Friday, April 15, 2016
Reading Period 25: April 15-21: Mali, Niger, Chad
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, chapters 1-7
Interview with Chinua Achebe, "The Art of Fiction No. 139" in the Paris Review.
"Love Apart" by Christopher Okigbo. I chose this because it reminded me of the Nut and Geb assignment.
Write a poem based on Nut and Geb from Egyptian mythology. If you wrote a draft in class, revise it. If you are coming to this assignment for the first time, the exercise here is to think about poetry analytically in advance, rather than just writing from whim or inspiration. In class, we worked on planning out both the content and form of a poem in a thoughtful, analytical way.
All story is rooted in conflict, and the emotion that comes from conflict can be the great seed of a poem. What conflict is there in the story of Nut and Geb? What emotions might they experience from their separation? Would they ever fight? How do the earth and the sky interact with each other? How do they touch or reach for each other? In peace, in anger? After planning the content of the poem, think analytically about the form. If you're writing about two people, will you divide the poem in two parts? Will the poem be spoken from one to the other, or by an outside observer? Will the poem be a conversation? Write your poem based on Nut and Geb and then explain how planning and forethought went into structuring the work.
Trans-Saharan trade and caravans of camels (this article has a photo gallery linked from it) hopping from oasis to oasis across the Sahara desert to trade in salt, gold, and slaves. Create an illustration of a camel train, a desert Berber camp, or an oasis encampment, based on what you have read. Use color of some kind and unlined paper.
The characters in Things Fall Apart use proverbs to express themselves. Choose three of the proverbs and explain what they mean. I don't want you to write just a short paragraph for each one and string them together. Pay special attention to the structure of your essay, especially to the introduction and conclusion. Remember that the introduction must not only introduce your topic but yourself as a writers, so it must grip and compel the reader to take an interest and read on. Remember that your conclusion must take the reader someplace new -- it can be a new interpretation, a personal connection, an observation, or even end with a question. How will you take this topic: the use of proverbs by characters in a novel about a Nigerian village, and make it into an essay I want to read? What can you as a person, as a writer, bring to this that no one else can?
Your first draft of 2000 words is due in class on Tuesday. Please bring two printed copies -- one for me and one for your peer editor. You may take into consideration my notes from your first half, or you may just press on and finish your first draft -- either is fine. Don't forget citations! It's okay if you do them incorrectly, just make sure you cite sources when you present information you've learned from reading books, web sites, or articles.
1. Name something positive about Unoka, Okonkwo's father.
2. Name something not so great about Unoka.
3. From the context of the story, what purpose does the kola nut serve, beyond just being food?
4. What happened to Okonkwo's first planting of yams?
5. How did Unoka die?
6. What is the Week of Peace?
7. Name two ways in which Okonkwo is similar to Wang Lung, the main character from The Good Earth.
8. What is Chielo the widow's other job?
9. How did Ikemefuna come to live in Okonkwo's house?
10. How did Ikemefuna die?