In the book “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe the main character Okonkwo is depicted as a wealthy, and strong, man of honor. Well known throughout the nine villages due to his personal achievements. He is a very productive farmer. Though he is highly respected, his thoughts and treatment of women seem to be Arrogant and cruel. In my opinion he is rude, bad-tempered, and hardheaded. Okonkwo’s father was depicted as a lazy, deadbeat, weak, debtor, drinker, feminine, lazy and improvident man. All tirats that affected him powerfully. “In his day he was lazy and improvident and was quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow. ” who owed every neighbour some money, from a few cowries to a significant amounts. Achebe describes the custom of serving a kola without explaining it most likely because it is an ancient ritual that the people in Umuofia have been doing that goes back centuries and centuries where someone of great power started it and everyone kept the tradition going. Achebe talks about the importance of conversation in the Igbo society when he says “ “proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten. ” he gives an example of palm oil to strengthen his point because palm-oil is one of the most versatile of all vegetable oils. Mainely used in cooking to not only provide flavor but to prevent the food from burning.
They are terrified of the night. Due to there fear of evil spirits and dangerous animals. “Darkness held a vague terror for these people, even the bravest among them. ” They are so afraid of snakes that they don’t even use the word snake instead they replace it with string. “A snake was never called by its name at night, because it would hear. It was called a string. ” One day a Mbaino man killed and Igb women while she was at market. “He told Umuofia how their daughter had gone to market at Mbaino and had been killed. ” The Mbaino wanted to avoid war with the Umuofia people, so resolve the issue they gave umuofia the son of the man who killed the woman and virgin. “An ultimatum was immediately dispatched to Mbaino asking them to choose between war – on the one hand, and on the other the offer of a young man and a virgin as compensation. ” Ikemefuna was taken as compensation for his father killing the Umuofia women. As an ultimatum to prevent the umuofia and Mbaino people from going to war. Okonkwo wanted to be the exact opposite of his father because he was ashamed of his weakness and failure. He overcompensate by being hard on his wives and children, being the strongest warrior in the whole village, and by trying to gain more of the village’s titles. All of which his father never did. His father never had any title so he never grew up with a farm like the other men in Umuofia, nothing was just given to him which is unusual in their culture. Okonkwo has an arrogant attitude toward women as if they are not worth more than doing house work and making children. He dislikes his son Nwoye so much because he has too much of his grandfather’s character traits. “Okonkwo’s first son, Nwoye, was then twelve years old but was already causing his father great anxiety for his incipient laziness. ”
In their culture, the priestess of Agbala is feared and she even has more power than all the men, and for a society that doesn’t see women as equals that is very surprising. Familiarity with rank is seen in the drinking of the palm wine in light of the fact that Okonkwo drinks first. At that point, the oldest men. The wives are the last to drink. “The first cup went to Okonkwo, who must taste his wine before anyone else. Then the group drank, beginning with the eldest man. ” This implies age decides rank, with the exception of Okonkwo due to his numerous achievements. Okonkwo is relied upon to help accommodate for his family. Which implies he needs to accommodate his dad, which infuriates him. Men and women in their society are treated differently. Men were in charge of yam “the king of crops” whereas women were in charge of less import crops. “His mother and sisters worked hard enough, but they grew women’s crops, like coco-yams, beans, and cassava. Yam, the king of crops, was a man’s crop. “He claims that after surviving the “worst year in living memory”, he can endure anything. “Okonkwo had begun to sow with the first rains. He had sown four hundred seeds when the rains dried up and the heat returned. . . He changed them everyday, and prayed that the rain might fall in the night. But the drought continued for eight market weeks and the yams were killed. “
Okonkwo comes from poverty and misfortune yet he rose above all of it and now holds 3 out of the 4 titles the umuofia society have. Though like most he has his flaws. He is cruel and severe towards less effective men. Which stems from his hatred of his father. He tells a man without even looking at him, “this meeting is for men” since he didn’t have any titles. Okonkwo considered him a lady. At the beginning ikemefuna was afraid of okonkwo so he tried to run away twice. When ikemefuna was introduced he was a positive influence in okonkwo’s son Nwoye life, which made Nwoye more masculine. Which was something that okonkwo was really glad about. As you read you start to see that Okonkwo really cared about Ikemefuna but did not want to show his affection towards him because he saw it as a sign of weakness. Ikemefuna eventually cares for okonkwo and starts calling him father. During the week of peace okonkwo beat his wife because she forgot to cook, doing this during “sacred week” (week of peace) is frowned upon which lead to him bring to the shrine of Ani one she-goat, one hen, a length of cloth, and a hundred cowries. In order to be reprimanded.
