children and take care of the household. Others believe women should have the choice between working a nine to five job, being a stay at home mom or both. Things Fall Apart was written by African writer Chinua Achebe in 1959, it came from the stories that Achebe’s mother used to tell him about the Igbo people. Things Fall Apart tells the […]
Comparative Study on Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness illustrate the various ways of representing Africa in the form of literature. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad presents Africa through the perspective of colonization by the Europeans who depict the African continent as savages, uncivilized, and underdeveloped. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, on the other hand, tend to respond to Conrad’s perception of Africa by portraying the native Africans as focused, cultured, and productive. Through Okonkwo, Achebe depicts Africans as proud […]
Okonkwo is the Legend of the Novel Things Fall Apart
Things fall apart is a disaster novel formed by Chinua Achebe. Okonkwo, who is the legend of the novel and a champion among the most powerful men in the Ibo tribe routinely falls back on violence to make his centers appreciated. Down in his heart, Okonkwo is genuinely not a savage man, anyway his life is directed by his inside conflict, the fear of dissatisfaction and of inadequacy. Okonkwo made it a point in his life to isolate himself from […]
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About Westernization in “Things Fall Apart”
Things Fall Apart”Things Fall Apart” a book written by Chinua Achebe is set in Nigeria in the 1890’s and portrays the clash between Nigeria’s white colonial government and the traditional culture of the native Igbo people. Many of the characters in this book clearly conveyed the effects of westernization at this time. In “Things Fall Apart” Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son, was positively impacted by the western culture collision by breaking away from his father and his culture to pursue his dreams. […]
Complex Culture in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe the author teaches us how the Ibo and the British are both uncivilized in their own ways. The Ibo being uncivilized in their technology. While the British are uncivilized in their world view and the way they treat other people. The text states He had and old rusty gun made by a clever blacksmith who came to live in Umofia long ago pg.38. This shows how technologically primitive the people of Umofia are. […]
Imperialism in “Heart of Darkness” and “Things Fall Apart”
Throughout the novels, Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart, both illustrate the complexity and the morality surrounding imperialism, which struck the continent of Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. By comparing and contrasting the two different perspectives on the effects of imperialism shown in Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart, the authors’ messages correspond to the overarching message of the evils of imperialism, yet the little action that could be done to end it. In […]
Colonism in Things Fall Apart
Nigerian author named, Chinua Achebe, authored a novel which was entitled as Things Fall Apart,’ which was published in the year 1958. The novel was an attempt by the author to present the true image of the African society, through the literature, which has always been depicted as an uncivilized and backward society in the literature of the foreign languages. The author included the story, as well as the transition of a Nigerian tribe from the traditional society to the […]
About Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Introduction The book Things Fall Apart was written by Chinua Achebe with the aim of depicting a lower tribe in Nigeria. The book is thrilling because it narrates about the Igbo society. Chinua Achebe uses Okonkwo when giving a detailed account of the Igbo society. Okonkwo was a focused man who wanted to avoid the mistakes of his father. Unlike his father who spent all his life accumulating debts, Okonkwo was a focused man who aimed at improving his life. […]
Colonialism and its Aftermath: Changing Realities
Surfacing in readings of twentieth-century British literature is the theme of colonialism and its aftermath, which provides texts for analysis of historical viewpoints. Literary theorists respond to the subject of colonialism and its aftermath in twentieth-century British literature where observations and analysis are found in the writings of Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, and others.Their texts define relations between the colonizers and the colonized, demonstrating aspects of colonialism and its aftermath. In a reading of twentieth-century British literature a return to […]
Collision in Conrad’s and Achebe’s Novels
In Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart, Joseph Conrad and Chinua Achebe employ characters caught between colliding cultures which can be seen through the use of literary techniques such as symbolism and imagery, ultimately revealing the theme of culture and traditions. The authors Joseph Conrad and Chinua Achebe have main characters that live in different continents, but experience similar cultural collisions. Although Marlow and Okonkwo have different lifestyles, they are led to question their identities and make decisions that […]
Novels Kanthapura and Things Fall Apart
Raja Rao and Chinua Achebe through the depiction of the respective philosophies in their novels Kanthapura and Things Fall Apart brings out the perception of social, cultural and traditional aspects of Nigerian village Umuofia and Indian village of Kanthapura. Moreover, both the authors through these philosophies put light on the issue of colonization which the African natives and Indian natives suffered at the hands of white missionaries and Britishers. Rao who was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, paid respect […]
Heart of Darkness & Things Fall Apart
Authors write to tell stories to the reader, but they also write to communicate personal opinions and ideas to show the reader. Readers are able to be bias with their own personal beliefs that they have in common with the novel, usually with their own race or religion. Throughout the novel, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad expresses his opinions through the main characters Marlow and Mr. Kurtz with their attitudes and actions. By the same way, Chinua Achebe displays his […]
The European as a Savior of Native Africans
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness remains as one of the greatest works in English literature. The novel has received many reviews since it was published with some praising it while others are criticizing. One of the critical reviews was written by Chinua Achebe in his book Things Fall Apart. Achebe argued that Conrad is a racist after depicting the African culture negatively. The author of the Heart of Darkness stresses that the western religion is better in civilizing the Africans […]
Okonkwo from “Things Fall Apart”
Things Fall Apart is a story of a man named Okonkwo who is from the village of Umofia. He was a hardworking man but despite all the hard work he didn’t achieved much in life. His father was a laid back man who was nothing for good and Okonkwo was opposed of his father way of living. He had three wives and was also one among the egwugwu which is considered as the masked spirit of the descendants. He was […]
Fight for Equality between Men and Women
The fight for equality between men and women has been an ongoing battle for years. While many opt to turn a blind eye and believe there is equality, there are so many situations not only nationally, but globally that prove otherwise. While respect towards women has grown, there is still a lot of tension fueled by the male perception of what a “women’s role” is in society. In today’s society, women are not strongly represented in executive roles, experience significant […]
Colonialism Depicted in Things Fall Apart
Postcolonialism is the scholarly investigation of the social heritage of expansionism and dominion, concentrating on the human outcomes of the control and abuse of colonized individuals and their territories. Postcolonialism is a basic hypothesis examination of the history, culture, writing, and talk of European royal force. The name postcolonialism is demonstrated on postmodernism, with which it shares certain ideas and techniques, and might be thought of as a response to or takeoff from expansionism similarly postmodernism is a response to […]
Things Fall Apart Tragic Hero
A classical tragedy is meant to evoke emotions on the reader and make them sympathize for the tragic hero and recognize their humanity. Tragedies are characterized by the tragic hero overcoming obstacles only to inevitably reach their downfall. The hero’s fatal or tragic flaw is accountable for the hero’s demise. The hero can be viewed as a man who is a leader but who is also weak when it comes down to difficult situations. In Chinua Achebe’s Novel, Things Fall […]
Things Fall Apart Analysis
Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Chinua Achebe that shows the conflicts in Nigeria during the nineteenth century. During this time, missionaries from Great Britain arrived in Nigeria. In this novel, the main character, Okonkwo, resists changes brought about by the British missionaries. Okonkwo’s close friend, Obierika, shares the same dislike towards the change, but isn’t as willing to fight them. Instead, Obierika, along with the tribe, is forced to accept the changes to their culture. Their attitude […]
Culture in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
Just imagine, something or someone that annoys you the most and you were stuck with that thing or person for the rest of your life. That type of situation occurred in the book, Things Fall Apart and the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!” Things Fall Apart was written by Chinua Achebe and the story sets around the life of Okonkwo, a prominent man living in the village of Umoufia. Then, all of a sudden, newcomers arrive into town that changes the […]
Justice in Things Fall Apart
Throughout the whole story, Okonkwo’s life was dominated by “the fear of failure and of weakness” (Achebe, 13). He tried so hard to become better than his father and raise his standings in the village. Spending his whole life doing this, Okonkwo could not let change occur because change meant things would no longer be the same, and all his respect he gained in his village would go to waste. So when the white men came and started disrupting the […]
The Fall of National Identity in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart
The protagonist in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, is Okonkwo he is a man who grew up with little to nothing in his pocket, nothing to inherit but, he made a name for himself. He was the first person to beat the fiercest wrestler in the village, “Amalinze was the great wrestler who for seven years was unbeaten, from Umofia to Mbaino.”(Pg.1) Okonkwo was very strong and helpful to his village, but he was very mean […]
Author’s Style in Things Fall Apart and Lord of the Flies
The writing in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, is different than what I normally read. I think this has to do with the proverbs that are used. Achebe uses lyrical and visual language through the use of proverbs and short stories to provide a photographic view of the Ibo’s culture. “Yam, the king of crops, was a very exacting king. For three or four moons it demanded hard work and constant attention from the cock-crow till the chickens went […]
Become Gendered in “Things Fall Apart”
The book Things Fall Apart is a fiction novel written by Chinua Achebe in 1958. The story documented the pre- and post-colonial life in Nigeria between the characters like Okonkwo, Nwoye, Ezinma and etc including their internal feeling, before and after the arrival of the colonist. In the story, Achebe revealed many traditions of the Igbo culture such as how the gender roles between men and women are very prominent in this culture. In fact, their lives were gendered because […]
Religion and Ideology in Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe begins by introducing the main character of this story, Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a strong and wealthy warrior of the Umofia clan. He was well respected because he was the ideal man of their tribe, in that he was extremely masculine and an extraordinary wrestler. However, he was ignorant when it came to verbal communication. Achebe states, “He was tall and huge, and his bushy eyebrows and wide nose gave him a severe look…He had […]
A Cultural Note on Okonkwo’s Suicide in Things Fall Apart
In the novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is willing to break the prohibition against suicide because he lost all hope when he realizes Umuofia will not support going to war with the missionaries. The statement that Okonkwo is making by committing suicide in the manner that he does is that he’d rather die on his own terms than being ruled by white men and submitting to their culture. One of the themes of Things Fall Apart is change. In the […]
Masculinity in Societies in Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold explore the theme of violent masculinity through the actions of major characters such as Okonkwo and the Vicario twins. Achebe’s Okonkwo displays his masculinity by obtaining titles and accomplishments and hiding his emotions. Marquez’s Vicario twins validate their masculinity by murdering the man responsible for dishonoring their sister. While both authors make violent masculinity a core component of their characterization of Okonkwo and the Vicario twins […]
Things Fall Apart Dehumanization by Matthew Register
Achebe throughout the past has expressed his beliefs on what works of art should do if they should be considered great works, and heart of darkness fails his test by “dehumanized” and “depersonalized” Africa and its people, how Things fall apart properly describes and depicts Africans and how damaging heart of darkness truly was. Achebe has stated in the past that “the question of whether a novel which celebrates… dehumanization, which depersonalized a portion of the human race, can be […]
Extremes in Literature and Real Life: why Moderation is a Good Idea
The key to a healthy lifestyle is to enjoy things in moderation because an abundance of anything could be detrimental to one’s health. This applies to everything in life, from french fries to philosophy. As the popular idiom goes, you can have too much of a good thing, and this is illustrated in Pangloss and Candide’s optimism in Candide, Okonkwo’s drive-in Things Fall Apart, and modern Islamic extremism. Optimism is generally thought of as a good character trait, as it […]
