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BAC 2018 Series A4-A5

Okonkwo’s Fame

Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements. As a young man of eighteen, he had brought honour to his village by throwing Amalinze the Cat. Amalinze was the great wrester who for seven years was unbeaten, from Umuofia to Mbaino. He was called the Cat because his back would never touch the earth. It was this man that Okonkwo threw in a fight which the old men agreed was one of the fiercest since the founder of their town engaged a spirit of the wild for seven days and seven nights.

The drums beat and the flutes sang and the spectators held their breath. Amalinze as a wily craftsman, but Okonkwo was as slippery as a fish in water. Every nerve and every muscle stood out on their arms, on their backs and their thighs, and one almost heard them stretching to breaking point. In the end, Okonkwo threw the Cat.
That was many years ago, twenty years or more, and during this time Okonkwo’s fame had grown like a bush-fire in the harmattan. He was tall and huge, and his bushy eyebrows and wide nose gave him a very severe look. He breathed heavily, and it was said that when he slept, his wives and children in their houses could hear him breathe. When he walked, his heels hardly touched the ground and he seemed to walk on springs, as if he was going to pounce on somebody. And he did pounce on people quite often. He had a slight stammer and whenever he was angry and could not get his words out quickly enough, he would use his fists. He had no patience with unsuccessful men. He had had no patience with his father.
Unoka, for that was his father's name, had died ten years ago. In his day, he was lazy and improvident and quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow. If any money came his way, and it seldom did, he immediately bought gourds of palm-wine, called round his neighbours and made merry.

Adapted from Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, pp. 1-2.

I) Guided commentary

1) Basing on the text, which deed made Okonkwo very popular in his village? (2 points)
2) Referring to the text, show that Okonkwo and Amalinze’s fight was hard and full of suspense. (3 points)
3) Relying on the text, give four descriptive elements that make Okonkwo appear an impressive man. (4 points)
4) Do you think sport achievements are important in your country? Why or why not? Justify your answers. (5 points)

II) Translation (6 points)

Translate into French from “Okonkwo was well known ...’’down to “....touch the earth.

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