Proverbs in Things Fall Apart
“The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them.” p. 8
“If a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.” p. 8
“Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too. If one says no to the other, let his wing break.” p. 19
“A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness.” p. 19
“A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing.” p. 20
“The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did.” p. 21
“Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.” p. 22
“Looking at a king’s mouth, one would think he never sucked at his mother’s breast.” p. 26
“Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.” p. 26
“When a man says yes his chi says yes also.” p. 27
Pick three proverbs from above to study more closely. For each proverb:
Write the meaning of the proverb (explain it using your own words).
Write the relevance to the novel (how it is used, why it is used).
Consider its relevance or irrelevance to today’s world. Can you think of a time when the wisdom of the proverb was applied to a modern situation? Can you think of a time when the wisdom of the proverb should have been applied and wasn’t?
Next, write two or three proverbs of your own about:
Edina High School
Life as a teenager
We’ll share the best ones. Have fun. Be creative. Be smart. And include some of these literary devices: alliteration, parallelism, rhyme, ellipsis,, hyperbole, paradox, and/or personification.
Follow your proverb homework with an analysis of the tortoise story in Things Fall Apart. The tortoise is the trickster in Ibo culture.
Re-read the tortoise story on pages 96-99 and do the following:
- Re-tell how tortoise tricks others in three boxes of a flow map. You may do this in a comic strip of three frames.
- State the moral of the story (theme).
- Discuss why you think Achebe included this story in Things Fall Apart? Examine connections to the novel.