Essay About Things Fall Apart ‘Things Fall Apart’ is a very well-written novel written by Chinua Achebe which took place during the nineteenth century. The setting of the story was Igboland. Throughout this essay, I am going to explain how the protagonist had a life before his world “falls apart” (hence the title), how the outside forces change his life, how he responds to the situation. I will also include how the poem “The Second Coming’ by William Butler Yeats sets the tone and inspiration for the novel Things Fall Apart. The story begins with Okonkwo, who at a very young age, strived to be perfect which is contrary to his father. His father was lazy, to say the least. He built his home and reputation as a hardworking farmer and wrestler. His hard work paid off as he became wealthy. He had a natural son, Nwoye, and an adoptive son, Ikemefuna, who he loved more than his real son. Things changed when he has to kill his adoptive son as to what his tribe has decided. Okonkwo showed no emotion as he wants to be seen as the image of masculinity although inside, he was guilty, hurt, and regretful. During the funeral, he accidentally shot and killed a boy which caused him to be exiled in Mbanta, his mother’s homeland. During his stay in Manta, news came to him that the White Missionaries has arrived in his tribe. These White Missionaries bring Christianity with them and has convinced a lot of Igbo people to be converted to Christianity. Just when Okonkwo was allowed to go back home, his son converted to Christianity which made him disown his own son. The Igbo people tried to make peace with the missionaries but the latter captured the leaders of the Igbo people and was only freed when the Igbo people had enough ransom money with them. They wanted revenge, thus they held a war council. But in the midst of the council, the missionaries’ court messenger arrived and ordered them to stop the meeting. It dawned to Okonkwo that they can never go against the white, and as proud as himself, he hung himself to death. Things Fall Apart is a story of a culture on the verge of change. It talks about how the different characters have responded to the call of change. More often than not, the strain of whether the change is more important than tradition entails personal status questions. For example, Okonkwo is against the new religious and political order. This is because he believed that accepting the new religious and political order means that they are not man enough. In addition, this is also due to his fear that he might lose his social status once he accepts and joins them. For him, his self-worth depends on the traditional standards of society. But these traditional standards of self-evaluation has caused a lot of outcasts to embrace Christianity where they enjoyed a higher status. Generally speaking, the villagers are in between choosing or resisting change. They are wrapped with fear as to what these changes will bring them and how will they adapt to such changes in as much as they are also excited with the new opportunities and techniques that come with it. However, the White Missionaries wanted to eliminate the need to master the traditional ways of cooking, farming, harvesting, and building which were crucial for survival to the Igbo people. In the entire novel, Achebe showed how these traditions are slowly being changed and forgotten. The novel does not have a direct antagonist, but the entire world seems to be against Okonkwo. His own family can’t live up with his expectation and his fellow villagers did the same by embracing change rather than protecting and preserving their culture and tradition. In addition to the internal antagonists found inside their village, the presence of the Europeans is also considered as an external antagonist. The novel is also symbolic. The two symbols that were used in the story is fire and locusts. The fire symbolizes Okonkwo’s personality – fierce and destructive. On the other hand, the locusts symbolize the white colonials whom the Igbos thought are good but actually have a different intention. It is worth noting that Things Fall Apart’ is written in English. This is because Achebe wanted the people of the West to read and understand it. He wanted to critique and amend what other writers of the colonial period have painted about the image of Africa. In order to achieve his goal, the need to use the language of these colonials is necessary. Geography plays a pivotal role in the novel as time does. The novel dates back in the 1890s, the time when the British colonials have reached Igboland. The story happened just when British imperialism started in the region, which started not with guns but with Bibles.
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Essays on Things Fall Apart
Things fall apart: change vs tradition, the portrayal of women in things fall apart, repression and tragedy in achebe’s things fall apart, how okonkwo’s outward conformity hides his personal questioning in things fall apart, the main aims of the author in "things fall apart", okonkwo's polarized concepts of femininity and masculinity in things fall apart, the importance of adapting to changes in "things fall apart" by chinua achebe, the use of proverbs in things fall apart by chinua achebe, achebe's goal to increase global comprehension of african culture through things fall apart, critique of the effect of western imperialism on the third world in things fall apart, the effects of colonialism on igbo society in things fall apart and the joys of motherhood, the allegory of the title things fall apart, triumph and tragedy: the exploration of a tragic hero and the consequences of others that contribute to the overall tragic vision of the peace "things fall apart", things fall apart and purple hibiscus: female sabotage in an african setting, the use of proverbs in chinua achebe’s novel, language as a bridge to understanding in things fall apart, a novel by chinua achebe, how chinua achebe uses settings in his "things fall apart", impacts of post-colonialism in things fall apart, surfacing, and fire on the mountain, things fall apart: sexism in the igbo culture, the importance of family in white teeth, disgrace and things fall apart, theme of parental conflict in purple hibiscus and things fall apart, evaluation of the role of okonkwo as illustrated in achebe's things fall apart, analysis of okonkwo as a tragic hero, comparison of "heart of darkness" and "things fall apart", the portrayals of imperialism in "things fall apart" and "heart of darkness", the use of ethos, logos and pathos in the book "things fall apart" by chinua achebe, comparative analysis of "heart of darkness" versus "things fall apart", chinua achebe and joseph boyden on the colonialism process, nigeria vs western capitalist society as potrayed in things fall apart and the joys of motherhood, one hundred years of solitude and things fall apart: a comparative literary study, feeling stressed about your essay.
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1958, Chinua Achebe
Novel; Allegorical, historical fiction
Ezinma, Nwoye, Ikemefuna, Okonkwo, Mr. Brown
The European invasion and earlier colonial accounts of African history.
Colonialism, culture, family, friendship, life, struggle, politics, a cultural clash, Igbo society
While the African culture is often ignored, this particular book speaks directly about life in the Igbo society. It also tells an insider story of the African experience that becomes clear for those people who are not directly involved. It tells about the spiritual history of African people and makes a cultural aspect that is often ignored even through the lens of colonial background.
This complex, yet profound novel tells us a story of Okonkwo, a wrestling champion belonging to the Igbo community. The novel takes place among the fictional clan where we learn about family life, history of the main character, custom, society, and the usual challenges. The third part of the book deals with the Christian missionaries and the European colonialism.
The title of the book has been taken from a poem called "The Second Coming", which has been penned by W.B. Yeats. Achebe's goal has been to let the readers learn more about the African society that has been dynamic and vivid, yet completely different from the Western society. The book shows Africa as a modern and well-developed society. The "Things Fall Apart" manuscript has been lost for months until it has finally been found for publishing. Achebe has been influenced by the style of Charles Dickens. The book has given a start for the African literature all over the world. Achebe's work has helped to break down numerous stereotypes about the African society and the tribes.
“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” “A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.” “If you don't like my story, write your own” “Then listen to me,' he said and cleared his throat. 'It's true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. She is buried there. And that is why we say that mother is supreme. Is it right that you, Okonkwo, should bring your mother a heavy face and refuse to be comforted? Be careful or you may displease the dead. Your duty is to comfort your wives and children and take them back to your fatherland after seven years. But if you allow sorrow to weigh you down and kill you, they will all die in exile.” “Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.”
The most important lesson that this book brings and a reason why it is essential for us is the socio-cultural clash that takes place as the colonial times arrive. We are given an opportunity to compare the things that were usual for Igbo community and the changes that immediately took place, mostly against a person's will.
It is an important topic that helps us to write about the culture, society, our background, history, and the changes that we have to endure when the new changes come. The book is a great example of how the old friendships and tradition vs change instantly become broken when the cultural pressure comes up. It is also a great novel that tells us about our faith and the rule of power.
Okonkwo is an element or a symbol of peripeteia or a dramatic reversal. We can follow Okonkwo's path from being a man of respect to becoming an outcast in his tribe (clan). The tragedy of his death (suicide) is what represents the downfall.
1. Rhoads, D. A. (1993). Culture in Chinua Achebe's Things fall apart. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/african-studies-review/article/abs/culture-in-chinua-achebes-things-fall-apart/D123B160B650B9BE84E6E85ACF032B9A African Studies Review, 36(2), 61-72. 2. Caldwell, R. (2005). Things fall apart? Discourses on agency and change in organizations. Human relations, 58(1), 83-114. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0018726705050937?journalCode=huma) 3. Ikuenobe, P. (2006). The idea of personhood in Chinua Achebe’s Things fall apart. Philosophia Africana, 9(2), 117-131. (https://www.pdcnet.org/philafricana/content/philafricana_2006_0009_0002_0117_0131) 4. Parmentier, M. A., & Fischer, E. (2015). Things fall apart: The dynamics of brand audience dissipation. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(5), 1228-1251. (https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article/41/5/1228/2962093) 5. Nnoromele, P. C. (2000). The Plight of a Hero in Achebe s" Things Fall Apart". College Literature, 27(2), 146-156. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/25112519) 6. Shiner, M., Scourfield, J., Fincham, B., & Langer, S. (2009). When things fall apart: Gender and suicide across the life-course. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953609003670 Social Science & Medicine, 69(5), 738-746. 7. Ten Kortenaar, N. (1991). How the centre is made to hold in Things Fall Apart. ESC: English Studies in Canada, 17(3), 319-336. (https://muse.jhu.edu/article/694908) 8. McCormick, G. H., Horton, S. B., & Harrison, L. A. (2007). Things Fall Apart: the endgame dynamics of internal wars. Third World Quarterly, 28(2), 321-367. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01436590601153721)
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Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart What falls apart and why? The title of Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart refers mainly to the integrity of the Nigerian tribal cultures: to their customs, traditions, and ways of life, all of which fall apart as the result of internal and external conflicts. In Okonkwo's personal life, a series of unfortunate events lead to his loss of personal integrity and his eventual psychological destruction. The gradual yet dramatic falling apart of Okonkwo parallels the falling apart of his community. Okonkwo's beating his wife during the Week of Peace denoted a clear violation of sacred tradition. Okonkwo's respect for tradition diminishes further throughout the novel and culminates in his killing Ikemefuna. The murder of his foster son was not an ordinary moral transgression, but also an affront to the wisdom of the tribal elders and their spiritual oracles. Things really fall apart for Okonkwo and his…
Things Fall Apart' Is Not
The unpolluted picture of Ibo people comes to life with the helps of such things as the detailed description of New Yam Festival that opens Chapter 5. While some things may appear corny and affected such as sentences like this one: "Drums beat violently, and men leaped up and down in a frenzy" , most of the comments are meant to highlight the true meaning of these otherwise demeaning observations. The author explains what beating of drums meant for the people and how it resonated with the true spirit and pulse of the village: The drums were still beating, persistent and unchanging. Their sound was no longer a separate thing from the living village. It was like the pulse of its heart. It throbbed in the air, in the sunshine, and even in the trees, and filled the village with excitement . Achebe also carefully studies tribal myths to understand…
Things Fall Apart Turning and
" Okonkwo inflexible traditionalism pitted him against his gentle son Nwoye, who joined the Christian European missionaries. In the book, Oknokwo had to participate in a ceremonial human sacrifice and endure a seven-year exile after his gun accidentally killed the son of the deceased warrior Ezeudu. He also lost part of himself when he lost Ikemefuna. Upon returning to the village, he found it torn apart by Western Imperialism. Finally, he commits suicide after decapitating a white messenger who violated his authority. Okonokwo's demise was brought about by breaking the sacred laws of the clan as well as unsuccessfully fighting against the unjust system of the colonists. He stands as a representation of his entire clan and other similar cultures who, through the centuries, have lost their traditions through the assault of Imperialism. Achebe's book demonstrates that humanity, in both its best and worst cases, is represented in all cultures.…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Fawcett Press, 1959.
