Things Fall Apart - Chapter 8 Questions

Find your name on the list and paste your response under the second column.

Student Name
Question and Answer
A, D.J.

B, Elizabeth

Why does Okonkwo like Madulka right off the bat and how is this reflective of Okonkwo's beliefs?
Okonkwo likes Madulka because he is a good wrestler. This is another example of how much Okonkwo values manliness. He hardly even know Madulka, but he likes him anyway because he is strong.
D, Keri
What happens in this chapter that seems to prove to Okonkwo that being too attached, and too close to women, is a bad thing?

After hearing of Ndule's death, and hearing that his wife died soon after, he thinks that Ndule could not have been very strong. He hears how attached to her the man was, and how he succumbed to what she wanted. Instead of grieving the man, he thinks questions the man's mental and physical strength. It all completely opposes his own beliefs.
D, Spencer

G, Alexander

H, Jocelyn

Why did Okonkwo find it hard to believe that Ndulue, the old man who died, could not do anything without telling his wife?

Okonkwo did not think that a man should have to tell his wife before he did something. He also said that he thought that Ndulue was a strong man when he was young. Okonkwo believed that a who had to consult with his wife before doing something or going somewhere was a weak man, but he knows that Ndulue led Umuofia to war when he was younger. A weak man could not lead villages to war so Okonkwo knew that Ndulue was not a weak man!
Hé, Jasmine

What is Okonkwo's reaction to Ndulue's death? Why are the circumstances hard for him to swallow?

When Ndulue died, his wife died too and although Okonkwo should have been grieving or atleast a little sad, he pulls a big ol jerk move again and questions Ndulue's strength because Ndulue loved his wife. Okonkwo was told that it was weird that the two died only a couple hours apart because the story was told that Ndulue was very close to his wife and very found of her. Of course Okonkwo had to jump all over this, completely shocked that a man would be that close and emotionally intimate with his wife. Seriously.
K, Stephen

L, Donald
Can you make any links between the bride price ritual and modern rituals?
- The ritual that comes to mind has to do with how the father of the bride and perhaps a trusted friend of his get together and decide if the groom is worthy of the bride. The things taken into consideration would be strength of character, his ability to earn money and support a family.
M, Darci

How is a bride price determined in the village?

  • The father of the bride first hands the farther of the groom a bundle of brooms and each broom represents a bag of cowries. They then switch the bundle back and forth taking from the bundle of brooms and adding as necessary, until they both agree on the price.
M, Becky

How have Okonkwo's feelings changed since the beginning of the novel? Do you think he is starting to get a clear conscious?
- Since the beginning of the novel, Okonkwo has been a proud and strong warrior in the village; however after he kills Ikemefuna, his attitude and feelings toward both himself and others change dramatically. After killing Ikemefuna, Okonkwo is so depressed that he cannot eat, or sleep. This is the first time in the novel that Okonkwo has shown any weakness. I think that Okonkwo is starting to get a clear conscious since he is starting to regret his actions from the previous day.
M, Morgan

What does the proverb "A child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam which its mother puts into its palm" mean?

Okonkwo is explaining that he cannot be punished by the Oracle for following the orders of it's messenger since he was told to do it so he cannot be punished for killing Ikemefuna. The same as a child's fingers will not be burnt by a hot yam (punishment) if their mother places the hot yam in their palm (order).
M, Marc

M, Sara

Why does Okonkwo constantly wish Ezinma was a boy?
Okonkwo wishes Ezinma was a boy because he is afraid of showing any emotion toward anyone openly, particularly his daughter. He feels that, of all his children, she understands him the best and he doesn’t think that the bond he feels for her is right because she is, after all, just a girl.

