TFA Discussion Reflection

This is the discussion web for my group:

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In my opinion, providing the guiding questions did not help very much. This is because a lot of the students had similar answers on the guiding questions, and the discussion seemed like an answer check instead of sharing different opinions. However, it did help to prepare for the discussion and allowed some detailed points to be discussed. If something could be improved, I would suggest to replace the guiding questions with an essay and the prompt should be the discussion question(s).

Here are my answers for the guiding 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?

Answer: Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith are two very different people. Mr. Brown believes that force cannot be used to convert the Igbo people into Christianity, and that one should be kind and respect cultures. He is a kind natured person, and so many of the clans come to respect him because he leaves them alone, he also makes some friends in the clan. Mr. Smith however, thinks quite the opposite, he is very devoted to god, and sees things as only good or bad. He does not stop the Christian converts from disturbing the clansmen, and this leads to the burning of the Church.

I think the names of both Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith have a hidden meaning behind it. A Smith is someone who puts things in fire, hence, Mr. Smith; the church burnt under when he was the missionary. Brown is a color between white and black. Mr. Brown tried to slowly transition the Igbo people to Christianity, so it seemed like a transition from black to white. I think it is also Brown because Mr. Smith sees things as black and white whereas Mr. Brown doesn’t.

Supporting Quotation:

“He saw things as black and white. And Black was evil” (Achebe 134).

“He openly condemned Mr. Brown’s policy of compromise and accommodation” (Achebe, 134).

“the over zealous converts who had smarted under Mr. Browns restraining hand now flourished in full flavor” (Achebe, 135)


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?

Answer: The missionaries are trying to convert the Igbo people to Christianity. I think they consider themselves good, but are neutral and might appear bad to some. The want to help the Igbo people, but only for their own benefit, and their actions end up harming the Igbo.

Supporting Quotation:

“Tell them, that I shall bring many iron horses once we settle down amongst them” (Achebe 106)

“That was a great source of sorrow to the leaders of the clan” (Achebe, 105)


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: I think it was a good thing that the Christians set up schools for the Igbo people because it is good to be educated and learned. However, I would not go because the schools would be biased and heavily religious about Christianity.

Supporting Quotation:

“One of the great men in the village was called Akkuna, and he had given his son to be thought in Mr. Brown’s school” (Achebe, 130)


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 person who enforces British law within the Igbo people. He is sent by the British to enforce British Law and to make sure the Igbo people do not rebel against the Christians.

Supporting Quotation: “I have asked you to come, he said, to talk about what happened in my absence” (Achebe 140)


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 tried to start the war so that the clan can survive, but he did not accomplish his goal.

Supporting Quotation: “He knew that Umoufia would not go to war” (Achebe,149)


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

Answer: The consequences of the murder Okonkwo commits are very high for him, because everything he ever tried to achieve were titles in the clan.

Supporting Quotation: “Then they came to the tree from which Okonwo’s body was dangling…” (Achebe, 151)


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

Answer: I interpreted Okonkwo’s suicide as something he did because he did not want to accept a punishment from outsiders, the colonists. It does represent something larger in terms of European imperialism because it shows that they took a culture away, and when the culture was gone, there was nothing left for the men to do.

Supporting Quotation: “Then they came to the tree from which Okonwo’s body was dangling…” (Achebe, 151)