____. "The Role of the Writer in a New Nation." African Writers on African Writing. Ed. G.D. Killam. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1978. 7-13.
Isichei, Elizabeth. Ibo and Christian Beliefs: Some Aspects of a Theological Encounter. African Affairs 68.271 (1969): 121-134.
Leonard, A.G. The Lower Niger and its Tribes. London: MacMillan, 1906.
Things Fall Apart Is a
Therefore, Okonkwo rejected his father, and hence, the womanly element of himself. He turned out to be a leading wrestler and warrior in his people to make available the facilities of life for his family at a very small age. Simultaneously, he established a new farm and began to collect his own riches, and ultimately a name. His uphill struggle confirms itself in his victory, and he rapidly became well-known and appreciated in his tribe for his devotion and leadership qualities. Having achieved wealth, wives and children, he considered that he has controlled over his father's womanly mistakes. His great dream was to develop into one of the influential elders of the tribe and at a point he successfully achieved that goal. Okonkwo felt steady and safe in his way of manliness in its edges. Nevertheless, it shortly turned out to be obvious that not everything was perfect. His son,…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.
Iyase-re, Solomon Ogbede. Understanding Things Fall Apart.Troy, N.Y.: Whitston Pub. Co, 1998.
Larson, Charles R. The Emergence of African Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1972.
Ogede, Ode. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Reader's guides. London: Continuum, 2007.
Things Fall Apart Hubris and the Suicide
Things Fall Apart Hubris and the Suicide of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart This novel by Chinua Achebe was first published in 1958. Set on the continent of Africa this is the story of Okonkwo, a member of the Umuofia clan, one of nine villages of a tribe in Nigeria. Okonkwo is an esteemed tribesman who, despite the stigma of his cowardly father who died in disgrace leaving many unsettled debts behind, has achieved wealth and respect through hard work and self-reliance. Okonkwo worries that his son, Nwoye, will end up a failure like his father. His favorite daughter, Ezinma, is the only child of Ekwefi. She is more like her father in spirit and Okonkwo often wishes she had been born a boy. The story centers on the events that surround Okonkwo during the course of his life and the self-realizations that lead him to take his…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
Asamoah-Gyadu, J. Kwabena. "The Evil You Have Done Can Ruin the Whole Clan: African Cosmology, Community, and Christianity in Achebe's Things Fall Apart." Studies in World Christianity.Vol. 16, Issue 1. 2010: 46- 62. 4 September 2011.
Dannenbeg. Hilary. "The Many Voices of Things Fall Apart." Interventions: The International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.Vol. 11, Issue 2. July 2009: 176- 179. 4 September 2011.
Things Fall Apart Who Is
Smith hates the Igbo faith so much that he equates it to the Baal and the followers of Baal in the Biblical Old Testament. He has strict policy over conversion to Christianity such that any elder to decides to get converted to Christian faith must immediately abandon the traditional ways and follow Christianity only. His cruelty and strictness to the abandoning of all Igbo traditional ways is seen when he suspends a woman from the church for having fulfilled the traditional ways of handling a dead Ogbanje child who had to have some rituals conducted in order to avoid another Ogbanje from being born. From the contributions and character traits of the two preachers, it is seen that Mr. Brown makes a better preacher and influences more people into Christianity without much violence than everend Smith does, hence making Mr. Brown a more successful preacher here. Who makes a better…
Achebe Chinua,(1958). Things Fall Apart. New York: First Anchor Books, 1994.
Things Fall Apart if Okonkwo
The best members of African youth are destroyed or ignored. Although he is African, because he is a member of a rival clan, Ikemefuna, is killed, when the energies of the Umuofians would be better spent resisting white influence. Because she is a woman, the noble and stalwart Ezinma is not valued, although her father loves her almost as if she were a son. A final interpretation might be that the best of any society lack all conviction in the sense that it is better not to embody either extreme, either the hyper-masculinity of Okonkwo or the laziness of Unoka, or the utter certainty that there is only one valid faith like the Reverend Smith. Instead one ought to follow a middle path like Ikemefuna, who is able to see past clan differences from an early age, and find a balanced way of being an African man. Sadly, the passionate…
Things Fall Apart as Tragedy
For this reason, he is a tragic hero according to Aristotle's definition of the word. Aristotle believed tragedies must "imitate actions which excite pity and fear" (Aristotle). This involves the hero to suffer a change, which usually means going from good fortune to misfortune through the course of the story. Like real life, all things are not all good or all bad. Aristotle believed "misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty" (Aristotle XIII). In addition, this change is the result of something the hero does. Aristotle believed it was necessary for the hero to comprehend the gravity of what he has done. This forces him to realize his fatal flaw. A catharsis follows this realization and it heightens the drama of the story. Aristotle believed the best effect results from a surprise. In this way, action drives the plot and keeps the…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books. 1959.
Aristotle. "Poetics." S.H. Butcher, Trans. MIT Internet Classics Archive. Site Accessed April 05, 2011.
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe's
Moreover, the unquestioned belief in the oracle's word conflicts with Okonkwo's own needs to solidify his family's political leadership and social standing in the tribe. Okonkwo's desire to redeem himself and his family name proves stronger than his respect for the oracle. Thus, Okonkwo at once seeks to preserve the political institutions of Umuofia culture while at the same time subverting core social and spiritual traditions. He wants to retain his position as political leader and establish his adopted son Ikemefuma as his heir. Yet Okonkwo disrespects social traditions like the Week of Peace and religious traditions like obeying the oracle. Interestingly, the oracle's word proves superior to that of Okonkwo. Achebe suggests that the old tribal ways may in fact bear significant wisdom. Umuofia religious traditions were falling apart even before Christianity infiltrated African society with the European missionaries. Umuofia social structure is tied together by the dual pillars…
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart All classical heroes have tragic flaws. In the case of Okonkwo, the protagonist in Chinau Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, heroism is demonstrated by his position of leadership and power in his community and his allegiance to tradition. However, Okonkwo's flaws haunt him, his family and his clansmen throughout the tale. Okonkwo's key flaws are his intense pride and anger. These tragic flaws lead to the death of two children and to his committing suicide at the end of the book. Okonkwo's excessive need to prove his worth over that of his lazy father and his consequential expectations and projections onto his son and community cause his downfall and are the source of his tragic flaw. Ironically, it is the young men of his clan, especially his son and Ikemefuna, that most inspire Okonkwo to act as a true leader and hero. Okonkwo hopes to embody an…
Things Fall Apart by Chinua
This was especially important to the reading because it also showed that the natives wanted to get along with the whites, but the whites were far less interested in getting along with the natives - they simply wanted to dominate and control them. It was hard not to think about this story after it was done. The Nigerians lived hard lives, but it is clear they were happy. It was hard not to wonder why the whites felt such a need to control them and take over their land and their lives. It was also hard to read what the natives went through, and how they lost people because of misunderstandings and other problems. This certainly was not a happy story to read, but it was very well written, and the images of the natural world were often beautiful. Achebe is doing more than telling a story in this tale,…
The Bedford Anthology of World Literature: The Twentieth Century, 1900-the Present. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.
Achebe puts it this way, "Okonkwo encouraged the boys to sit with him in his obi, and he told them stories of the land -- masculine stories of violence and bloodshed" (Achebe 52). Okonkwo represents all men in society who are so obsessed with their own manliness that they can never allow themselves any emotion, caring, or concern. Sadly, these archaic attitudes are still not uncommon in today's society, and Okonkwo illustrates just how outdated and ridiculous they really are. The women of the tribe are often silent, and they play a very minor role in the book. This is true of the society as well. Achebe did not even give some of the women names. Women were simply not as important in Ibo society as men, but they did have some vital roles, and some of the men knew they could learn from the women. Okonkwo did not, and…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Fawcett, 1978.
Aji, Aron, and Kirstin Lynne Ellsworth. "Ezinma: the Ogbanje Child in Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart'." College Literature 20.1 (1993): 170-175.
Alidou, Ousseina D., and Alamin M. Mazrui. "Secrets: Farah's 'Things Fall Apart'." Research in African Literatures 31.1 (2000): 122-128.
Begam, Richard. "Achebe's Sense of an Ending: History and Tragedy in 'Things Fall Apart'." Studies in the Novel 29.3 (1997): 396+.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Specifically
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Specifically, it will evaluate how the arrival of the Europeans in Nigeria transformed everyday life for the Nigerian villagers. It will present an argument about whether, overall, these changes improved society as a whole. The arrival of the white man in Nigeria spelled the end of a way of life for the Ibo, and the other native tribes in the area. The white men required strict control over the natives, and wanted to make them "white" in almost every sense. In doing so, they took away the natives natural and simple way of life, and "things fell apart." Things Fall Apart Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" is the story of the native Ibo people who live in what is now Nigeria, and the invasion of Europeans into their ordered and happy lives. Much of the tale involves the natives endeavoring to interact with the white…
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, and "Tintern Abbey," by William Wordsworth. Specifically, it will analyze imagery (metaphor, simile, symbol, etc.), and discuss the ways in which the imagery of these texts creates relationships either between humans and nature, or between humans and the divine. What kind of relationship is created by the imagery in each case, and how? How do the details of the two texts' imagery create differences and/or similarities in the relationships you're discussing? Imagery in a piece of writing may not be apparent at first, it may hide underneath the theme and structure of the piece, but unlike landscape to a blind eye, imagery can be seen by reading a little more closely, and taking the time to really think about what the author was trying to say with his or her work. LANDSCAPE TO A BLIND MAN Imagery plays an important part in much of…
Achebe, Chinua. "Things Fall Apart." The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Ed. Maynard Mack et al. Expanded edition in one volume. New York W.W. Norton, 1997. 2931-3030.
