Elements of a Novel
Setting Plot Character Point of View Theme Stylistic choices What makes Achebe's work his?
Note time and place of events Note descriptions of locations Note changes of time and place Note local color: behavior, speech, details and other characteristics of a certain region, culture, or time depicted in a novel to add authenticity
Note significant events that develop the storyline including: conflicts, complications, rising action, climax, falling action, resolutions, etc.
Consider why Achebe divided the work into three parts.
Keep a list of significant characters in the front of your text noting important page numbers for character development Note details of characterization and motivation Note the connections between characters, especially minor characters to the main character Pay particular attention to the character your are assigned
What elements of a tragic hero are evident in Okonkwo.
Consider his hamartia, peripeteia, anagnorisis, catharsis, nemesis, etc.
Does the novel include all the elements or are there differences from the classic definition we learned?
Consider similarities and differences between Julius Caesar and Things Fall Apart.
What narrator is used?
Note tone: consider reflective, ironic, tragic, satirical (towards missionaries?), fable like, sympathetic, but not sentimental. Find and note examples to support these as you read.
Pay attention to Achebe's awareness of both cultures. Is he even-handed?
Themes: Note examples and trace at the back of your book:
Masculinity and Femininity Fate/destiny Fear Change and tradition Culture Clashes Religion Ambition/Success/Failure Anger
Motifs/Symbols/Imagery Note the repeated use of these as you read and trace:
Yams Rituals Fire Night Drums Wrestling Locusts Death culture Silence Proverbs Nature Agbala Titles Spirits/gods Animals Folktales religion
Figurative Language/ syntax/Diction/Tense : Note the use of:
Similes/metaphors-tend to connect with culture/animals relevant to the Igbo Short simple vocabulary and syntax Past tense-allows reflection, retrospect (can put in bigger picture) Igbo words, proverbs, and folktales