Description Length: Approx. 1,000 words (four double-spaced pages) Citation Style: MLA Sources: Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, and at least ONE scholarly source on the novel. Purpose and Audience This essay will be guided by one of the research questions provided on the following pages. Your research will come from a close reading of the novel itself and at least one secondary scholarly source on the novel. Your audience is your teacher and classmates, all of whom have read the novel (but probably not the scholarly research source). Focus and Expectations Your thesis will answer the research question you choose. Then you will use your research – evidence and support from the novel and scholarly source – to support your answer to the research question in a fully-developed essay. Process First, read the novel! We’ll discuss major themes and characters in class. I recommend reading the novel BEFORE reading the list of research questions; otherwise, “spoiler alert” – you’ll know about some of the big events of the story. After reading the novel once, choose an interesting research question from the provided list. Then conduct a second, “close reading” of the novel, where you skim the less relevant parts of the story and focus heavily on the parts that seem relevant to the research question. Highlight, take notes, etc. Next, find a scholarly source on the novel that is related to the research question you’ve chosen. Start with the scholarly essays provided in the Norton Critical Edition of the novel. If none of those seem relevant, use your research skills to search the library databases for something better. Once you find an appropriate source, read it closely, taking notes on anything related to answering your research question. After all this reading and research, you’ll develop a thesis to answer your chosen research question. You’ll have to organize your notes into major points that support your thesis and then draft your essay. Cite specific quotes and other evidence from the novel and the scholarly article to help explain and illustrate your points. See the next page for a long list of potential research questions. Theme-Related Research Questions for Project 3: Choose one. “The story of Okonkwo is in a way the story of our culture; he pays a price because he places too much emphasis on strength and manliness.” How does this quote apply to both the novel and our own modern American culture? What’s the novel’s view of women and their importance for the novel’s larger themes? What are the thoughts that led Okonkwo to his suicide? How were they formed over many days? Do you see his act as a cowardly one or a courageous one? (Your choice needn’t be either/or.) Achebe has said that “African peoples did not hear of culture for the first time from Europeans; that their societies were not mindless but frequently had a philosophy of great depth and value and beauty, that they had poetry and, above all, they had dignity.” Write an essay that defines and explores that culture. What is its importance to the novel’s larger themes? It is said of Okonkwo at one point that “Clearly his personal god or chi was not made for great things. A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. The saying of the elders was not true—that if a man said yea his chi also affirmed. Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation” (76). How should we understand the roles of fate and individual responsibility in the novel? Achebe’s writing style seems very simple. Is it really as simple as it seems? Define and explore the artfulness of the novel’s style. How does that style contribute to the novel’s larger meanings? After Okonkwo’s “female” killing of the boy, Obierika, the novel’s philosopher, wonders, “Why should a man suffer so grievously for an offense he had committed inadvertently?” The narrator tells us that “although he thought for a long time he found no answer. He was merely led into greater complexities” (74). Does the novel answer what Obierika can’t?