Wordsworth, William. "Tintern Abbey." The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Ed. Maynard Mack et al. Expanded edition in one volume. New York W.W. Norton, 1997. 2273-79.
Things Fall Apart the Author Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart" the author, Chinua Achebe, offers a unique perspective on Africa and the effect of European civilization on Africa. The story is told with a focus on the central character, Okonkwo. This focus gives the book a definite sense of reality, makes the theme of the tragedy of the change more forceful and also says something greater about all societies. We will begin by giving a brief overview of the story, especially the story of Okonkwo. We will then discuss the sense of reality, the themes and the tragedy of the story and finally the greater meaning of the novel. The Story of Okonkwo The book starts by telling Okonkwo's story and his rise to the top of his African tribe. At the same time, his story also tells us about African culture. Without needing to lecture on the subject, the reader becomes aware of the traditions of…
Things Fall Apart the Role
In times of trouble and cultural breakdown dominant figures often seek out the most vulnerable of members to rail against and yet Achebe does not give evidence to this effect. He does not depict women or other marginalized members of the society as receiving punishment or objectification, outside ordinary levels, and yet the objectification and violence is extreme. If this inclusion had been made the filter of the work could be broadened to demonstrate that the breakdown of the culture included the demonstrative objectification of women, as the marginalized and therefore abused group, yet it does not. The Igbo culture is depicted as wholly patriarchal as objectification of women and violence against women is supported by Achebe's depiction of the culture not as a culture in decline but as part of the culture that will be lost under colonialism. Gender is clearly defined by the novel as wholly patriarchal, in…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Oxford: Heinemann, 1996.
Mohan, Rajeswari. "Dodging the Crossfire: Questions for Postcolonial Pedagogy." College Literature 20.1 (1993): 28-44.
Osei-Nyame, Kwadwo. "Chinua Achebe Writing Culture: Representations of Gender and Tradition in Things Fall Apart." Research in African Literatures a.2 (1999): 148-164.
Stratton, Florence. Contemporary African Literature and the Politics of Gender. New York: Routledge, 1994.
Things Fall Apart Gender Roles and Toxic Masculinity
The 1958 novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, follows the life of the protagonist, Okonkwo, a leader and a local athletic hero in a made-up Nigerian hamlet, named Umuofia. The novel is divided into three very distinct sections— the first which examines the family of the hero, another his personal perspective and lineage along with the current societal customs, the following sections look at the influence of outsiders on the village such as colonists from the United Kingdom and missionaries of the Christian faith. Despite these clear separations within the book, there is a consistent treatment of gender and gender roles that paint a disturbing picture. Achebe’s novel shows the scathing legacy of destruction that strict gender roles can unleash upon society. The strict divisions of gender and gendered work, along with gendered roles in society, are one of the ways this society manifests fear. Rather than confronting the…
Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe before referencing Things Fall Apart: Still relevant to Africa today The postcolonial classic Things Fall Apart by Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe shows both the cruelty of British colonialism and the folly of oppressed African peoples' inability to unite with one another across tribal lines. In the novel, the tribal patriarch Okonkwo of the Umuofia tribe attempts to exert total control over his entire village and family. He is rich and prosperous, and dominates his father Unoka, who represents the sensitive, artistic side of African traditions. Okonkwo, because of his desire to seem masculine and authoritative, rejects the children who actually show promise to lead the tribe into the future. He kills his foster son Ikemefuna, because this is in accordance with tribal law, even though he and the boy are both Africans, although they are rival clans. Although his daughter Ezinma is far more…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Heinemann, 1996.
Things Fall Apart Okonkwo's Suicide
He does not hesitate to host Ikemefuna when his tribe provides him with this task and he even takes part in murdering the child when the tribe's elders decide that he should die. Even with that, it appears that Okonkwo's fate is sealed and that he has limited control over what happens to him. Okonkwo cannot stand by and watch as his village's values are being trampled by men that have nothing to do with his clan or his lands. Upon seeing that his tribesmen are reluctant to join him at the time when he slays a messenger, Okonkwo realizes that the battle is lost and decides that he can no longer live in a world where everything that he respects is destroyed both by his people and by the invading white individuals. On the other hand, the man's death can also be perceived as proof that people are unable…
Achebe, Chinua, "Things fall apart," Heinemann, 1996.
Empowerment through Creation and Protection: The Role of Women in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a depiction of the tragic life of Okonkwo, the main character. Many elements combine to result in the tragic end of the book, as well as the end of the traditional ways of Okonkwo's Ibo tribe. The major contributing factor to this demise is the arrival of Western missionaries. The foreign beliefs and customs imposed upon the tribe change them forever, effectively destroying the social structure they have built up. This traditional social structure involves specific roles assigned to men and women respectively. Men are to be involved in politics and hunting, while women are creatively involved in the household environment and childbirth. While to the western eye then it would appear that women are inexcusably abused in the Ibo culture, these women do use their traditional roles to wield subtle power in…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1958.
Chun, June. "The Role of Women in Things Fall Apart" 1990. http://www.scholars.nus.edu.sg/landow/post/nigeria/women.html
White, Annie. "Things Fall Apart: The Role of Women." Classic Notes, 1999. http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/things/essays/essay1.html
Today, most Americans do not socialize with their neighbors, or depend on them for their entertainment and friendship, and so, modern culture differs greatly from this clan-like village culture. eligion was important to the Ibo, and their belief in spirits often appears in the novel. Their religious beliefs centered on signs and spirits, as this passage clearly indicates. "The Oracle said to him, 'Your dead father wants you to sacrifice a goat to him'" (Achebe 15). While religion was important to them, it was certainly not the same form of religion as modern Christianity and other beliefs. It is based in superstition and oral tradition, and on a set of spirits who rule over all areas of life. The Ibo also practice sacrifice, which is certainly not a part of modern American society. These beliefs seem pagan-like to modern cultures, and probably would not be accepted by most modern Americans.…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Oxford: Heinemann Publishers, 1958, 1986.
Booker, M. Keith, and Simon Gikandi, eds. The Chinua Achebe Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
Brians, Paul. "Things Fall Apart Study Guide." Washington State University. 13 Dec. 2005. 21 June 2006.
Things Fall Apart in the
Okonkwo seems full of passionate intensity to preserve things as they are, and to preserve his sense of masculine, patriarchal authority. But although this sense of passion seems to have its origin sense of nostalgia for traditional forms of control, it is also too tied up the man's ego to be called a conviction. A true conviction about justice is not self-interested. It is also worth remembering that Okonkwo's father did not embody such authority within his own family structure, thus Okonkwo partly wishes to defy his own family's tradition. And Okonkwo's sense of wishing to preserve the positive aspects of his personal authority does not mean that he is not willing to kill his adopted son, for fear of looking weak, even though this hurts the tribe's future. Thus Okonkwo lacks convictions that transcend the self, and denies such positive self-sacrificing values as feminine.
things fall apart novel analysis
Chinua Achebe’s classic novel Things Fall Apart describes a critical juncture in Igbo society: the first point of contact with missionaries. Even prior to their arrival, the protagonist of the story, Okonkwo, contends with both personal and collective crises in his community. Okonkwo “was well known throughout the nine villages and beyond,” an introduction to a man whose power and prestige have become the cornerstones of his identity (Achebe, 1958, p. 1). However, Achebe (1958) also describes Okonkwo’s dark side: his severity, the way he would “pounce on people,” acting with violence and aggression to achieve his egoistic goals (Achebe, 1958, p. 1). As the community of Umuofia falls apart due to historical changes, external threats, and a leadership crisis, Okonkwo also falls apart due to his own existential crisis. Things Fall Apart has a strong ethical overtone, offering the reader insight into Igbo society but also into universal norms…
Things Fall Apart Achebe
Things Fall Apart" Achebe before referencing Things Fall Apart: Summary Things Fall Apart is the story of the tribal leader Okonkwo of the Umuofia tribe. At the beginning of the story, Okonkwo is rich and has three wives. He rules his family with an iron fist because he does not want to be like his father Unoka. At one point he beats his youngest wife so severely that even the masculine, patriarchal tribe is shocked. Okonkwo is always compensating for his impoverished childhood, which he sees as the fault of his spendthrift father. Although Unoka was a great musician, he was also undisciplined with his money, and Okonkwo wants to show his clansmen that he is strong. Okonkwo is ashamed of his oldest son Nwoye, who he sees as weak, and too much like the boy's grandfather. Okonkwo's daughter Ezinma is far stronger in temperament than Nwoye, and Okonkwo favors…
things fall apart achebe character analysis
Chinua Achebe presents an archetypal patriarchal warrior with the character of Okonkwo in the novel Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo is described as being “well known,” his fame being based on quintessential masculine feats like winning wrestling tournaments and having many wives. A round character, rather than a dynamic one, Okonkwo also epitomizes the classical tragic hero whose hubris and stubbornness prevent him from changing or recognizing what he could do to better lead his people. Achebe uses traditional storytelling methods and a straightforward narrative style to elucidate the main elements of his protagonist. The reader therefore gleans information about Okonkwo primarily through the narrator’s direct descriptions of the protagonist’s actions, reactions, and words. Motivated by the desire to maintain power and to fulfill patriarchal roles and norms in his society, Okonkwo ends up committing egregious ethical wrongs in order to achieve his egotistical goals, and in the end of the…
things fall apart literary analysis
Okonkwo, the protagonist of Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, exemplifies the traits of a classic tragic hero. Determined to cling to the past and its out-dated traditions and social norms, Okonkwo uses violence to maintain his power and prestige in the community. As a result, he is a feared leader even more than an effective one. Through the character of Okonkwo and the setting of the Nigerian village, author Chinua Achebe shows how things fall apart when leaders resist change. Things Fall Apart has several interrelated themes, the most notable of which is linked to the title. Okonkwo believes that in order to be an effective leader, he must use violence and aggression instead of methods that promote peace and collaboration. He understandably resists the colonial influences on his village, but fails to provide his fellow people with a viable alternative they can embrace. As a result of his…
Emergence of Colonial Resistance in Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe is one of the most influential and powerful writers of today, and he is also one of the most widely published writers today. Chinua Achebe has in fact written more than twenty-one novels, and short stories, and books of poetry as well, and his very first landmark work was "Things Fall apart," which was published in the year 1958, when the author was just twenty-eight years old. This work has proved to be popular not only in Nigeria, but also in the whole of Africa, as well as in the rest of the world. Chinua Achebe was born in the year 1930 in Nigeria, as the son of a Christian Churchman and his wife. He attended the Government College in Umuahia, and then went on to University College in Ibadan, after which he went on to the London University, where he received his BA. Chinua…
Chinua Achebe. New York State Writer's Institute. Retrieved From
http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/achebe.html Accessed 10 August, 2005
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Study guide. Retrieved From
Culture and Universal Principles in Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart and the Issue of Culture From a cultural analysis perspective, the two main cultures represented in Achebe's Things Fall Apart, stem from opposing religious/social positions and both react to and against one another in different ways, as illustrated by the actions of the main character Okonkwo, a native Igbo and leader of his community (violently committed to defending his tribe's ways and culture against other tribes and against the incoming foreign invasion of the Christian missionaries and British soldiers), and by Nwoye, Okonkwo's son who rejects the culture and beliefs of the Ibo tribe and converts to Christianity. The split between father and son represents the split at the heart of the novel between two cultures and two worldviews; neither is without its flaws and both speak to different matters of the heart and head. However, the irreconcilable differences that arise between the meeting of the two…
Achebe, C. (1996). Things Fall Apart, Expanded Edition. UK: Heinemann.
