"Things Fall Apart" Short Paper On The Book By Chinua Achebe

1227 words - 5 pages

The culture of the Umuofia society before the colonialinfiltration, may be hard to understand but we are forced byAchebe to realize it has traditions and customs that make itwork. Although, looking at it from our Judaeo-Christian point ofview we may be appalled by some of their practices. We also haveto realize that they have strengths.Things Fall apart is the idea of balance andinterdependence, earth and sky, individual and community, man andwoman or different perspectives on the same situation. Thecentral image of this balance is contained in the Ibo concept of'chi,' which occurs throughout the novel. A persons 'chi' istheir destiny, his inner self, 'you wouldn't challenge your 'chi'to a wrestling match,' as did Okonkwo when he assisted in thekilling of Ikemefuna, whom he loved and who called him father.Okonkwo sins not only against the earth goddess, protector offamily relations, but also against his inner most feelings or his'chi.' Any bad luck that occurs, people of this culture wouldsay that you have a bad 'chi.'Okonkwo's destiny is marked by bad luck, one reason may bethat he is so driven by the fear of resembling his father that hestruggles to repress part of his personality with predictablyafflicted results.This was a society where a man was judged by his ownachievement and not that of his fathers. Yams were the primarycrop of Umuofia. A sign of manliness was if you could farm yamsto feed your family. Okonkwo is respected because of his hardwork.The complex patterns of Umuofia's economic and socialcustoms materialize throughout this novel as we see Okonkwocompelled to rid himself of any similarities that his father had.Unoka had no titles, was lazy and when he died was greatly indebt.Some may wonder how a society like the Ibo's functioned, howthey enforce its laws with no kings, no organized police force,and no standing army. Indeed this is something our 'modern'culture could study. These things were accomplished through thefunctions of the masked spirits.The Egwugwu, represents the village's highest spiritual andjudicial authority. The masked spirits are believed to representtheir ancestors. This supports the myth 'The land of the livingwas not far removed from the domain of the ancestors.' There wasa coming and going between them, especially at festivals and alsowhen an old man died because an old man was very close to theancestors, as we saw when Ezeudu died. 'A man's life from birthto death was a series of transitional rites which brought himnearer and nearer to his ancestors.'The Egwugwu is made up of the 'titled' men of the village,they have legal, moral and religious authority. They have aworking system of peace and order. this is demonstrated by thetrial of Uzowulu for beating his wife.They had a sense of community, the week of peace came atthe end of the carefree season and before the harvest andplanting season. During the week of peace 'Okonkwo broke thepeace and was punished, as was the custom, by Ezeani, the priestof the...

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