English Notes – Vince Porta

Table of Contents

Vincent PortaMrs. ManzoEnglish IV AP – Period 2September 5, 2019Things Fall Apart NotesCharacter DevelopmentOkonkwoWealthy and respected warrior of the Umuofia ClanGoal-oriented man who worked hard as a farmer to provide for his familyDisgusted by the laziness of Unoka and NwoyeBeats Nwoye constantly for not achieving his expectationsFears femininity and signs of weaknessDoesn’t want to make the same mistakes as his fatherAggressive and violent to his wives, views them as his subjectsWishes Enzima was a boy, has profound respect for herHolds highly-ranked position in UmuofiaRarely shows love and affection to his childrenFierce, taken five heads in battleShows different side of him after he kills IkemefunaBehaves like “shivering old woman”Feels regret and guilt for his actionsObeys tribal laws except when he commits suicide at the end of the bookDoesn’t like his motherland clan, finds the clan to be weak unlike UmuofiaUnokaLazy and never did any physically demanding laborFearful of fighting and blood unlike his sonFlaws prevented him from becoming a warrior and earning titlesConstantly borrowing and losing moneyRarely paid back people, accumulated massive sums of debtLove for music and languageSkillful flute playerNwoyeStruggles in the shadow of his strict and demanding fatherUndergoes numerous beatings due to his lazinessDevelops close bond with IkemefunaStarts to show signs of masculinity and impresses fatherRetreats back to his old self after Ikemefuna’s deathConverted by Mr. Kiaga and Christian missionaries to join churchLeaves Okonkwo and the rest of his family behindHopes to convert his mom and siblings eventuallyOkonkwo views Nwoye as a disgrace for abandoning himFinally finds peace and independence after escaping his father’s tyrannyIkemefunaMoves with Okonkwo and his family after leaving Mbaino as part of an exchangeSeparated from his mother and is forced to leave his old life behindTell stories from his past to Nwoye and the rest of the childrenGains respect from Okonkwo for his maturityInstills a strong work ethic in Nwoye and helps him blossomKilled by Okonkwo and the other elders after Oracle told them toEnzimaOkonkwo’s favorite child due to her masculine attitudeBeloved deeply by both Okonkwo and EkwefiWilling to speak her mind to Okonkwo and have intellectual conversationsShares similar characteristics of a man according to OkonkwoWas very sick as a young child because she has the ogbanje (wicked child)Ekwefi prays for her every night and hopes she survives past her childhoodAgrees to wait to get married once their family returns back to UmuofiaMajor ThemesFate vs Free WillMasculinity vs FemininityFear vs HeroismAmbition/Work EthicFamily Customs/ReputationSettingsUmuofiaHis father’s clan that he grew up inOkonkwo’s motherlandMoved with his uncle after he was exiled from UmuofiaPrefers Umuofia over his mother’s clanObi (Hut)Hut where Okonkwo lives inTells violent stories to Nwoye and Ikemefuna in hereHis wives do cooking and chores for him in hereOkonkwo’s FarmGained tremendous success from planting yams in his farmSuffered from droughts early in his life but bounced back through hard workMajor Plot EventsOkonkwo beats Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contestBrings honor to UmuofiaAmalinze the Cat hadn’t been defeated for 7 yearsHonorable warrior unlike his lazy fatherSomeone from the village of Mbaino murdered the wife of an Umuofia tribesmanMbaino must give a virgin and a young boy in return to UmuofiaIf they refuse, then the two civilizations will go to warIkemefuna sent away from Mbaino and moves into Okonkwo’s householdOkonkwo makes amends for his father Unoka’s mistakesOkonkwo built his fortune as a sharecropperUnoka’s dead body left in the Evil Forest, never held any titlesOne of his friends loans him 800 yam seeds to launch his farmSuffers from drought early on in his agricultural careerThird of his crops were damagedThis event makes him mentally strongerUmuofia prepares for the Peace of Ani and Feast of the New YamBeats one of his wives for no reasons during the Peace of AniHas to pay a fine and repents for his sinsNwoye and Ikemefuna help Okonkwo prepare for Feast of the New YamCriticizing their work in order to push them to become better menGive thanks to goddess Ani during the Feast of the New YamShoots his gun at Ekwefi but misses, display of aggressionSpectators watch wrestling matches taking placeEkwefi talks to Chielo who is a priestessThey think that Enzima is going to be okay despite health concernsOkonkwo lies to Ikemefuna and kills him with a macheteIkemefuna helps bring out the best of Nwoye