“Okonkwo could never become as enthusiastic over feasts as most people. ” Okonkwo was a man who loved to work, which is why he never really liked feasts mainly because when the time came around there wasn’t much work for him to do “But he was always uncomfortable sitting around for days waiting for a feast or getting over it. He would be very much happier working on his farm. ” Ekwefi is Okonkwo’s second wife. Who once was the village beauty. But left it all when she ran away from her husband when she fell in love with okonkwo when he won the wrestling tournament against cat “Many years ago when she was the village beauty Okonkwo had won her heart by throwing the Cat in the greatest contest within living memory. ” They’ve been married since then and her daughter Ezinma is the only one of their ten children that survived. Ekwefi herself is a pretty nice and nurturing person.
Chielo plays a huge role in the village because she is first used as an ancient story “She was the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the Hills and the Caves. She was a widow with two kids in ordinary life. ”
Why do you suppose they have decided to kill the boy? Why do you think Achebe does not translate the song that Ikemefuna remembers as he walks along? Why does Okonkwo act as he does?Ever since ikemefuna was brought into Nwoye’s life he has been showing more manlier characteristics. He has stopped whining and crying when things don’t go his way and in okonkwo’s eyes he has stopped resembling his grandfather. Okonkwo associate with manliness with “expressing disdain for women and their concerns. ” and with violence and terror. “He frequently invites the two into his obi to listen to violent, masculine stories. ” “The village excitedly collects them because they are good to eat when cooked”. Okonkwo’s idea of masculinity is a strong, well-built man who is a great wrestler, farmer, hunter, and warrior. The locusts are a rare beauty of earth “They come once in a generation and will return every year for seven years before disappearing for another lifetime. ” Ezeudu visits Okonkwo and informed him that the Oracle has decreed that Ikemefuna must be killed. He tells Okonkwo not to take part in the boy’s death, as Ikemefuna calls him “father. ”
Ekwefi tends to prize her daughter Ezinma so highly as she is the only child from her 10 children to survive. She and Okonkwo believed her children were an ogbanje. “Ogbanje”: a changeling, – a child who repeatedly dies and returns to its mother to be reborn. It is almost impossible to bring up an ogbanje child without it dying”. Ezinma’s survival makes her mom finally feel blessed and complete. Therefore, she cherishes her daughter Ezinma very highly. “Ezinma was an only child and the center of her mother’s world. ” Further, more than just a mother-daughter bond, they also share a best friend kind of bond which makes Ezinma hold an extremely special place in her mom’s heart. The attitude towards children it reflects, is that children are hard to maintain and are to be taken care of. You must value your children instead of regretting it later on. I assume this is because Ezinma was not only the daughter of Ekwefi she was like a sister/friend, but on the other hand, Okonkwo, even though she was his favourite, and reminded her of his mother as well as Ikemefuna, he wouldn’t admit his love for her but rather holds on to his pride, ego and “manliness. ” Although, after hearing that she might die, he’s suddenly putting in effort to express his love for her and is trying everything he could to possible stop her death. Okonkwo had a certain mindset which stopped him from showing Ezinma love and support. (“Although Ezinma is probably Okonkwo’s favorite child, he adheres very strictly to the norms of male and female action ascribed by Igbo culture. He does not allow Ezinma to do something as simple as carrying a chair to the festival for him because he considers it a boy’s task. Sadly, Okonkwo’s strict following of gender roles prevents him from showing his affection for his daughter. ”)
Achebe seems to validate his belief in the ogbanje because he describes Ezinma’s story about finding her iyi-uwa as something the entire tribe is concerned about. He also keeps the ogbanje going throughout the whole novel, making it sort of a “trend. ” He wrote the story making Ekwefi have ten children, and then made it a point that nine of them died due to the ogbanje belief. Further, he emphasizes on the fact that for Ezinma to survive, certain “rituals” must be followed through with. Therefore, we believe that he does validate his belief in it.
