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TFA – STLD Reflection.

How did providing a guiding discussion question affect your group’s discussion? Did it help you focus and have a greater discussion, or was it too prescriptive and limited?

The guiding question did help whilst we were completing the group student lead discussion because it gave us a point to begin from. Normally, when we start a student lead discussion nobody really knows what to say, or how to begin the discussion. I think that this time around, the guiding question really helped the discussion get going. 

Yet the only thing is, because we had a guiding question, the whole discussion seemed to revolve around it and we never really moved on to another topic. I think if the guiding question had been a little bit more vague, then we may have been able to change the topic or been able to get into deeper discussion about a specific thing. But because we had a question we all felt we had to answer, this didn’t really happen. 

I think that the guiding question mostly affected our discussion positively though. I felt this way because,w e were allowed to move onto different topics, but the thing is our question was a very good question and there was a lot to talk about. Even at the end of our hour long discussion, it had still felt like we hadn’t finished talking about the question. I really thought that our discussion was good and relevant and I feel like we had a deep, interesting and informing discussion.

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Student-led Discussion Prep Questions:

1. Question: Compare and contrast Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith. What do these characters represent? Why do their names represent, or how are they a reflection of the men to whom they belong?


Mr. Brown was a white missionary, who took the time to understand and figure out the Igbo ways and religion. He was clever because he didn’t walk straight into the clan and try to take possession of everything, he began setting up schools and churches everywhere and tried to convert the people to Christianity.

Mr. Smith was another white missionary who replaced Mr. Brown when he started getting sick and had to go back to England to be treated. Unlike Mr. Brown, he was rude and didn’t take the time to understand the people. He therefore insulted them and consequently the red church was burnt down by the egwugwu. 

The names Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith, are typical english names. Their names represent that they are most definitely English.

Mr. Smith didn’t understand the Igbo customs as Mr. Brown had. He represented the English as men who are reckless and don’t even have an interest in the Igbo’s religion and or customs. Mr. Brown was a man who understood the Igbo’s customs, and therefore understood the people and he was able to get along with the people. Therefore Mr. Brown reflects the English in a much more positive way then Mr. Smith does.

2. Question: The missionaries in the novel play an important part.  What is it that they are trying to do?  Are they a force for good, or evil?  Do they want to help the Igbo, or hurt them?  What do their actions end up doing?  


The missionaries in the novel are trying to imperialise and convert the Igbo people into Christians.

They can be a force for good and evil. Good:  because they are taking in the people who are outcasts of society and are allowing them to become part of the church. The women of society would be treated better by the English if you converted into Christians and brought English customs to the Igbo. Evil: because they are basically walking into the Igbo people’s land and taking it from them. They eventually take their; Language and culture away from the people.

I think that in the end the missionaries end up hurting the people because they take away their culture and language and basically force Christianity upon them. The British tell them that their Gods aren’t real and they are silly to follow them. They then begin to take the Igbo people back as slaves to Britain and this eventually hurts the Igbo people.

Supporting Quotation:  “These outcasts, or osu , seeing that the new religion welcomed twins and such abominations, thought that it was possible that they also would be received. And so one Sunday they too went into the church. ” … “Unless you shave off the mark of you heathen belief I will not admit you to the church.” … ” There are no other gods.’ said Mr. Brown ‘Chukwu is the nly God and all others are false. “

3. Question: The missionaries and Christians set up schools for the people of Umuofia to attend.  What were the good parts and bad parts about attending one of those schools.  Would you want to attend?

Answer: The good parts about the missionaries and Christians setting up school for the Igbo people were: the Igbo people were educated about different things like reading and writing (in English). They would have also been educated about religion (Christianity) and British customs. 

The bad things about attending one of the British schools would have bee that you would have only learnt  about British customs and ways, you wouldn’t learn anything about your own culture and language and you were probably taught in English too.

In my opinion I wouldn’t like to attend the school because the missionaries would be teaching me about things that don’t apply to me and had pretty much no meaning what so ever.