during his three year stayListen to violent stories in Okonkwo’s obiBrings out newfound masculinity in NwoyeOkonkwo learns that Oracle wants Ikemefuna deadLies to Ikemefuna and says they are going to visit one of his old villagesOne of the elders stab IkemefunaOkonkwo reluctantly watches him bleed to deathInstead of helping, he decides to stab him with macheteFeels regret and guilt for his actions, cannot eat or sleepTalks to his good friend Obierika if it was right for him to partake in Ikemfuna’s murderEnzima becomes very sick because of an ogbanje tormenting herEkwefi says she is dying but Okonkwo believes she just has a feverEnzima is Ekwefi’s an only child, loves her deeply, very equal relationshipEkwefi’s nine other children died in infancyAn ogbanje re-enters its mother’s womb only to die againA medicine man finds Enzima’s iyi-uwa which is the pebble that’s the ogbanje’s link to the spirit world to prevent her from dyingChielo informs Ekwefi that Agbala wishes to see EnzimaEven though she isn’t allowed, Ekwefi follows them anywayOkonkwo frightens Ekwefi at the Oracle’s caveOkonkwo extremely worried about EnzimaOkonkwo accidentally kills Ezeudu’s son at his funeral and is exiledEzeudu’s death is announced to the villagesEzeudu was the one who warned him not to participate in Ikemefuna’s deathFuneral very large since he earned 3 of 4 possible titlesOkonkwo’s gun goes off and kills Ezeudu’s sonKilling a clansman is a crime, Okonkwo and family exiled for 7 yearsMen burn his farm and animals to cleanse village of his wrongdoingsObierika questions why he should be punished for an accidentOkonkwo goes to live with his mother’s family and his uncle UchenduWorked all his life to become a lord of Umuofia, everything he worked for is ruinedUchendu and others help Okonkwo build a new compound and farmUchendu holds meeting with his entire familyExplains to Okonkwo that a man lives in his fatherland when life is good, but seeks comfort in his motherland when life is badUchendu says its not the end of the world, he’s experienced much worseObierika brings Okonkwo back money since he has been selling his yams back at UmuofiaVillage of Abame destroyed by white men after killing one of themWhite man arrived in Abame on an “iron horse” (bicycle)Villagers kill the white man in fear of more to followA group of white men find the bicycle and suspect their friend’s deathThey go into Abame and destroy the entire city killing almost everyoneNwoye and others are converted by Mr. Kiaga and Christian missionariesObierika tells Okonkwo he has spotted Nwoye with missionariesOkonkwo beats his son for his negligenceNwoye leaves him home behind and goes to school in UmuofiaMr. Kiaga comes to persuade them that their gods are false as there is only one godTalks to them about the Holy TrinityAttracts many converts from the villagesNwoye captivated by their religion, wants to join the ChurchVillage leaders give them Evil Forest to build churchEvil Forest spirits don’t kill the missionariesVillage leaders are shocked that nothing has happened to themOkonkwo returns to his old clan Umuofia after seven years of exileUmuofia is much changed after seven yearsChristian church has grownMissionaries have installed government with new rules Harsh to the villagers, place cruel punishments for breaking lawsMr. Brown and Akunna have debate about who is the true godMr. Brown builds schools and hospitals and informs Okonkwo that Nwoye is in collegeJames Smith replaces Mr. Brown as the clan leaderThe egwugwu burn Enoch’s compound and the Christian churchEnoch tries to unmask an egwugwu during a ceremonyThe egwugwu burn Enoch’s compound to the groundThey inform the missionaries that they wish to burn the church to cleanse their village of Enoch’s sinIgnore Mr. Smith and burn the church down to the groundJames Smith kidnaps and tortures Okonkwo and other clan leadersDemand two hundred bags of cowries for their releaseFinally let go after paying the release clauseOkonkwo holds meeting to discuss how to handle taking down the missionariesMissionaries invade meeting, Okonkwo goes crazy and kills one of the messengers out of nowhereDistrict Commissioner finds Okonkwo’s body after he commits suicideOkonkwo hangs himself since he can’t bear to see the demise of his clanObierika blames the District Commissioner for doing this and causing Okonkwo to kill himselfKey SymbolsKola NutsForm of currencyUsed during negotiations/tradesYamsSymbolize wealth/moneyLead to Okonkwo’s rise to successFireOkonkwo’s rage/angerNickname is “Roaring Flame”LocustsDevastation/DestructionSymbolize missionaries taking over and destroying the villagesIkemefuna’s deathDeath