Anthills of the Savannah
Using the conflict between the city and tribal villages, the ravages of the great African drought, and Third World politics as a compelling backdrop, Achebe weaves a potent drama of modern Africa.
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Chapter 1 - First Witness—Christopher Oriko
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In the highlighted paragraph, Christopher Oriko is emphasizing his relationship with the king. He also alludes to events we do not know of yet. How does his use of metaphor emphasize the tension? (This annotation contains a video)
In the highlighted passage, Christopher compares their lives to an animal ready to crawl into their hole to hide. What literary device is used in this example?
If you look at the word mufti in context of the sentence, what is the meaning of the word in regards to the king?
Why does the king suddenly end the meeting?
This scene with the King and Chris shows that Chris has approached the idea of the King visiting Abazon before and that the King is opposed to it. This is an example of conflict. In the highlighted passage, the Chief Secretary is trying to placate Chris with the hope that another time will be better to talk about Abazon.
Why does the author compare the protesting crowd with a storm? Cite evidence from the text to support your response.
"Cliche is but pauperized Ecstasy."By stating the above, Christopher is saying what about Reverend Okong?
In the last paragraph of chapter one, Christopher is explaining the combination of the king's irrational fear of demonstrations and Professor Okong's personality affecting things. How is Christopher using verbal irony in the paragraph to convey the mood of the situation? (This annotation contains a video)
In the highlighted paragraph, the king is referring to the Entebbe Raid. In this situation, an airliner was hijacked and hostages were held in exchange for the release of militant prisoners. Why is the king alluding to this situation?
What motivates the king to refuse to meet with any delegations or protestors?
In Shakespeare's play, Othello, a main character is Iago. Iago's plan is to quietly insert doubt of disloyalty into Othello's mind because Iago is bitter. In the highlighted passage, Professor Okong is planting the same seeds of doubt in the King about his two oldest friends, Chris the Commissioner of Information and Ikem the Editor of the National Gazette. In Othello, Iato's plan works to destroy Othello's relationships. Keep this in mind as the story progresses. Does Professor Okong's plan work as Iago's did? (This annotation contains an image)
What motivates Professor Okong to accuse Chris and Ikem of hurting the King's reign?
Other than Professor Okong's statements, what is convincing the King that it is possible Chris may be disloyal to him?
What is alluded to in the conversation about Chris's job and the newspaper?
In the highlighted passage, Achebe is using personification to emphasize the heat from the April sun. (This annotation contains a video)
Ikem is using imagery and _______ to drive home his overall message?
Who is Ikem writing the piece for?
Chapter 4 - Second Witness—Ikem Osodi
In Africa, there are hundreds of dialects, even though there are only 11 official languages. Ikem's narrative begins with dialectical encounter. How does the dialect show the reader differing levels of education and culture? (This annotation contains a link)
What is Ikem's relationship with Elewa?
How is Ikem's bitter feelings towards Chris a symbol for the civil unrest in Kangan?
From Ikem's point of view, the African rich are now treating the African poor as the British treated all Africans. The attached article describes the British rule and the African resistance. (This annotation contains a link)
How could Ikem's description in the highlighted passage and the information you've read paint a picture of the now free Kangan?
Who is Ikem comparing to the robber?
From Ikem's perspective, what is the issue with the King and his cabinet?
Ikem's statement that he is the only one that believes the King is able to be saved is a form of irony since the reader has also heard Chris' thoughts.
Below is an example of hair plaiting. This practice can take hours to complete. (This annotation contains an image)
Grigori Rasputin was a mystic that the Russian Royal Family, in particular Queen Alexandra, followed fanatically as a religious and life advisor. By saying that Professor Okong is like Rasputin shows that Ikem does not regard Okong as a leader worth following. (This annotation contains an image)
Ikem, Chris, and Sam were friends before Sam became the King. The mood in the palace changes toward Ikem. Why is important to him?
Mad Medico states that the issue isn't that power corrupts, but, rather that it makes people what?
Mad Medico makes several references to the inferior state of the Africans, claiming that their ignorance and race are what make them less than the British. This attitude is still prevalent among the British after colonization.
Watch the video on internal and external conflict. In the highlighted passage, there is a conflict between Mad Medico, Chris, and Beatrice. This conflict reveals the heart of one of the themes which is equality and inequality. (This annotation contains a video)
What type of conflict happens between Beatrice, Chris, and Mad Medico?
What is ironic about Dick's business venture, Reject?
Point of view and perspective often influence the story of history. How does Beatrice react to this truth?
Why is Chris baffled by the King's jealousy?
Chapter 6 - Beatrice
This is the third time that a character has alluded to an event a year ago.