Caldwell, R. (2005). Things fall apart? Discourses on agency and change in organizations. Human Relations, 58(1): 83-114.
Gilbert, A. (1989). Things Fall Apart? Psychological theory in the context of rapid social change. South African Journal of Psychology, 19(2): 91-100.
Langford, T. (1999). Things fall apart: State failure and the politics of intervention.
CC Mandabi-Things Fall Apart a
] [4: Ibid.] In Things Fall Apart, the reader can see how the ritish and French began to institute their governing and belief systems. Achebe writes, "[Apart] from the church, the white men had also brought a government. They had built a court where the District Commissioner judges cases in ignorance" and the prisons were "full of men who had offended against the white man's law." [footnoteRef:5] Furthermore, Achebe comments on the integrity of men before the white man began to institute his laws and traditions. In Things Fall Apart, Okwonko laments, "Worthy men are no more…Isike will never forget how we slaughtered them in that war…efore the end of the fourth market week they were suing for peace. Those were the days when men were men."[footnoteRef:6] Ibrahima's ability to cash the money order is hindered by a corrupt bureaucratic process with which Ibrahima is unfamiliar with, and which ultimately…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. 1959. http://l-adam-mekler.com/things-fall-apart.pdf
(accessed 8 April 2013).
Mandabi (the Money Order). Directed by Ousmane Sembene. 1968. Senegal: New Yorker
Video. Netflix Instant Streaming (accessed 7 April 2013).
Second Coming Things Fall Apart
They are rocked by a hand of fear, not motherly nurturance. They are obsessed by their fears, of becoming like his father in the case of Okonkwo and of not becoming like his father in Nwoye's instance. However, Nwyoe, because of the cultural and political shifts endured by his native land, has another framework of self-definition that his father lacks -- the availability of another culture, namely that of the Christian missionaries who have come to the country. To find a new identity, Nwyoe literally as well as metaphorically slouches towards Bethlehem. Within the foreign doctrine of Christianity Nwoye finds a prop for his sense of self against which his father's African nationalism and masculinity ultimately proves to be powerless. Through the weakness advocated by Christianity (a false weakness, given the overarching ambitions of the missionaries to convert all African natives) Nwoye finally finds strength that his father's worldview cannot…
Chinchua Achebe's Things Fall Apart
But such a violent and unexpected murder, and to come in such a very uncivilized manner! According to what the other men told me, there was absolutely no provocation or intimidation -- they simply told the assembly to disperse, and one of them that had been in jail yesterday simply started hacking him to pieces with a machete. The other men were understandably shaken, and I cannot say I blame them. We must all thank God that they were able to escape with their lives, though it does seems that only this one individual displayed such extreme rage. Still, I do not relish my duty now. Like Daniel walking right into the lion's den -- except he had a king who threw him in, and I have only the weight of history and the advancement of proper civilization pushing me forward. And the lions Daniel faced were never so dangerous,…
Colonial Resistance in Thing Fall Apart
Colonial Resistance in Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe was born in Ogidi, Nigeria, and his father was a teacher in a missionary school. His parents were devout evangelical Protestants and christened him Albert after Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, although they installed in him many of the values of their traditional Igbo culture. He attended University College in Ibadan, where he studied English, history and theology. At the university Achebe rejected his ritish name and took his indigenous name Chinua. In 1953 he graduated with a A, and later studied broadcasting at the C where, in 1961, he became the first Director of External roadcasting at the Nigerian roadcasting Corporation. In 1944 Achebe attended Government College in Umuahia. He was also educated at the University College of Ibadan, like other major Nigerian writers including John Okigbo, Wole Soyinka, John Pepper Clark, Elechi Amadi, and Cole Omotso. There he studied…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1958.
Balint-Kurti, Daniel. "Novelist rejects national honors to protest conditions in Nigeria." Chicago Sun-Times. 18 October 2004. 4 August 2005 .
Bowen, Roger. "Speaking Truth to Power: An Interview with Chinua Achebe." Academe. Jan/Feb 2005. 4 August 2005 .
Gallagher, Susan VanZanten. "Linguistic power: encounter with Chinua Achebe - Nigerian writer." Christian Century. 12 March 1997. 4 August 2005 .
Okonkwo the Novel Things Fall Apart by
Okonkwo The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a story about the culture clash that occurs when white colonizers arrived on the African continent and attempted to force the indigenous population to accept the empirical culture. hen the white people arrived in Africa, they perpetrated a campaign of superiority upon the indigenous peoples. They enslaved Africans and forcibly shipped them to toil on plantations for the rest of their lives. They also attempted to convert people from their native religions and force them into accepting Christianity. ith this set up, it would be easy to make all white characters evil and all the African characters as purely good. However, Achebe does not do this. Instead the main character Okonkwo is a troubled, "problematic" hero who performs actions which are not at all heroic or good which makes him more complex and ultimately more real which is shown in…
Achebe, Chinua, and Abiola Irele. Things Fall Apart: Authoritative Text, Contexts and Criticism.
New York: W.W. Norton &, 2009. Print.
Female Characters Things Fall Apart
"ould you like a white woman ongee?" Jimmie asked. "Don't seem ter make their cow-cockies happy, having white woman for 'is wife. hy else he come after black girls? Must be sum'pin to white women we ain't been told" (p. 11). The implication drawn from ongee is that aboriginal females are sexier than white women, but Jimmie is sexually attracted to the white woman. On page 12 ongee describes an aboriginal woman who "Yawns for men and not with her mouth. She weeps for men and not with her eyes. She drinks men down, she is cave for men," he said, laughing. In Caledonian that Saturday night Jimmie "suddenly" was "pouring himself without joy into one of the women" while laying in the long grass so police wouldn't see them. The next time readers confront an image of an aboriginal females (p. 20) Jimmie "lay down with a scrawny gin…
Hickling-Hudson, Anne. "White construction of black identity in Australian films about
Aborigines. Literature Film Quarterly 18.4 (1990): 263-275.
Keneally, Thomas. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. New York: The Viking Press, 1972.
Comparing Things Fall Apart by Achebe and Nectar in a Sieve by Markandaya
Role of omen in African and Indian Society Both Things Fall Apart and Nectar in a Sieve weave rather vivid imagery of the life of women in the traditional, patriarchal society of Africa and India during the colonial period. The vividness of the images of cultures where a great deal of importance was placed on women bearing sons and devoting their lives to the care of their families, leads the modern day reader to easily conclude that women in traditional African and Indian cultures were without any voice and far too oppressed. hile there is ample evidence in both works to validate such a conclusion, there is a strong case to counter argue that women in both works are also shown as playing an important social role and depicted as possessing a great deal of strength of character. For one, women in African and Indian rural cultures seem to have…
Achebe, Chinua. "Things Fall Apart." Oxford: Heinemann, 1986.
Markandaya, K. "Nectar in a Sieve." New York: The John Day Company, 1954
Othello Things Fall Apart
Humanities 202 FINAL EXAM Emilia: the wife of Iago. She provides the handkerchief for her husband, unwittingly facilitating Iago's orchestrated revenge upon Othello. However, she sympathizes with Desdemona, regarding all men as savages. She represents the ugly side of Iago's view of women, as there are hints Iago has abused her and he openly treats her cruelly when she irritates him -- eventually he kills her when she reveals his scheme. Roderigo: a commoner who foolishly and hopelessly loves Desdemona, and stupidly trusts Iago. Like Othello, he also is desperate to advance in society and subject to the green-eyed monster of jealousy over a woman. Like Iago he is also jealous of those of more military advancement than himself. Cassio: Michael Cassio is the man who Othello promotes to lieutenant rather than Iago at the beginning of the play. He is handsome and dashing, even though he is less experienced…
Thus, the "ceremony of innocence" by which the boy was received into the tribe is now replaced with violence. Okonkwo, even though he loves the boy, kills him to avoid seeming weak. Yeats' slow-moving rough beast with a lion's body but the head of a man may seem to represent Okonkwo, at first, in Achebe's novel, given Okonkwo's violence towards other people in the novel. But while Okonkwo is certainly rough, and unable to appreciate feminine and humane values, as embodied, for example, in his wife's tribe or in the missionaries his son turns to for guidance, the coming colonial influence to Africa could also be characterized as a beast. The beast moves slowly, and is at first imperceptible to the tribesmen who are concerned with their own internal disputes, but gradually the political and religious worldview of outsiders subsume the home-grown tribal ideology of the past. orks Cited Achebe,…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Heinemann, 1996.