of maturityLeads to Nwoye’s downfallVincent PortaMrs. ManzoEnglish IV AP – Period 2September 5, 2019Songs of Solomon NotesCharacter DevelopmentMilkmanExperienced dreary childhoodPeculiar child with little imaginationFinds his life to be boring and mundaneDoesn’t care about the racial injustices that Guitar speaks ofSays that only birds and planes can flyMilkman breastfed for while, Freddie the janitor gives him nicknameWorks and learns from father about real estateLegs are defective, one is shorter than the otherTries to act the opposite of his fatherOften gets into disputes with his fatherLena, one of his sisters, tells off Milkman, says he is selfish and has been “urinating” on others his entire lifeRealizes he has taken his status for granted and has mistreated his loved onesRegrets treatment to parents and HagarMacon JrMacon Jr does real estate at Sonny’s ShopSlumlord who takes advantage of customersi.e. Henry Porter when he was drunkMother died in labor with PilateMacon Jr blames Pilate for her deathMacon Jr kicks Pilate out of his house because he’s ashamed of her appearanceTraumatized by seeing his father murdered on his farmSees his ghost numerous times throughout the novelObsessed with accumulating wealth and moneyI.e. wants the gold back from PilateHis stories about his childhood fuel Milkman’s journey of learning about the history of their familyRuthFirst ever black patient at hospitalFather is Dr. Foster who worked at “No Mercy Hospital”Says that Dr. Foster was the one person who ever truly loved herIs an upper class women which is uncommon for African-AmericansDoesn’t gain any independence, controlled by her husbandShows assertion when she tells Pilate to stop Hagar from trying to kill her sonGuitarVery intelligent and matureCatches spelling mistake of nurse in beginning of novelGuitar lectures to Milkman about oppression of African-AmericansGuitar mysteriously leaves to a house with six old men waiting for himBelongs to secret society known as the Seven DaysKill white people in response to the death of innocent black peoplePilateAlienated from the rest of societyStrong understanding of her past ancestryLoving and selfless to her family, especially Reba and HagarDisplays great strength when she protects her familySees her father’s ghost who speaks to her and says “sing”Sing is her mother’s nameMasters the art of “flight”Doesn’t need to escape societal norms to feel liberated and freeMajor ThemesIdentityFlight/EscapeRacial ConflictPower of LoveExplorationSettingsSouthside districtWhere Milkman and his family liveMajority of African-Americans live herWhere “No Mercy” Hospital is locatedDanvilleRural town where Circe is from as she works in a mansion for the Butler family who killed Macon IVery mellow as people seem to be much more nicer and happierShalimarWhere Solomon’s leap is locatedSusan Byrd lives here alsoMilkman goes hunting in the woods here with other menMajor Plot EventsRobert Smith commits suicide when he jumps off “No Mercy Hospital”Was a member of the society known as the Seven DaysPilate sings “O Sugarman done fly away”Ruth goes in labor with Macon Dead III (Milkman) immediately afterDead family drives through “Blood Bank” in Packard to beach communityMacon Jr has real estate business to do with wealthy African-AmericansEveryone is staring at his expensive new carMilkman throws a fit during car ride and urinates on Lena when he turns around from the bushesMilkman and Guitar go to meet Pilate for the first timeStruck by Pilate’s powerful appearanceShe was raised on a farm (Lincoln’s Heaven)Her father was shot while sitting on fenceMilkman instantly falls in love with HagarMacon Jr questions Milkman about his visit and calls her a “treacherous snake”Milkman listens to men talking about racial inequality in Tommy’s barbershopGuitar’s dad killed in a sawmill accident, angry at father’s boss and white peopleEmmet Till and a white boy killed, Guitar talks about injustices and says things need to be correctedMacon Jr hits Ruth after dinner argumentMilkman responds and hits his father backPromises to kill him if he ever hurts her againMacon Jr claims Dr. Foster was bitter and had a sexual relationship with RuthSay Ruth lying naked next to her father’s corpseMilkman disturbed about events and realizes mother has personal lifeMilkman and Hagar’s complex relationshipMilkman’s love for Hagar blooms, makes love to herExtreme passion for Milkman, craves attentionMilkman doesn’t want her to be his girlfriend because of her social classWrites letter to Hagar ending their relationship, Hagar goes insaneHagar walks the streets and makes attempts to kill himHagar enters with a butcher