Critical Thinking-Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe.

We have come a long way from our first readings and discussions of literature and of our common novel, Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe.

We have covered a lot of ground about the elements of short fiction, poetry, and the novel.

We have also examined the literary criticism about our novel, and you have compiled an annotated bibliography about key elements of that literary criticism on your chosen theme or topic.

This week, you combine all of our elements and craft a completed rough draft of what will become your final Portfolio.

As this is your first attempt at completing a full draft of your semester-long examination of the novel, we will view this draft as a separate assignment. So, for this week, focus on

  1. Completing your body paragraph using our paragraph format.
  2. Using the reverse outline to help you determine the main themes—consult the following website to help get you started: to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  3. Revising your thesis based on your notes from the reverse outline.
  4. Constructing an introduction that starts broad and narrows to your thesis, a thesis that makes an overarching point on the novel and wraps up an introductory paragraph that foreshadows the topic sentences developed in the body paragraphs. Use the following website to help get you started: to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  5. Constructing a conclusion that recaps key points, restates the thesis, and offers a larger closing point that instructs your readers as to next steps or future action. Use the following website to help get you started: to an external site.)Links to an external site.

The Portfolio Project is designed to require you to expand your understanding of Things Fall Apart by combining knowledge and application of content with your own interpretation and judgment. For the Portfolio Project, you will write a research paper about Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, supplementing your own interpretation with information from three to five other sources. Your interpretation of this novel should reflect an international perspective. Information about planning your research paper and conducting your research can be found in the lecture material for Module 5. The Portfolio Project is due in Week 8.

Teachers comments:

The thesis needs some reworking mostly because it’s erroneous. In the thesis, and this could be due to minor wording issues, you suggest that Achebe is the one who is actively trying to change the Umuofia. But Achebe never lived with this tribe that existed in the 19th century. He lived in the 20th century, and he was drawing on his history to fictionalize their tale. So, you will need to reorganize. Why not say that Achebe argues for reasons why people fear change. Just emphasize that this is the theme or focus you believe Achebe is trying to emphasize. The other issue is that the paragraphs, though they are numerous, do not detail the evidence as well as they could. Page numbers from the book and quotes would help greatly. If you use the approach I suggested in the thesis, the body paragraphs and topic sentences will need to be revised. You can focus on how the change has a negative impact on the tribe, why the tribe fears change, and maybe why the English seem to feel compelled to make them change. Just don’t fall into arguing that colonization is right or wrong. That’s a sociological paper. Instead, focus on stating what Achebe wants to emphasize and how you know.

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