Sunday, February 26, 2006

I have a few quesitons for you about the book. In my opinion, Okonkwo thought he knew himself, but he did not really. Thus, that is why when he became burdened with problems, he killed himself. This is because he did not teach himself to deal with his problems, but instead ignore them in order to appear honorable. The stress overcame him and he thought he had nothing to lose, nothing to look towards, and nothing to do with his life. But I have a few questions for you about different tpoics in the book.
Questions:
1. What do you think caused Okonkwo to commit suicide?
My Answer: He had so many problems that accumulated over his lifespan, in the end, he could not handle it anymore. Thus, he committed suicide to rid himself of the stress without thinking about how else he could handle his troubles.
2. Do you think Nwoye will be affected by Okonkwo's death? How so?
My Answer: I believe Nwoye will be greatly affected by his death becayse since his father died before they could talk, he will always think about how he could have just pleased his father by not converting to Christianity and continue thinking that if he did so, Okonkwo would not have had so much stress that he was driven to suicide. In addition, he will feel as though his father's suicide was all his fault, and he might live the rest of his life in a desperated state and eventually, he may commit suicide as the stress accumulates.
3. How do you think Okonkwo's death will affect the entire communtity?
My answer: I believe his family will be looked down upon because Okonkwo committed an unclean act and they will also be looked down upon as unclean. The community, as a wole, may be greatly saddened and surprised that such a great man had so many problems and in the end committed such a horrific act against himself and the gods.
What are your answers?

I finished reading the book. This novel is truly inspiring and I really enjoyed reading the book. This should be a classic (if it is not already).
In chapter twenty-one through twenty-five, Okonkwo returns from home being exiled in his motherland only to see that Umuofia as completely changed since he was lost there seven years ago. He came home to see that his village also had a missionary built within its area, as well as a court, a hospital, and a government. He was unable to handle these changes, and after he killed a messenger from the missionary, he went home and tragically took his own life.
When I read these chapters, I was greatly surprised and saddened. I would have never guessed that the stress and problems that burdened Okonkwo would cause him to take his own life. He had so much to live for and so many reasons to stay alive and try and work out his problems. I believe if the story had continued after chapter twenty-five, the story would tell about how his death affected his family, the community, and how his problems were dealt with in the end. However, I have made a connection between Okonkwo's death and his father's death. His father died heavily in debt, yet he lived a happy life as he did what he loved and his last days on Earth were spent as he played his flute, which brought him much joy. However, Okonkwo died alone, miserable, and he only killed himself because he was unable to handle the stress that he took on in his life. My conclusion is that in Okonkwo's society, you were given two choices of how to live your life. The first choice was that you lived happily, but were looked down upon in society for some reason, but continued to live your life without caring about what others thought or said about you (which is what Unoka did). The second choice is that you are to live honorably, work hard, and then you would be looked upon as decent or honorable in society, but you are forced to hide your problems and struggles from society's eyes. Either way, you are forced to lie to yourself in a way (due to the fact that you must either lie to yourself and ignore your problems to live happily or you must look calm and honorable in public while you struggle with your problems as you have a miserable life). In the end, life turns out to be a "catch 22" and in death, you can either die happy (as you lived in shame and misery) or die in misery (as you lived in honor and fame while secretly living in misery).
That is just my opinion. What do you think?

I am currently up to chapter twenty. This novel is truly surprising me with each chapter. I would have never expected any of the events that happened in actual life to also occur (and be told about) in this book. I really like this book.
From chapter fourteen to chapter twenty, Okonkwo is trying to transition into his new surroundings. He also struggles with his personal life (with his problems with Nwoye) while trying to deal with the changing environment in his villages (with the introduction of missionaries). All of these problems are stressing Okonkwo out as he has to burden himself with trying to appear honorable while in exile.
In my opinion, Okonkwo is being very hard-headed, stubborn, and narrow-minded. Through all of his problems, he continues to act strong, tough, and manly for the sake of appearing honorable. Many people know that he is greatly burdened with many problems, but he will not allow anyone to help him. I know that this must be very stressful to him, but if he refuses to receive help, then I believe it is only right for him to struggle as he desperately tries to solve his problems on his own. I know it sounds cruel, but think about it. If your friend had a big problem and they absolutely REFUSED to receive help from you or from anyone else, don't you think if they continued to struggle, they somewhat deserved it? I'm not trying to seem mean, but I believe they deserve it. However, if that friend was struggling to a great extent, I would help them, whether they like it or not. But if they refuse to receive help due to your own selfish, stubborn, and hard-headed beliefs and standards, I believe if you struggle, you somewhat deserve to do so. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I am currently up to the fourteenth chapter of Things Fall Apart. In my opinion, this book is turning out to be a very good novel. It is challenging and changing (somewhat) my point of view on father-son relationships and African society. Pertaining to my point of view of father-son relationships, I really think this book will entirely change it.
Before reading this book, I thought that father-son relationships only depended on the interactions between the two people. I also thought that if the man accomplished something of great important or failed miserably at something, the son would be affected by it and would set his own personal goals based upon what he saw his father do. Reading this book made me change my whole point of view.
I see now that a son can be influenced by many other people as well as by his father. It may be true that a son may not grow up completely "whole" without his father or a father-like influence. However, the boy may find other people, such as his mother, grandfather, or other men in his village, that can inspire and influence him. For instance, it appears that Nwoye was influenced more by his mother than by Okonkwo (his father). However, Ikemefuna influenced him to do as his father says and inspired him to be hardworking. Through these different influences, his father-son relationship with Okonkwo strengthened.
This shows that young boys can be influenced different people, and still develop a strong relationship with his father even if the father did not primarily influence him.
What are your views on how the book presents the father-son relationship thus far (up to chapter 14)?