M, Aaron

O, David

In this chapter the men talk extensively about the odd customs of far off lands. Do you think this was to portray them as simple and closed minded?
No, I think the men's conversation was more of a satirical poke at western cultures perception of the Ibo people. It was sort of ironic because the whole book is about showing the reader all their seemingly foreign and silly culture, and yet they think it's normal and that other people are the eccentric ones.
P, Jenna

How are the arrangements of marriage different from their society to ours?
Well when the father of the bride looks for a husband in the Ibo society, he, one has to be rich for he has to pay a bride price and two he has to be able to be skillful at tapping a palm tree, they do not care about love and taking care of the bride as much as our society values that. The bride's father in our society wants a suitable young man who will respect his daughter but also be able to take care of her needs. Normally they hope for one who is successful in his career and well under way with starting a prosperous life. The bride most often has say in their own husband where the wife in this society doesn't always necessarily get to have. Also most of the time a bride's father would not allow for the husband to beat his wife such as they do in the Ibo society.
R, Cally

Chapter Eight Question
What did Okonkwo mean when he said he had thought that Ndulue had been a better man then that?
-When Okonkwo said he thought Ndulue had been quite a man, he was being surprised that he found out that he had been so attatched to a woman. When he heard the story of the love between the old man Ndulue and his wife he was surprised that they had been equals. Okonkwo's mind could not grasp the fact that the old man used to lead the village into battles, and yet he could be in love with a woman. He could not understand that loving someone and treating a woman like an equal was not a weakness.
S, Kendra

Chapter 8 question
Why do you think Okonkwo wishes Ezinma was a boy?

Answer: Ezinma is no doubt Okonkwo's favorite child. She brings comfort upon Okonkwo and shows him affection and understands him. Okonkwo's desire for Ezinma to be boy shows that Okonkwo desires an affectionate relationship with his sons but obviously he thinks that affection is a form of weakness and refuses to show it towards them. Okonkwo says that Ezinma "has the right spirit" which shows that he values her understanding and affection not any form of manliness. Therefore Okonkwo wishes Ezinma was a boy because he unknowingly values their affectionate and understanding bond that he refuses to share with his sons.
S, Jennifer

Does marriage have the same significance in Okonkwo's society, as in our own?
Marriage has similar expectations. A man takes a woman. They don't live together in the same house (which is very unusual), but share meals. Poligamy is common and Okonkwo has a few wives, while here it's illegal.

Why do the Ibo people wait to bury Ogbuefi Ndulue? They waited because if a man and woman die at the same time then the woman has to be buried first. Ogbuefi's wife died a little while later.
S, Lynn

Why do you think the story of teh old man and women is told? weould it be reiceved teh same way here?
It shows us taht people respect adn love women maybe more tehn we thought and the contrast Okonkwo has with them. This story also shows common ground with our society, though the "spirits linked" part might not be taken seroiusly, but teh devotioin adn believance that once a spouse is gone its understandible that often teh otehr isnt far behind. An example of this is the book/movie teh notebook. People think the ending is cute not baloney
T, James

In the chapter following Ikemefuna's death do you feel sympathetic or hatred towards Okonkwo?
Despite his monstrous act in the previous chapter, chapter 8 offers a real insight into Okonkwo's sensitive making you feel sympathy for him. For many days following the murder Okonkwo locks himself in his obi and doesnt eat or sleep. This is because his conscience is very heavy. The fact that he even has a conscience about what he did proves he isnt all bad.
V, Larissa

Okonkwo goes out of this way to greet the boy wrestler from the early chapter. Do you think athletes are too highly recognized in Okonkwo's society? What about are own?

In Okonkwo's society wrestling is their favorite sport, it's their entertainment. A wrestlers skill helps him to earn social status. It helps keep the men in shape and prepares them for battle. There fore a good wrestler will become a good fighter and good soldier for the village. Sports in our society do not have as many positive elements, a lot of athletes are irresponsible off the court or field and cause damage and hurt to others. For all that athletes do that benefits other people they are far to highly recognized. An incredible amount of money is being spent on athletes who flush it down the toilet while people starve in the streets. I don't disagree that it takes skill to put that little white ball in the hole, or drain the leather through the iron rim, but the photo shopped splendor of these people pales the beauty of the ordinary people who are doing amazing things to help people who need it.

Back To Index

Next Chapter