knife, strikes him but nothing happensMilkman recalls encounter with mother when he followed her to Fairfield CemeteryRuth says her father was the only person in the world who cared about herRuth claims Macon Jr killed Dr. Foster by throwing medication awayRuth fed him aphrodisiac and Milkman was conceived, Macon Jr wanted her to abort babyGuitar joins the Seven Days, secret society that kills white people every time a black person is murderedGuitar believes white people are “unnatural”, the goal is to keep the ratio of blacks to whites balanced to prevent a genocideMilkman calls Guitar crazy, says white people have made big stridesMilkman is afraid Guitar will move toward killing black peopleMilkman mentions to his father about the green sack in Pilate’s houseMacon Jr and Pilate followed their father’s ghost into a caveKilled an old man in the cave, gold was left underneath the man’s green tarpPilate pleads not to take the treasure, three days later Macon comes back to see Pilate and the gold is goneMacon Jr urges his son to take the gold from Pilate convinced it is in the bagGuitar and Milkman sneak into Pilate’s house and steal the green bagGuitar devising plan to bomb church and kill four white girlsDoesn’t have money to buy explosivesMilkman and Guitar scheming to get the green tarp with the gold at Pilate’sGuitar could use the money to fulfill bombing attemptMoney could help Milkman become independent from his fatherGuitar and Milkman pulled over by cops after stealing the bagTarp filled with rocks and a human skeleton, not goldPilate says its skeleton of dead husband, police give bag back to herPilate claims she didn’t take gold, ghost of Macon Dead told her to take body backMacon Jr insists gold is still in the cave as they must go back to take itPorter is a member of the Seven Days, Macon Jr breaks up their relationship and forces her to quit her jobMilkman goes to Montour County alone to find goldGuitar skeptical Milkman will split gold to help his Seven Days missionMeets his father’s old friend Reverend CooperReverend Cooper tells him the Butler family was responsible for Macon I’s deathEnters in the Butler mansion and meets CirceCirce tells him Macon I name was Jake and his wife’s name was SingGets directions from Circe to go to Hunter’s CaveFinds nothing in the cave, thinks Pilate took the gold to VirginiaMilkman goes to Shalimar, VAMr. Solomon tells him that Guitar came in and said “your day is here”Kids in the store singing a song about JayGets into a fight in Solomon’s storeOlder men in store invite him to go on a hunting trip with themGuitar choking him with wire, launches rifle as Guitar flees while other men come back with bobcatSpends night with local prostitute named Sweet, will visit Susan Byrd who is related to SingMilkman’s visits with Suan BrydShe tells him Sing was a Native American, claims she never married or moved to PADisappointed with lack of cluesGuitar accuses him of stealing gold when he help man load crate in DanvilleGuitar promises to do everything possible to kill himSong about Jay is actually about his grandfather Jake and great-grandfather SolomonThrilled by discovery he decides to go back to Susan ByrdSusan Bryd tells him that his grandmother and grandfather secretly ran away on a wagon after civil warSolomon and Ryna were slaves on cotton plantationSolomon dropped Jake from sky into yard of Heddy’s (Ms. Byrd’s grandma)Hagar lays naked on her bed depressed since Milkman doesn’t want to be her boyfriendGuitar, Reba, and Pilate attempt to comfort her but fail to make her feel betterHagar goes to the store to buy stuff to make her look better for MilkmanAll her stuff is destroyed due to thunderstorm, Hagar dies of a feverMilkman runs home to tell Pilate about the information he learnedPilate knocks him with wine bottle and locks him in the basement for driving Hagar insaneMilkman wakes up at Pilate’s surrounded by stuff Hagar ownedPilate and Milkman go to bury the skeleton of Macon Dead I at Solomon’s LeapGuitar shoots Pilate, was aiming at Milkman but hit her insteadFlock of birds retrieve snuffbox from the graveMilkman jumps towards Guitar not afraid of himKey SymbolsFlyingRepresents people’s desire to escape their problems and gain freedomPilate learns to fly without leaving the ground because she is able to escape her problems without hurting those that she lovesGoldRepresents Macon Jr’s obsession with gaining wealthHe never gets his hands on it, false lureCaveSymbolizes death and despairWhere Macon Dead killed the old man and where Guitar shot PilatePeacockSymbolizes glamor and wealthCan blind and distract people from achieving their intended goals