As you read the selections to follow, consider how the poem sets the tone and inspiration for the book Things Fall Apart.
The book Things Fall Apart can be divided into three sections:
1. The protagonist has a life before his world “falls apart” because of outside forces.
2. The outside forces change his life.
3. The protagonist responds to the situation: Does he stay the same (remain a static character) or change (become a dynamic character)?
Think about these sections as you read the whole novel.
Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart (full text provided by Portage Learning)
William Butler Yeats: “The Second Coming”
The Second Coming”
by William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart, titled his book using a line from “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats: “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” After reading “The Second Coming” and the full text of Things Fall Apart, write an essay about the influence of outside forces and changing events on the life of the protagonist in the novel. Use the following questions to formulate your essay:
1. What was life like for the protagonist before the changes in his village?
2. How did things fall apart in his world?
3. Was the outcome predictable?
4. How did you feel about the outcome?
Length and Formatting Requirements
Five to six pages, double spaced
Time New Roman, 12-point font
Works Cited page
Analyze all four questions above in your esay
Analyze and describe how outside forces influence the events in Things Fall Apart.
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