Things Fall Apart: Five-Paragraph Essay on the Hero as a Victim of his Virtues



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Work alone. Work alone. Work alone. Work alone. Work alone. Work alone.

Things Fall Apart: Five-Paragraph Essay on the Hero as a Victim of his Virtues.
_____ Essay is written in the present tense.
_____ Essay is written in the third person (no “I” or “you”)
_____ Title is punctuated correctly
_____ Title and author are mentioned in the introduction
_____ Introduction concludes with a forecasting statement—LAST sentence
_____ Forecasting statement lists supporting points in the order that they will be

addressed in the essay


_____ Each paragraph of the body (prgphs two, three, and four) begins with a topic

sentence that directly addresses the corresponding point in the thesis statement.

Do not begin a paragraph with a quote.
_____ Each paragraph of the body features at least one precise supporting detail from the text. These examples do not need to be long, but must be sufficient to prove your point valid. You must show clearly, in each paragraph, how the virtue becomes a detriment. Each of these details must clearly relate to the point you are making in your essay. If I can’t see the connection, I can’t give you credit. Sentences must be clear and coherent.
_____ In addition to the supporting detail above, each paragraph of the body features one

supporting quote. “Cite the page number this way” (125). Introduce your quotes smoothly, following the examples we looked at in class. Provide a transition for each quote, so the quote does not seem awkwardly pasted into the paragraph. Make the point first, then quote—not the other way around. NEVER say “This quote shows” or “Ekwefi quotes. . . .”


_____ In your conclusion, summarize what you have shown in the paper. Avoid listing

the points, and do not introduce any new material. Try to make a “So what?”



point.
_____ Other considerations

  • Avoid the ambiguous “they.”

  • Write out numbers under 100.

  • Proofread for first and second person pronouns.

  • Proofread for spelling, typos, fragments, run-ons, subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, comma placement, and contractions.

  • No commentary on the quality of the work.

  • Characters mentioned by name in each new paragraph.

  • Avoid “this essay will” and related expressions.

  • Avoid lame words such as “always” and “very.”

  • Avoid redundancies.


English 1. Five-paragraph essay on the hero as a victim of his virtues.
Due Dec. 6(A) / 7(B). Must be typed: Times New Roman, 12 pt., double spaced.
If you know that you will be absent on the 6th or 7th, you must submit the essay early or email it to me on the day that it is due.
If you are present on the 6th/7th, you may NOT email it to me.
Essays submitted in any other format than double spaced size 12 TNR will be returned for re-submission and will be docked ten points. If you get it back to me the same day, you won’t lose any more points beyond the ten. If you turn it in the next day because you had to correct a formatting problem, you lose another ten points. The late penalty is 20% per business day, and you’re not allowed to get mad at me because I’m telling you now.
Computer or printer failure will not excuse a late submission.
100 points.
Work alone. Do not consult other students or Internet sources. All work must be your own.
Assignment: Write an essay of five paragraphs exploring how Okonkwo is a victim of his virtues. A virtue is a positive quality, so stubbornness and meanness are not virtues. Kindness and generosity are virtues. Think of three virtues that apply to Okonkwo. Give each virtue a paragraph. Show how each positive quality becomes distorted through his fear of failure and how each contributes to his downfall.
Start each paragraph with a topic sentence about the virtue. “Okonkwo is generous.” Describe his generosity, with an example or two from the novel, then show how his generosity contributes to his downfall. “Okonkwo is so generous that he gives all his property away and ends up broke and miserable.” Cite specific examples. More on this below.
Please read and digest the observations that follow.
Formatting


  • Don’t title your paper Things Fall Apart. That title’s taken.

  • Set margins at one inch, all the way around.

  • Set tab at five spaces.

  • Use black ink and don’t bold the type.

  • Name author, first and last, in intro. After that, last name only.

  • Italicize the title of the novel, but not the title of the essay.

  • Better to call it a novel than a book. Chinua Achebe’s novel is about . . . .

  • If you want to emphasize a word, use quotation marks or italics, but not both.

Content and Organization
Place your strongest point last. Events directly connected to the suicide are best placed in paragraph four.
Spell out connection to thesis, even though it’s obvious. This rounds out the argument and gives the paper continuity. Each paragraph, if thorough,

  • shows the virtue as a positive quality

  • explains how Ok. misuses or perverts the virtue

  • concludes with a clear connection to the thesis—an explanation of how Okonkwo’s particular way of practicing the virtue leads to his downfall


Each paragraph should show a cause and effect relationship. Ok. imposes his ideas of what constitutes masculine conduct on his young son. This drives him away. Nwoye’s desertion aggravates Ok’s hatred for the Christians. His refusal to accept them and the changes they bring leads to his suicide.
Qualify statements that speculate. We aren’t really sure why Okonko kills himself, so we use words like “perhaps” and “maybe” and “possibly.”
Using Quotes


  • Make your point first, and then support it with a quote, not the other way around.

  • Begin and end each paragraph with your words. Quotes go in the body of the paragraph.

  • Use transitions to quotes. Sometimes one sentence will do it.

  • Avoid overt refs to quotes, such as, “Achebe quotes” or “As seen in this quote on p. 17”

  • Document quotes just as in the example on the checklist. No “p.” to indicate page number; just the number.


Avoid this approach:
One main reason that Nwoye is driven away is the killing of Ikemefuna. On page fifty-seven it says, “Nwoye overheard it and burst into tears, whereupon his father beat him heavily.”
Do it this way:
One main reason that Nwoye is driven away is the killing of Ikemefuna. When Nwoye learns that his brother is dead, he “burst into tears, whereupon his father beat him heavily” (57).

Unoka ends up dying from a rare illness, and then is thrown into the Evil Forest. Okonkwo now tries not to make the same mistakes his father did. “Okonkwo was ruled by one passion—to hate everything his father Unoka once loved” (13). Unfortunately, in the end Okonkwo turns out to be exactly like his father, a failure.

(Jen Lambert)
and
Okonkwo’s strict work ethic is shown during the Week of Peace when he is not supposed to work. Okonkwo is the kind of person who will work no matter the circumstances. “Okonkwo, who had been walking about aimlessly in his compound in suppressed anger, suddenly found an outlet. ‘Who killed this tree?’ he asked” (38). Okonkwo then beats his second wife for taking a few leaves off the tree.

(Dan Mathan)



Grammar and Usage
Commas:
Wrong: All of Okonkwo’s virtues keep him from doing things, and being with people.

Right: He’s a victim of his virtues, and they are bravery, hard work, and success.


Appositive: Nwoye, Okonkwo’s eldest son, is oppressed by his father and eventually driven away.
Never never never insert a comma between a subject and its verb:

Okonkwo’s virtues, are perceived as masculine attributes by his clansmen, and make him a successful and respected member of the tribe.
Set off parenthetical expressions with commas:

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, showcases the dangers of self-delusion.
Parallel Structure:
BAD: Okonkwo is a victim of his ambition, his masculinity, and him being successful.
GOOD: Okonkwo is a victim of his ambition, his masculinity and his success.


A reminder about plagiarism: Plagiarism occurs when we present someone else’s work (their words or their ideas) as if it were our own. Plagiarism is a violation of the Honor Code. It is cheating.
Save your essay frequently and in several places. Keep it on a flash drive and email it to yourself.
Plan to spend at least four hours on this essay. A strong essay takes time.

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