What is motivating Beatrice's rebellion?
The Guinea worm is a parasite that enters its host through drinking unclean water. It grows inside the host. In order to get rid of it, one must slowly draw it out over days, weeks, and even months. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Beatrice assume this dinner truly represents?
Beatrice has been questioning why she was asked to attend. According to what the King just said, it sounds as though he is suggesting he invited her for intimate rather than political reasons.
Chapters 1-6 Quiz
Below is a picture of a cocoyam leaf. The comparison to a wilted cocoyam leaf describes a beaten down spirit in this context. (This annotation contains an image)
Madame Pompadour references Madame de Pompadour, a French mistress of King Louis XV in the 1700s. She was known to use her power as mistress to influence the court in culture, arts, and other areas. (This annotation contains an image)
Beatrice being born a female is a burden to her family.
How does the family's treatment of her affect Beatrice's perspective of Kangan and politics?
Both Ikem and Beatrice are well-educated people, yet when they speak to each other, they use their native dialect. This speaks to the diversity and divergence in the people of Kangan, emphasizing the theme of knowledge versus ignorance.
In the highlighted passage, Beatrice is chastising not just the monarchy, but the culture of Kangan. What is her argument?
Which theme is being explored in Beatrice's thoughts about her friendship with Ikem?
We have seen evidence of both internal and external conflict throughout the novel. Through Beatrice's retelling of events, we learn that she is facing conflict. Determine which conflict Beatrice is experiencing from the highlighted passage.
Which quote from the paragraph is an example of a simile?
Which word best describes Ikem's mood as he enters Beatrice's home?
It seems like something is bothering Ikem. What do you think it could be?
What does Beatrice attribute Ikem's visit to?
What external conflict does Ikem share with the reader in his conversation with Beatrice?
What is Ikem using as his basis of comparison for the role of women in his work?
How is Ikem using the Women's Rights struggle as an analogy for larger conflicts?
What is the theme of Ikem's paper?
Watch the video below on foreshadowing. The highlighted passage is foreshadowing Ikem's disappearance. Decide if it is a metaphorical disappearance as Beatrice's ally or if it is a physical disappearance. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 8 - Daughters
How is the myth of Idemili being compared to Beatrice's encounter with the King?
King Sam's attack on Beatrice opened her eyes to a truth she has been ignoring. Evaluate her insights about men and their actions in respect to the theme of the corrupt nature of power.
Why does Achebe use personification to describe Beatrice's feelings?
How is Beatrice's observation of the lizards reflective of her relationship with the three men in her life?
Why is Beatrice angry with Chris?
Beatrice's internal conflict is now out in the open. Consider the ramifications of this conflict now being external.
Chris has obviously thought about leaving the Cabinet. Why is he finally voicing his concerns?
Don Quixote is a fictional character that believes windmills are dragons and tries to fight them. The battle leaves his ideals and dreams shattered as he dies, disillusioned. (This annotation contains an image)
What is stopping Chris from leaving the Cabinet and fighting with Ikem instead of against him?
Chapter 9 - Views of Struggle
What is Ikem's personal interest in the delegation from Abazon?
The elder believes Ikem is valuable because the Owner of the World has given him the most important job, to tell the story. Think about our society. Do our storytellers carry importance to us?
Why has the Abazon delegation come to Bassa to meet with the King?
Watch the video below on point of view and cultural perspective. Think about the elder's perspective on the delegation visit to Basso and the King. Why did the delegation come if they knew the King would not see them? (This annotation contains a video)
What is ironic about Ikem using his status as Editor of the National Gazette to get out of his ticket?
Chapter 10 - Impetuous Son
Why does Achebe start this chapter with a poem about Africa?
Think back to the video on point of view and cultural perspective. Even though Ikem and Elewa do not know these taxi drivers, they welcome them into the house. This is a courtesy or custom they practice. However, think about the sense of unease they must be feeling. You know this through the tone of the words being used like "armed robberies."
What is the taxi driver's opinion of Ikem driving himself?
Ikem is using the comparison to an explorer. In his mind, he is searching as explorers do, however he is searching for something abstract, not tangible. He is searching for answers about power and right. Thinking about his actions in the previous chapters, how is Ikem attempting to solve the puzzle?
When Ikem's journey started, he blamed the Cabinet for the failure of the King's government. Now, he sees a different problem. What is it?
By having Chris suspend Ikem as Editor of the National Gazette, the King has what is called deniability. He can claim he didn't ask that Ikem be banned. This can create more conflict between Chris and Ikem, but how would it also affect the King's relationships with both men?