Fall Aristotle on Things Fall
This tragic flaw is very clearly apparent in Okonkwo, the protagonist of Achebe's Things Fall Apart. He is very strong and very masculine according to the expectations of his people, and this both helps him to win success amongst his people despite the shame of his family background -- his father was not well respected in the community -- and causes him to be banished from the villages. This banishment somewhat ironically -- though in a perfect twist for a tragic plot -- weakens the villages and enables the white newcomers' ways to dominate the society, which ultimately leads to Okonkwo's "weak" death at his own hands. The beginning of the change can be seen when Okonkwo convinces himself to take part in the ritual slaying of a kidnapped boy from another village, despite warnings that he should avoid participation: "When did you become a shivering old woman,' Okonkwo asked…
Opening Scenes of Things Fall
In revenge, Okonkwo extracts the payment of the young boy Ikemefuna, to whom he gives to his first wife to raise. Taking the 'riches' of the competing Mbiano clan are equated with taking representatives of their next generation. This anxiety over the next generation is seen in Okonkwo's treatment of his first-born, biological son, whom he fears will be weak like the boy's grandfather. Okonkwo clearly fears a crisis of leadership in the next generation, and he associates leadership skills with physical excellence and bravery, as this has gained him his status within his world. However, despite the emphasis on fighting ability, there is clearly another side to the Umuofia, as Okonkwo's father's gifts are valued and even warring tribes are able to exchange kola nuts and drink palm wine together in a symbolic exchange of hospitality. Finally, the conflict is not settled through war, and the young Ikemefuna is…
Causes Relationships to Fall Apart it Happens
Causes elationships to Fall Apart It happens to us all -- that moment when our knees get weak from the sight of someone else; that split second that it seems like nothing else in the entire world matters; that instant when all seems right in the world, and we hope and pray that it never changes. Most everyone remember those beginning stages in a relationship where everything in the universe is absolutely, irrevocably, fearlessly perfect, right? So how do all of those feelings, thoughts, moments of pure bliss take a gut wrenching nose dive for the worse? Why do people fall out of love? How do people go from being love drunk to those month long purging sessions to rid themselves of the toxins that once were our former soul mates? It happens, even to the best of us, even to those of us who attempt to make every wrong…
Baxter, L.A., & Braithwaite, D.O. (2008). Interpersonal communication: evolving interpersonal relationships. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=aaD9iVgxpE4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR13&dq=Interpersonal+communication+:+evolving+interpersonal+relationships&ots=sI36504Nzv&sig=WLjMoUxRflWxRn6YTf7Hkbfhghg#v=onepage&q&f=false
Harvey, J.H., & Wenzel, A. (2001). Close romantic relationships: maintenance and enhancement. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=knWespEJEncC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=Close+romantic+relationships+:+maintenance+and+enhancement&ots=Cqv3DKeRC5&sig=Ik894HW_i7oiC5nQUrr8A1uR4LA#v=onepage&q&f=false
Kalbfleisch, P.J. (1993). Interpersonal communication: evolving interpersonal relationships. Hillsdale, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Strength in Themes of Modernist Poetry Things
Strength in Themes of Modernist Poetry Things fall apart, the center cannot hold," wrote Yeats of the modern, human condition. Yeats later poetic vision highlights a central notion in much of modern poetic philosophy, namely that the old ideological and religious structures have begun to unravel in modern life. hat ideologies that once held up the human form and human social norms are no more, in the face of modern war and destruction. The title of this poem "The Second Coming" refers to the fact that the awaited solution to the crisis, that of the second coming of the Messiah, seems no where to be found, and while human beings wait for meaning, it seems to be no where, and all human strength is lost. However, not all of modern poetry is absent of answers of the lack of strength in the face of the bleak crisis of hopelessness, of…
Dickinson, Emily. "I felt a funeral in my brain." http://swc2.hccs.cc.tx.us/htmls/rowhtml/dickinson/emily02.htm. On April 19, 2004
Pound, Ezra. "Fan Piece, for her Imperial Lord." Retrieved at http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/pound01.html . On April 19, 2004.
Yeats, W.B. "The Second Coming." Retrieved at http://www.poets.org/poems/poems.cfm?prmID=1369 on April 19, 2004.
Fall 2015 Fashion Trends
Fall Trends for 2015 Christian Dior, which is commonly known as Dior, is a luxury goods firm that has developed over the years to become an important part of LVMH, which is the largest luxury group in the world. The company, which is headquartered in France, was founded in 1946 by Christian Dior, a designer who the company was named after. Since its inception, Dior has experienced tremendous growth and profitability over the years to become a leading company in the fashion design industry. Currently, Dior designs and retails a wide range of products including leather goods, jewelry, fashion accessories, make-up, footwear, ready-to-wear goods, fragrance, and skincare products. As part of designing and retailing these products, Dior operates several labels for men and children's wear products while retaining its Christian Dior label mostly to women's products. The company not only sells its products online but also throughout its wide range…
Annual Report 2014. LVMH Group. accessed September 27, 2015. http://r.lvmh-
Fashion Color Report Fall 2015. Pantone Color Institute Volume 43. accessed September 27,
Film Critique Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee demonstrates his filmmaking prowess in his 1989 film Do the Right Thing. As with most of Lee's work, race relations are central to the story. With Do the Right Thing, Lee presents a bleak view of the nature and future of cross-cultural relationships in urban America. Mookie (played by Spike Lee) is a twenty-something African-American pizza delivery man. He works for Sal's Pizzeria, an establishment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, which is a predominantly black neighborhood. Mookie and Sal, despite their differences, reveal a remarkably similar worldview as the film progresses, and especially in their inability to resolve the racial tension that emerges in the film. Mookie and Sal develop a decent professional relationship, yet both retain lingering feelings of resentment toward the "other." Spike Lee does a remarkable job portraying mutual feelings of "otherness" in Do the Right Thing. The writer/director/actor shows that racism exists on…
Falls Great Falls One Form
The 1960's saw the rise of the feminist movement and the demand of equal rights for women. Suddenly women were faced with an array of new possibilities outside the traditional role of housewife and mother. Many women left the home to take jobs, get educations, and fulfill other dreams; and Jackie's mother was one of those. But the liberation of women from the traditional role of wife and mother meant harm to the traditional family unit, and sometimes that harm could be quite enormous. hile many women decided that a wife and mother could also have a job, get an education, etc., others decided that the family was too much of a burden for them. It was Jack Russell who was forced to make the decision for his wife; she was no longer part of the family. hile she could not bring herself to make the final break and live…
Kittredge, William, and Allen Morris Jones. The Best of Montana's Short Fiction.
Guilford, CT: Lyons, 2004. Print.
Fall Camus's Story the Fall
.. Anyone who has considerably meditated on man, by profession or vocation, is led to feel nostalgia for the primates. They at least don't have any ulterior motives." (Camus, 4) Passion as well might make one authentic, or a true and mindless embrace of any aspect of life. Truthfully, the story does little to present us with true authenticity, because the narrator himself never discovers it. The meaning of this story may seem very difficult to grasp if one makes the assumption that the narrator speaks for the author as a voice of wisdom and reason. Actually, no such assumption needs to be made. Camus is well-known for writing ironic works in which the speaker is not a mouth-piece for virtue. A key to this work may be found in something which Camus wrote shortly before-hand regarding his falling-out with Sartre. "Existentialists! henever they accuse themselves, you can be sure…
Camus, Albert. The Fall. Trans. Justin O'Brien. New York: Vintage Books, 1956
Raskin, Richard. "Camus's Critiques of Existentialism." Minerva - an Internet Journal of Philosophy 4 (2001): 156-165
Exile Literary Characters in Exile Can Be
Exile Literary Characters in Exile Exile can be the self-imposed banishment from one's home or given as a form of punishment. The end result of exile is solitude. Exile affords those in it for infinite reflection of themselves, their choices, and their lives in general. Three prominent literary characters experience exile as part of the overall narrative and in that, reveal a great deal about themselves to themselves as well as to the readers. The three narratives in questions are "The Epic of Gilgamesh," "The Tempest," and "Things Fall Apart." All of the main characters of these narratives experience exile as a result of actions taken by the protagonists at earlier points in the story. The protagonist in each respective story are exiled because of their choices and the exile forces each character to face consequences that ultimately bring their inner character to the surface in a more direct manner…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: First Anchor Books Edition, 1994.
Mason, Herbert. Gilgamesh A Verse Narrative. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.
Shakespeare, William. "The Tempest." Ed. Barbara A. Mowat & Paul Werstine. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1994.
Sutton, Brian. "Virtue Rather Than Vengeance": Genesis and Shakespeare's The Tempest." Explicator, Vol. 66, No. 4, 224-229.
Violence & Discrimination Against Women
Thus, as Kurtz approached his death, he came upon the realization of this possibility -- a possibility that came true upon his 'defeat' (death). This realization was embodied in his exclamation, "The horror! The horror!" As he neared his death. Explicit violence was, evidently, just a "mask" that colonizers used to cover up their fears of the potential power and control of the natives over them (colonizers). In the same vein, violence was also portrayed in Achebe's "Things Fall Apart," although this was expressed implicitly through the inherent tendency of Africans to view women as the weaker and inferior sex. Okonkwo's behavior towards his wives and daughters showed this animosity between sexes in African culture. However, it was also implicitly shown in the novel how, despite their apparent submissiveness, the women in Okonkwo's life and in the Mbanta tribe showed strength of character and control over males more than the…
Achebe, C. (1994). Things Fall Apart. New York: First Anchor Books.
Conrad, J. E-text of "Heart of Darkness." Available at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=ConDark.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all .
Okonkwo Self-Made Man in Chinua
Okonkwo is a typical tribesman living and adapting to his surroundings. He is actually no different from anyone else in that he acts according to his heart. He truly believes he is doing the right thing and that is what matters. Okonkwo is not a bad man; he simply makes mistakes and this makes him human. He does not set out to do evil. Upon hearing about Ezeudu's death, Okonkwo is saddened along with the rest of the tribe. Ezeudu was a noble man in the clan and he was also the oldest tribesman. At the funeral ritual, Okonkwo's gun explodes, killing Ezeudu's son. This is a shocking event because nothing like this had happened before. Okonkwo had to obey tribal law and leave the clan because it was a "crime against the earth goddess to kill a clansman's son" (124). The law of the land dictated Okonkwo could return…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books. 1959. Print.
Do Electronic Voting Machines Improve the Voting Process
Things Fall Apart" Achebe before referencing Electronic Voting Machines: Technology's failure to rehabilitate American's confidence in the voting process Theoretically, counting votes should be easy. After all, surely it is simply the accumulation and the verifying of data? However, when America attempted to adopt touch-screen, electronic voting on a wide scale, the result was a fiasco. "There was a wonderful confluence of events. There was a vague product requirement coming from an agency that doesn't really understand technology (the U.S. Congress), foisting a system on other government agencies that may not have asked for it. There was a relatively small time frame for development and a lot of money. Finally, the government did not allow for even the notion of failure. By 2004, darn it, we'd all have touch screen voting" (Cringely, 2003). Congress expected to adopt touch-screen voting on a widespread basis in the next election, after the controversy…
Cringely, Robert. (4Dec 2003). "No Confidence Vote." PBS. Retrieved 19 Feb 2008 at http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2003/pulpit_20031204_000794.html
Kantor, Andrew. (4 Jun 2004). "More Problems Arise with 'black box voting.'
USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/andrewkantor/2004-06-04-kantor_x.htm
Krugman, Paul. (2 Dec 2003). "Hack the Vote." The New York Times. Retrieved 19 Feb 2008 at http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940CE2DF1E3AF931A35751C1A9659C8B63
Psychological Trauma of Colonization the
You drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog... " This statement shows that the once great leader is nothing in the eyes of the white colonists. This has a trickle-down affect on those around him. When Okonkwo gave in to the struggle, those around him lost their final hope of every overcoming the colonialists. Through an examination of two African historical novels, one can see many similarities in the psychology of change between colonialism and change management in corporate take-overs. Change begins slowly and there are always some that will readily accept the new regime and others that will put up a resistance. The reasons for resistance to change are similar to corporate change. One can find examples of the same psychological reactions in both novels. The resistance becomes more violent as it loses ground and the total change and loss of familiar…
Achebe, C. Things Fall Apart. New York, NY: Anchor Books.
Ngugi, wa Thiong'o. Petals of Blood. New York, NY: Penguin Books.
Sdiffgy-krenke, I. Coping Styles: Does intervention change anything? Eurpoean Journal of Developmental Psychology. 1 (4): 367-382.
Winn, G.A Change in employee attitude IS possible! Change Management, Retrieved April 11,
V S Naipaul's Enigma of Arrival and Chinua
V.S. Naipaul's Enigma of Arrival and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart both show how colonialism affects individuals as well as whole societies. While Naipaul's book is more optimistic in tone and less tragic in plot than Achebe's is, both of these novels create compelling accounts of how colonialism changes the consciousness of human beings. The consequences of colonialism are difficult to treat in novels because of the varied manifestations of colonial practices and the different ways people react. Although both told from the perspective of the colonized, Enigma of Arrival and Things Fall Apart are completely different in tone, theme, and plot. The differences between the two novels illustrate the wide range of disparate experiences of colonization. One of the things I appreciated most about these two books was in fact receiving an alternative account of history, told through the eyes of the oppressed. The theme of transformation is also…
Conversion Tactics of Mr Brown
Our Lord Himself stressed the importance of fewness...Our Lord used the whip only once in His life -- to drive the crowd away from the Church."(Achebe, 169) On the other hand, Mr. Brown seems to have an overall positive contribution to the African community. Nevertheless, the author ironically implies that there is indeed only a difference in method between the two missionaries, and the decline of the Igbo culture already began under the more lenient government of Mr. Brown. For example, the school he builds can be seen as another way to indoctrinate the clan. This school is in fact the cause of other conflicts inside the Igbo community, since by attending this school an Igbo could become a 'court messenger', that is someone that would report and give out information from inside the clan to the white governors: "Mr. Brown's school produced quick results. A few months in it…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Greenwich: Fawcett Publications, 1959
African Novels When Authors Are
If anything, the more languages in which a book is published the better. This way there can be as much cross fertilization of ideas and solutions to pressing needs. eferences Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Penguin, 2006. ____African Trilolgy. London: Picador, 2000 Ashcroft, Bill; Griffiths, Gareth and Tiffin, Helen (eds.). The Post Colonial Studies eader, London: outledge, (1995) Bassnett-McGuire, Susan. Translation Studies. London: outledge, 1991. Chevrier, Jacques. "Writing African books in the French Language L'Afrique littcraire et artistique 50 (1979): 49. Janmohamed, a. Janmohamed, a. "Sophisticated Primitivism: The Syncretism of Oral and Literate Modes in Achebe, Chinua Things Fall Apart.." Ariel: A eview of International English Literature 15 (1984): 19-39. Gikandi, Simon. "The Epistemology of Translation: Ngugi, Matigari, and the Politics of Language." esearch in African Literatures 22.4 (1991): 161-67. Gyasi, Kwaku. Writing as Translation: African Literature and the Challenges of Translation.: esearch in African Literatures a.2. (1999).,…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Penguin, 2006.
____African Trilolgy. London: Picador, 2000
Ashcroft, Bill; Griffiths, Gareth and Tiffin, Helen (eds.). The Post Colonial Studies Reader, London: Routledge, (1995)
Bassnett-McGuire, Susan. Translation Studies. London: Routledge, 1991.
Storni Alfonsina You Want Me White the
Storni, Alfonsina. "You ant Me hite." The Norton Anthology of orld Vol. F. Ed. Sarah Lawall and Mayard Mac. New York: Norton, 2002. 2124-2125 The poem titled "You ant Me hite" written by Alfonsina Storni explores the issue of women mistreatment by men. The women complain how men expect them to be virgins when they (men ) are not. Atwood, Margaret and Martin, Valerie.The Handmaid's Tale . Anchor.1998 In this book the author portrays how women are only valued for their fertility and they are allowed access to education in the patriarch society. This work is important to the research since it shows how women were mistreated by being regarded as sex symbols as well as not being allowed access to education. Staves, Susan. Married omen's Separate Property Rights in England, 1660(1833. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1990. This work is a recollection of the actual case studies and examples of various…
Atwood, Margaret.The Handmaid's Tale . Anchor.1998
Staves, Susan. Married Women's Separate Property Rights in England, 1660(1833. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1990.
Stewart, Maaja A. Domestic Realities and Imperial Fictions: Jane Austen's Novels in Eighteenth-Century Contexts. Athens: U. Of Georgia P, 1993.
Dwellings Body Home City The
If they can change the fundamental beliefs of the tribe, then they can control the natives more easily: "The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. e were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart" (Achebe 152). Confronted with change, individual members of Ibo society react differently. Those who stand to gain from change -- the outcasts, the oppressed -- welcome it. Those who have risen to positions of authority by following the old way -- Okonkwo, for example -- resist change. The battle between the old and the new is highlighted by the arrival of Christian missionaries and colonial authority. Okonkwo and Obierika recognize that many of their clansmen…
1. Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Anchor, 1994.
2. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Dover Publications, 1990.
3. Plato. "Apology." The Collected Dialogues of Plato: Including the Letters. Princeton University Press, 2005.
4. Plato. "Crito." The Collected Dialogues of Plato: Including the Letters. Princeton University Press, 2005.
Androgynous Quality of Ezinma in
In the novel, Ani possesses power primarily because she is the one who makes it possible for Umuofia members to have productive harvests and for women to bear more children, yields greater power in the patriarchal Umuofia community (30-1). The power Ani wields to the village reflect the importance given to agriculture and fertility, symbolic and actual concepts related to reproduction, which would not become possible without the participation and presence of women. Thus, Ani embodies the collective power of women in Umuofia, whose ability to reproduce makes them more powerful than the monied and powerful men of their village. Through Ezinma and Ani, female power has managed to emerge and become influential in Umuofia, although male dominance is tolerated in order to maintain the status quo in the tribe. orks Cited Achebe, C. (1994). Things Fall Apart.…
Achebe, C. (1994). Things Fall Apart. NY: First Anchor Books.
Gulliver's Travels Tartuffe Madame Bovary The Death
Gulliver's Travels," "Tartuffe," "Madame Bovary," "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," & "Things Fall Apart" The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and compare how the theme(s) of "Things Fall Apart" by Achebe relate to the theme and/or storylines of "Gulliver's Travels," by Swift, "Tartuffe," by Moliere, "Madame Bovary," by Flaubert, and "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Tolstoy. All these authors use their works to "expose and alter the fundamental moral codes that determine political systems and social mores" (Levine 136). POLITICAL SYSTEMS AND SOCIAL MORES Things Fall Apart," by Chinua Achebe is a novel about an African family named Okonkwo, who try to fit in to the white man's society. However, their own society was balanced, happy, and complete, and they did not really need to fit in with the white man. hen they did, it ultimately destroyed their society, and way of life. Gulliver's Travels," by…
Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovary: Life in a Country Town. Trans. Gerard Hopkins. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Grossman, Debra. "SparkNotes on Gulliver's Travels." SparksNotes.com. 2002. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gulliver
Levine, Alan. "Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart as a Case Study in Nietzsche's Transvaluation of Values." Perspectives on Political Science 28.3 (1999): 136-141.
Moliere, Jean Baptiste Poquelin. "Tartuffe." Project Gutenberg. 2002. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=2027
Impact of the European Culture in Africa
European culture in Africa Published in 1958, the book Things Fall Apart is an influential piece of work by Achebe that portrays, in most conventional style, the life and culture in a very traditional village in Africa. This book is about restoration of traditional values and identification of identity of African people in the wake of European cultural dominance and acceptance. This report is about how the writer has projected upon the life and revived the African culture as against the treat of European cultural imperialism. In this novel the writer tries to enlighten the foreign world as regards to the cultural traditions of Ibo and in doing so the writer is also reminding the African people of their own traditions and cultural values. The writer is of the notion that the African people must not forget their old values, customs and cultural norms in this changing verve of the…
Achebe, Chinua. (1958) Things Fall Apart, Heinemarm, 1994 ed.,
McKay, John P., Hill and Buckler (2003) A History of Western Society (Volume 2). 7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Impact of the European culture in Africa
Postcolonial Literature Everytime I Think
There is the feeling that Rushdie is toying with the concept of freedom of speech in this story as well as destroying the concept of the East as mysterious. Rushdie uses English to tell his story, but he incorporates the Indian oral tradition without any kind of chronological structure to the story. He deconstruct the binary opposition of East and est. He himself is between the Orient and the Occident and he chooses to use both structures, combining Britain and India (Buran 10). The factors of race and gender complicate the relations of class in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, ole Soyinka's "Telephone Conversation," and Jean Rhys "Let Them Call It Jazz" in various ways. In Heart of Darkness, the story is centered on the typical male experience, which tends to alienate the female reader from the very "mannish" story. There is some speculation that Marlow and Kurtz's sexist views…
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Heinemann; Expanded edition, 1996.
Buran, Abdullah. Salman Rushdie's East, West: Deconstructing the Binary Division
Between Orient and Occident. Germany: Druck und Bindung: Books on Demand,
Modernism God the World and Literature The
Modernism) God, the World, and Literature: The Concept of Social Morality in Modern Literature Literature, as the primary source of information of people in witnessing and experiencing realities interpreted by the author/writer, is more than a medium that extends messages of reality and experience. Literature is, first and foremost, an expression of thoughts and ideologies that may or may not be agreed upon by the author or his/her characters in the said work. The concept of social morality is such example of these ideologies extended thru literary works. Through literature, writers are able to provide people with varying themes related to the discussion of social morality, offering people avenues wherein morality can be created and developed by the society, and adapted by the individual. Modern literature boasts itself of this kinds of art -- literary works that depict the life of individuals who were directly affected by their own or…
Achebe, C. Things Fall Apart. New York: First Anchor Books, 1994.