The villagers were very scared of the egwugwu “A women fled as soon as an egwugwu came in sight” the children would yell simply observing their appearance. There were 9 egwugwu which represented the nine villages, they all had come to listen and weight in a decision between the quarrel of a husband and the brothers of his wife. During the feud the wives brothers say that their sisters husband Uzowulu beat her until she had a miscarriage but, Uzowulu says “it is a lie. She miscarried after she had gone to sleep with her lover” and then the evil forest refute his argument by saying “what kind of lover sleeps with a pregnant woman?”. Having whole families involved in the marriage between two people can be really risky and even bring the marriage to an end because the family will always judge the non family member as to an American marriage where it’s simply 2 people and you have no one judging you which doesn’t add on to any stress. There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to living with family the disadvantage is that you’ll have someone always interfering in a personal matter but the advantage is you’ll always have someone to help.
What does the incident involving the priestess of Agbala reflect about the values of the culture? The moral of the fable of the tortoise is that one shall not lie just get its way. In the tale the tortoise lied to the birds that he was a changed man just to go to the fest in the sky but once he got to the sky he ate all the food and went to back to his cunning ways as for the birds they took their feathers back and the tortoise was left in the sky and had asked the parrot to tell his wife to bring out all the soft things they had so he can fall. But the parrot was so mad that he told the tortoise wife to bring out the hard things making the tortoise fall and break his shell.
During the uri ceremony the importance of family is emphasized due to the offerings given to the whole family and when the bride’s mother leads the way during the ceremony. ”It was the day on which her suitor (having already paid the greater part of her bride-price) would bring palm-wine not only to her parents and immediate relatives but to the wide and extensive group of kinsmen called umunna. ”
Okonkwo is responsible for spilling the blood of many men and has only got praise for it. Though this time that won’t be an option. “Killing a clansman is a crime against the earth goddess”. The punishment for a crime this bad is harsh. “According to the mandates of tradition, the men from Ezeudu’s quarter burn Okonkwo’s buildings and kill his animals to cleanse the village of his sin. ”
The significance of comparing Okonkwo with a fish out of water is that fish can’t work outside of their natural environment. After a brief time, they can no longer live, and they die. Okonkwo feels like he can’t understand and he is the odd man in another town. Okonkwo’s absence of comprehension of the significance of ladies ponders his perspectives. He doesn’t understand women are essential and are justified regardless of a specific cost. He additionally doesn’t understand the significance of the ladies saving their virginity for marriage.
The story of the destruction of Abame summarize the experience of colonization since they had no way out truly. The white men came to their territory, either murdered them or changed over them, and assumed control. “We have heard stories about white men who made the powerful guns and the strong drinks and took slaves away across the seas, but no one thought the stories were true. ” The people of Abame had been cautioned that white men would come and assume control and something awful would occur yet they believe the stories were fake, only once it was to late did they realize it was true. The two are totally unfamiliar to one another and since the colonizers are in the place that is known for the Africans, the Africans ridicule them and their dialect. Okonkwo says that you don’t upset a quiet man and believes that those of Abame are absurd. He trusts that they are crazy people because of the manner in which they discuss one God.
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