The Culture Of The Ibo, An African Tribe: Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart"

859 words - 3 pages

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is a story based on the traditional beliefs and customs of the Ibo tribe. Achebe portrays a realistic view of Africans, particularly the Ibo tribe, which opposes the view that a reader may have formed after reading other works, such as Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Although Achebe describes the fact that the tribe does not primarily consist of savages, the reader still needs to keep an open mind about the ideas that are presented. The reader may at first be appalled at some of the beliefs, but it should be brought into consideration that they are lead chiefly by traditions and customs. Many of these traditions and customs derive from their ideas on certain events, being patriarchal, and religion.

The Ibo culture involves a number of celebrated events. The Week of Peace comes at the end of the relaxed season and before the harvest and planting season. This is a time where all members of this society shall live in complete peace no matter what the circumstances. If this peace is broken, it is to be called a great evil and consequently will be punished. Achebe provides a case in point, which will be discussed later in the essay. Another Ibo occasion is the Feast of the New Yam, which resembles Thanksgiving in the American culture. This feast is to honor their earth goddess, Ani, as the American holiday is celebrated to give thanks and honor our God. "Men and Women, young and old, looked forward to the New Yam Festival because it began the season of plenty-the new year"(page 36). This excerpt from the introduction of chapter five shows the significance of the occasion. Following the New Yam Festival is the popular wrestling match. This event is more of a tradition as it occurs annually on the second day of the new year. "There was no festival in all the seasons of the year which gave [Ekwefi] as much pleasure as the wrestling match"(39). This supports Achbe's effort to express the excitement for the friendly competition. By these examples, the reader may infer that the Ibo tribe can be described as somewhat mundane, but Achebe also goes into detail about the people of the tribe.

The Ibo tribe can be depicted as profoundly patriarchal. This is where the reader may begin to feel repelled as Achebe describes man as being venerated as leader and describes women as gentle, weak and obedient to their men. The women's job was in the house cooking,...

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