Representations of Culture

TFA Part 1

Holding a mirror up to culture

We have briefly made parallels between Ibo culture and “Western” or European culture (or possibly something more specific. We can look at this in more detail in chapter 5:

And then the storm burst. Okonkwo, who had been walking about aimlessly in his compound in suppressed anger, suddenly found an outlet.

“Who killed this banana tree?” he asked.

A hush fell on the compound immediately.

“Who killed this tree? Or are you all deaf and dumb?”

As a matter of fact the tree was very much alive.

Okonkwo’s second wife had merely cut a few leaves off it to wrap some food, and she said so. Without further argument Okonkwo’s second wife had merely cut a few leaves off it to wrap some food, and she said so. Without further argument Okonkwo gave her a sound beating and left her and her only daughter weeping. Neither of the other wives dared to interfere beyond an occasional and tentative, “It is enough Okonkwo,”pleaded from a reasonable distance.

His anger thus satisfied, Okonkwo decided to go out hunting. (pg. ….)

Putting the pieces together

Design a podcast that incorporates the 3 elements of critical literacy we discussed yesterday. (Situating the text, The text in the world, and Conversations Between the Reader and Writer).

The purpose of the podcast is to teach your audience about an element of Ibo culture. Your only source is Things Fall Apart so it is important that you refer to the author at some stage.

You may choose your audience and must adapt your register accordingly.

  • a brief introduction – Make it engaging!
  • the aspect of culture you intend to discuss
  • cultural understandings that are necessary to comprehend “what’s going on”. “Its important for the you guys to understand that…
  • What Achebe wants the reader (the audience) to think. “Achebe wants us to understand that…”
  • How we know? What words does he use to show us. “Achebe shows us this by…”
  • Wrap-up “Check back next week as we discuss”



Activity: Write a convincing argument, 1 – 2 paragraphs, that explains the purpose of Part 1 of TFA. Use the podcasts to guide your writing.

“Part one of ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe can best be described as an introduction to Ibo culture and the Ibo lifestyle”.

“In the first part, the author attempts to introduce the reader to the culture of the Ibo people.”

“The reason the author could be writing the book in English is to show to the readers how different cultures can be from one another.”

Activity: Choose 1 aspect of Ibo culture (probably from Part 1). Rewrite a section of the text in order to change the readers response to the text. Be liberal with your additions – don’t worry too much about cultural accuracy as we won’t publish this work publicly.

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