Monday, October 25, 2010

Crazy for Cowries

Greenbacks. Moolah. Dough. Sawbuck. C-note. Cowries?  Yup, cowries.  In true African style, we established a cowrie economy in class today.  Students received a small amount of genuine money cowry shells (straight from Florida!) and have a chance to earn more and spend some as class continues.  They can earn cowries by making insightful comments, earning high grades on weekly quizzes, and keeping up with class work.  There are also costs for borrowing books, complaining, and making irrelevant comments. Students will be able to cash in their cowries for valuable items at the end of it all.  So, it should be interesting. Within 15 minutes of placing value on these small shells, emotions were high and kids got very protective of their "money."  The psychology student in me would really like to dive into this one!

We also had a great discussion today.  Keep it up.

As for the novel, things are certainly collapsing around Okonkwo.  Currently he's in exile in his mother's village and trying to get a grip on his life while his oldest son has converted to Christianity thanks to the white missionary church leaders who have come to the area. Predictions?

  • Do you think Okonkwo has made this life for himself because of his attitude and arrogance or is it all just coincidence?
  • Do you feel sorry for him in any way?
  • Will he and his clansmen survive the influx and influence of the white men?
  • What parallels are their between gender roles in Okonkwo's tribe and gender roles in our American culture?


  1. Oh my goodness I think that Okonkwos life is just going to fall completly apart faster adn faster expecially since he is in exile in his mothers village. And for his son i think that he is going to either be killed because he converted over to Christianity. He is going to be killed either by Okonkwo or by one of the villagers that is close to his father. This book is crazy! It actually is a good book when you understand what is going on! At first I didn't think I was going to like it but now taht it is getting to a high action part I am actually enjoying it!

  2. Umuofia/Mbanta's society's views regarding gender&our society's views are similar in a few ways. In the African culture displayed in the book, the women are the homemakers, nurturers, and there for the sole purpose of serving their husband. They're considered objects, rather than equals to the man. In our society, the "traditional" role of a woman is to be a homemaker, a mother, a nurturer, and the one who takes care of all household duties. While the man, on the other hand, goes out and does the "manly" things. However, America is far more flexible when it comes to gender roles than the clans depicted in the book.

  3. I definitly agree with Jessica. Okonkwo's life is just going to keep getting worse. I feel kind of bad because this guy can't seem to catch a break. I believe that he will kill Nwoye. We all know he doesnt want to be seen as weak and I think that will contribute to Nwoye's death

  4. I definitly agree with Tiffany. American woman are expected to the the homemaker, mother, nurturer, ect., although in today's society women are expect to be that and also a lot of times have a job too. Basically women are expected to have "two jobs" this day in age. Which really is not fair because of the fact that men are really only expected to have a job outside of the home. In Umuofia there are a lot of similarities, but as time has went on more responsibilities have been put on women.

  5. Though there are similarities between Umuofia’s society and America’s, I believe the differences outweigh the similarities. In Umuofia the women were expected to be the primary and only caretaker of the family and children. Whereas the man’s dominant role was to provide for the family outside of the home. In America’s society today, men and women’s duties are not as stereotypical as they were in Umuofia. The roles of men and women in the household can be more interchangeable. Instead of just men working outside the home, many women work outside the home as well. And instead of just women staying home, many men now stay home and take care of their children. Overall, the difference of the roles of men and women in our society are somewhat different then the roles of men and women in Umuofia’s society.