Camus, A. The Guest. Available at http://www.geocities.com/su_englit/camus_guest.html.
Eliot, T.S. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Available at http://www.cs.amherst.edu/~ccm/prufrock.html .
Yeats, W.B. The Second Coming. Available at http://www.poets.org/poems/poems.cfm?prmID=1369 .
Post Homework Help ❯
Things Fall Apart What falls apart and why? The title of Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart refers mainly to the integrity of the Nigerian tribal cultures: to their…
The unpolluted picture of Ibo people comes to life with the helps of such things as the detailed description of New Yam Festival that opens Chapter 5. While some…
Mythology - Religion
" Okonkwo inflexible traditionalism pitted him against his gentle son Nwoye, who joined the Christian European missionaries. In the book, Oknokwo had to participate in a ceremonial human sacrifice…
Family and Marriage
Therefore, Okonkwo rejected his father, and hence, the womanly element of himself. He turned out to be a leading wrestler and warrior in his people to make available the…
Things Fall Apart Hubris and the Suicide of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart This novel by Chinua Achebe was first published in 1958. Set on the continent…
Smith hates the Igbo faith so much that he equates it to the Baal and the followers of Baal in the Biblical Old Testament. He has strict policy over…
The best members of African youth are destroyed or ignored. Although he is African, because he is a member of a rival clan, Ikemefuna, is killed, when the energies…
Black Studies - Philosophy
For this reason, he is a tragic hero according to Aristotle's definition of the word. Aristotle believed tragedies must "imitate actions which excite pity and fear" (Aristotle). This involves…
Moreover, the unquestioned belief in the oracle's word conflicts with Okonkwo's own needs to solidify his family's political leadership and social standing in the tribe. Okonkwo's desire to redeem…
Things Fall Apart All classical heroes have tragic flaws. In the case of Okonkwo, the protagonist in Chinau Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart, heroism is demonstrated by his position…
This was especially important to the reading because it also showed that the natives wanted to get along with the whites, but the whites were far less interested in…
Sports - Women
Achebe puts it this way, "Okonkwo encouraged the boys to sit with him in his obi, and he told them stories of the land -- masculine stories of violence…
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Specifically, it will evaluate how the arrival of the Europeans in Nigeria transformed everyday life for the Nigerian villagers. It will present an…
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Things Fall Apart" the author, Chinua Achebe, offers a unique perspective on Africa and the effect of European civilization on Africa. The story is told with a focus on…
In times of trouble and cultural breakdown dominant figures often seek out the most vulnerable of members to rail against and yet Achebe does not give evidence to this…
Literature - African
The 1958 novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, follows the life of the protagonist, Okonkwo, a leader and a local athletic hero in a made-up Nigerian hamlet, named…
Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe before referencing Things Fall Apart: Still relevant to Africa today The postcolonial classic Things Fall Apart by Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe shows both…
He does not hesitate to host Ikemefuna when his tribe provides him with this task and he even takes part in murdering the child when the tribe's elders decide…
Empowerment through Creation and Protection: The Role of Women in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a depiction of the tragic life of Okonkwo, the main character. Many…
Today, most Americans do not socialize with their neighbors, or depend on them for their entertainment and friendship, and so, modern culture differs greatly from this clan-like village culture.…
Okonkwo seems full of passionate intensity to preserve things as they are, and to preserve his sense of masculine, patriarchal authority. But although this sense of passion seems to…
Chinua Achebe’s classic novel Things Fall Apart describes a critical juncture in Igbo society: the first point of contact with missionaries. Even prior to their arrival, the protagonist of…
Things Fall Apart" Achebe before referencing Things Fall Apart: Summary Things Fall Apart is the story of the tribal leader Okonkwo of the Umuofia tribe. At the beginning of…
Chinua Achebe presents an archetypal patriarchal warrior with the character of Okonkwo in the novel Things Fall Apart. Okonkwo is described as being “well known,” his fame being based…
Okonkwo, the protagonist of Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, exemplifies the traits of a classic tragic hero. Determined to cling to the past and its out-dated traditions and…
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe is one of the most influential and powerful writers of today, and he is also one of the most widely published writers today. Chinua…
Things Fall Apart and the Issue of Culture From a cultural analysis perspective, the two main cultures represented in Achebe's Things Fall Apart, stem from opposing religious/social positions and…
] [4: Ibid.] In Things Fall Apart, the reader can see how the ritish and French began to institute their governing and belief systems. Achebe writes, "[Apart] from the…
They are rocked by a hand of fear, not motherly nurturance. They are obsessed by their fears, of becoming like his father in the case of Okonkwo and of…
But such a violent and unexpected murder, and to come in such a very uncivilized manner! According to what the other men told me, there was absolutely no provocation…
Colonial Resistance in Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe was born in Ogidi, Nigeria, and his father was a teacher in a missionary school. His parents were devout evangelical Protestants…
Okonkwo The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a story about the culture clash that occurs when white colonizers arrived on the African continent and attempted to…
"ould you like a white woman ongee?" Jimmie asked. "Don't seem ter make their cow-cockies happy, having white woman for 'is wife. hy else he come after black girls?…
Role of omen in African and Indian Society Both Things Fall Apart and Nectar in a Sieve weave rather vivid imagery of the life of women in the traditional,…
Humanities 202 FINAL EXAM Emilia: the wife of Iago. She provides the handkerchief for her husband, unwittingly facilitating Iago's orchestrated revenge upon Othello. However, she sympathizes with Desdemona, regarding…
Thus, the "ceremony of innocence" by which the boy was received into the tribe is now replaced with violence. Okonkwo, even though he loves the boy, kills him to…
This tragic flaw is very clearly apparent in Okonkwo, the protagonist of Achebe's Things Fall Apart. He is very strong and very masculine according to the expectations of his…
In revenge, Okonkwo extracts the payment of the young boy Ikemefuna, to whom he gives to his first wife to raise. Taking the 'riches' of the competing Mbiano clan…
Causes elationships to Fall Apart It happens to us all -- that moment when our knees get weak from the sight of someone else; that split second that it…
Strength in Themes of Modernist Poetry Things fall apart, the center cannot hold," wrote Yeats of the modern, human condition. Yeats later poetic vision highlights a central notion in…
Business - Law
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The 1960's saw the rise of the feminist movement and the demand of equal rights for women. Suddenly women were faced with an array of new possibilities outside the…
.. Anyone who has considerably meditated on man, by profession or vocation, is led to feel nostalgia for the primates. They at least don't have any ulterior motives." (Camus,…
Exile Literary Characters in Exile Exile can be the self-imposed banishment from one's home or given as a form of punishment. The end result of exile is solitude. Exile…
Thus, as Kurtz approached his death, he came upon the realization of this possibility -- a possibility that came true upon his 'defeat' (death). This realization was embodied in…
Okonkwo is a typical tribesman living and adapting to his surroundings. He is actually no different from anyone else in that he acts according to his heart. He truly…
Things Fall Apart" Achebe before referencing Electronic Voting Machines: Technology's failure to rehabilitate American's confidence in the voting process Theoretically, counting votes should be easy. After all, surely it…
Business - Management
You drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog... " This statement shows that the once great leader is nothing in the eyes…
V.S. Naipaul's Enigma of Arrival and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart both show how colonialism affects individuals as well as whole societies. While Naipaul's book is more optimistic in…
Our Lord Himself stressed the importance of fewness...Our Lord used the whip only once in His life -- to drive the crowd away from the Church."(Achebe, 169) On the…
Communication - Language
If anything, the more languages in which a book is published the better. This way there can be as much cross fertilization of ideas and solutions to pressing needs.…
Storni, Alfonsina. "You ant Me hite." The Norton Anthology of orld Vol. F. Ed. Sarah Lawall and Mayard Mac. New York: Norton, 2002. 2124-2125 The poem titled "You ant…
If they can change the fundamental beliefs of the tribe, then they can control the natives more easily: "The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably…
In the novel, Ani possesses power primarily because she is the one who makes it possible for Umuofia members to have productive harvests and for women to bear more…
Gulliver's Travels," "Tartuffe," "Madame Bovary," "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," & "Things Fall Apart" The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and compare how the theme(s) of…
European culture in Africa Published in 1958, the book Things Fall Apart is an influential piece of work by Achebe that portrays, in most conventional style, the life and…
There is the feeling that Rushdie is toying with the concept of freedom of speech in this story as well as destroying the concept of the East as mysterious.…
Modernism) God, the World, and Literature: The Concept of Social Morality in Modern Literature Literature, as the primary source of information of people in witnessing and experiencing realities interpreted…
A “who am I” essay is a simple type of open-ended introductory essay. It is used in certain schools, workplaces and around the world to help members of a group introduce themselves through their writing. They are generally about a page long...
A topic is the general theme, message or idea expressed in a speech or written work. Effective writing requires people to remain on topic, without adding in a lot of extraneous information.
There are several symbols used in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, including yams, fire, ash, the egwugwu and The Mother of the Spirits. Folk tales, especially those highlighting animals, are also used to symbolize femininity and provi...
Suggested Essay Topics · 1. Think about the role of weather in the novel. · 2. Women suffer great losses in this novel but also, in certain circumstances, hold
Explore a Theme in Your Essay · Topic #2: Discuss the theme of tradition versus change in the novel · Topic #3: Describe how the theme of
For more sample essay topics, head over to our Things Fall Apart Study Guide to practice writing essays using the analysis you've learnt in this
1. Why did Achebe choose to take the title of his novel, Things Fall Apart, from William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming"? 2.
Things Fall Apart Essay Prompts. Remember: Your essay should focus on analysis-not plot summary. Though you will need to refer to the text to support your
⭐ Good Research Topics about Things Fall Apart · Culture and Humanity: “Things Fall Apart” and “The Gods Must Be Crazy” · Achebe's “Things Fall
How does the title of the novel Things Fall Apart, from William Butler Yeats' poem, relate to the events within it? Okonkwo doubts the power of his 'chi'
Things Fall Apart Essays · Things Fall Apart Masculinity · White Missionaries and the Igbo People · Gender Roles in Things Fall Apart · Comparative Study on Heart
Essays on Things Fall Apart · Things Fall Apart: Change Vs Tradition · The Portrayal of Women in Things Fall Apart · Repression and Tragedy in Achebe's Things Fall
13. In your opinion, what contributes most to things falling apart in Umuofia? Explain. 14. How are the womanly or feminine qualities of the Igbo
What falls apart and why? The title of Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart refers mainly to the integrity of the Nigerian tribal cultures: to their customs