Supporting Quotation: “And so he built a school and a little hospital in Umuofia. He went from family to family begging people to send their children to his school. But at first they only sent their slavs or their lazy children. Mr. Brown begged and argued and prophesied. He said that the leaders of the land in the future would be men and women who had learned to read an write.” 

4. Question: Who is the District Commissioner? Why is he sent by the English, and what does he do? What do you think he represents in this novel?

Answer: The district commissioner is the Queens messenger, who appoints other people to help him with the work which the queen has told him to do. 

The English Queen sends him to do their work because that is his job. He basically

I think that in this novel the district commissioner, represents the smaller gods that the Igbo people look up to and make sacrifices to.  So I think that a District Commissioner is like a real equivalent to the small gods because he is sent by the overall master in England : the Queen, and in the Igbo religion the over lord is Chukwu. But the Igbo people have many other smaller Gods who are like the District commissioners in England.

Supporting Quotation:  

“Your queen sends her messenger, the District Commissioner. He finds that he cannot do the work alone and so he appoints kotma to help him. It is the same with God, or Chukwu. He appoints the smaller gods to help Him because His work is too great for one person.”

5. Question: Why does Okonkwo kill the court messenger?  What is he trying to accomplish?  Is he successful in his final goal?  How are his actions a representation of the larger struggle of native people against imperialism?  

Answer: Okonkwo kills the court messenger because he realised he was the man who had whipped him previously when he was in jail. He also killed him because he was so angry at the white man and his followers, the people who had joined them, and he killed him because he wanted Umuofia to go to war. 

He was trying to rally the people into going to war. He failed in this because once he had killed the white mans messenger, the people became shocked and they went into a frenzy.

He was not successful in his final goal because he did not get Umuofia to go to war. The people didn’t rally and take action like they used to, the people went into turmoil.

His actions represent the larger struggle of native people against imperialism because: the people would have felt frustrated because the british had superior force and weaponry to them so however hard they tried they were going to loose against the british. Okonkwo didn’t like change. He had come back after seven years in Mbanta and he wanted to continue on from where he had left off. But in seven years A LOT had CHANGED. Like Okonkwo, the people would have been unwilling to change: their culture, language and customs to the British way. I think that in the past if Okonkwo had killed that messenger, it would have rallied the people to go to war. But when he did kill the messenger, the people were shocked and there was a frenzy. He then knew things had changed and he didn’t like it.

Supporting Quotation: “He knew that Umuofia would not go to war. He knew because they had let the other messengers escape. They had broken into tumult instead of action. He discerned fright that tumult. He heard voices asking: ‘Why did he do it?’ he wiped his machete on the sand and went away.” 

7. Question: What are the consequences of the murder Okonkwo commits?

Answer: The consequences of the murder Okonkwo commits is Okonkwo ends up killing himself. 

He also does this because he finds it so hard to change, and he feels that all of his customs and the norm, is leaving and he can feel his whole life slipping away from his grasp. Things just fell apart.  

Supporting Quotation: “Then they came to the tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling, and they stopped dead.” 

8. Question: How do you interpret Okonkwo’s suicide? Why did he do it?  Does this represent anything larger in terms of European imperialism?


My interpretation of Okonkwo’s suicide is that, his life was changing and he didn’t like it. Everything was going wrong for him and he didn’t like that either. When he returned from Mbanta he wanted to start again from where he left off and pick up the pieces. But that wasn’t going to happen for him because the white man had arrived.

Okonkwo killed himself because he hated the change and the fact that the white man was slowly but slowly taking what they knew away from them and was slowly putting his ideas and customs into their heads.

This shows us that the Europeans imperialism was not exactly a good thing. In a way they slowly drove people crazy until they couldn’t handle it anymore. They slowly sunk their claws into peoples cultures and slowly took that away and introduced theirs.

Supporting Quotation: “What moved Obierika to visit Okonkwo was the sudden appearance of the latter’s son, Nwoye, among the missionaries in Umuofia.” This is one example of change in Okonkwo’s life. 



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