What finally pushes Chris to resign his position in the King's Cabinet?
Beatrice doesn't see the danger, but Chris and Ikem see the larger picture. The King is believing he has ultimate power without thinking of his people.
What is the root of the King's doubts about Ikem and Chris?
Why do Chris and Beatrice caution Ikem to retreat in his rebellious efforts?
Watch the video below on structure. In this novel, the structure has contributed to increasing tension as well as plot development. Think about how the fact that Achebe chooses to use different speakers, but never the King influences our understanding of what is happening. (This annotation contains a video)
The reference to Byzantine days has a negative connotation in this story. Read the attached article to see how the term could be used positively. (This annotation contains a link)
Why does Ikem strive to have the opposite opinion or feeling as his audience?
Is it ironic that Ikem says he wants nothing more than to encourage others to self-examine their lives when he is actively speaking out against the government?
Chapters 7-12 Quiz
In the highlighted passage, Ikem makes a statement at the auditorium that is strong. Word of mouth takes his strong statement and makes it a threat towards the King. How does this happen in our world with social media?
What is the King's retaliation for Ikem's speech at the university?
Below is a video on tension. Tension is a part of structure. How is the ex-communication of Mad Medico and the disappearance of Ikem adding tension to the story? (This annotation contains a video)
What causes the tension for us as we read of Ikem's fate?
In the highlighted passage, the phrase "persons, no matter how highly placed," foreshadows the King's agenda. Who is next in the persecution of disloyalty to the King?
Originally, Chris had warned Ikem to stay quiet and wait out the storm. Now Chris is leading the charge for truth and justice. What is his motivation?
Why didn't the Kangan Mobile Police open fire with their guns?
In this highlighted passage, the imagery and tone show the violence and hatred living beneath the surface of the law. How is Achebe using all of this tension to illustrate the conflict in the story?
What emotions are conflicting in Beatrice?
Below is a picture of African Blue Grass. It is combined with essential oils and used for a variety of medicinal and beauty purposes like foot baths. Considering Beatrice's day, why is this something she chooses to purchase? (This annotation contains an image)
The King's intended message to the citizens of Kangan and his perceived enemies was killing Ikem. How has the message backfired?
What irony causes Beatrice's pity for Agatha?
Beatrice has been overprotective of Elewa. In the highlighted passage, Beatrice confirms that Elewa's health ailments are a pregnancy. Do you think Ikem would have acted differently had he known he was going to be a father?
Why are the King and the SRC leaking rumors about Chris and threatening possible conspirators?
What is Chris feeling in his exile and hiding?
Kola nuts are high in caffeine and are the origin of cola. Braimoh gives Chris three to chew so that his demeanor changes. (This annotation contains an image)
Chris is gaining false security as he travels. Why is this dangerous?
What draws the soldier to them on the bridge?
Until now, Chris has been adamant that Beatrice stay away. Breaking this protocol increases the danger to both Beatrice and Chris, as well as the people helping them. Think about the consequences if they are found. Consider what conflict is motivating them to risk seeing each other.
The pacing of the story has been fast in the chapters since Ikem's lecture. Suddenly, the pacing has slowed in this chapter. Why?
Why is it important to mention the fact that even on the new buses, there is old lettering on the signs?
"Ife onye metalu."What does Chris decide the above phrase means?
Chapter 17 - The Great North Road
What is Chris comparing the bus ride to?
Chris compares the road north to the difference in financial base between the capital and the outer region. How does the road to the north also mirror Chris' journey?
How do the waitress and owner of the restaurant know Chris, Emmanuel, and Braiman are from the South?
Below is a picture of a bridge in the African desert similar to what Chris is seeing on the bus. How does the atmosphere and mood change as they crossover to Abazon? (This annotation contains an image)
What is the celebration Chris, Emmanuel, and Braimoh come upon?
The highlighted passage depicts a celebration that is taking a dangerous turn. Think about events like the riots recently in America. How does this degeneration of a party compare to the protests that turned into riots in America?
Chris has been concerned about being caught and executed for his morals. What is the irony of this situation?
Why are the Kangan people in Bassa not celebrating the King's coup?
Beatrice is angered by the insinuation that Chris and Ikem were not victims but partners of the dead King. How are the treasured storytellers starting to rewrite history?
How is the child's name representative of one of the themes?
How has the arrival of Elewa's family changed the mood of the naming ceremony?
Why is Elewa's mother upset, but not her uncle?
What truth is there in what Elewa's uncle says?
In previous chapters, Beatrice feels pity for Agatha because of her rigid righteousness. In this highlighted passage, we see that Agatha has changed.
Chapters 13-18 Quiz