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Why Things Fell Apart Essay

1605 words - 7 pages

In the book, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the setting of the story is the Igbo tribe in Niger, which is located in southeastern Africa. There is a strong social and economical structure with the Igbo people. The villages have a solid set of traditional beliefs that they live their lives by, without stray of that tradition. The introduction of Christianity to the tribes brought changes to the social and religious lives of the villages. The novel provides a glimpse into the changes of how the colonialist changed the traditional roles of the economic and political lives of the villages of Niger. Tradition is set so cultures have a path to follow in their creation of family and life, in Things Fall Apart, the collide of the Europeans and the Nigerian cultures created a conflict and the introduction of Christianity and Colonialism set a path for change that was not welcomed.
The people of the Igbo also referred to as the Ibo, live in a southeastern area of Africa in Nigeria. The life of the Igbo social and economic structure is not all that different then that of the United States (US), as it was constructed around agriculture, local manufacturing and trade. The tribal families have their animals primarily for the prominent status that comes with ownership and for the need of sacrifices at the village center. In the book they celebrate with palm wine, but currently one of the principal exports is a palm oil and palm kernel. The main crops of the Igbo are yams, cassava, and taro, which are all under ground tuber root type vegetation. Cassava is a plant that is used to cassava flour, breads, tapioca, a laundry starch, and even an as an alcoholic beverage (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (Ed.), 2014). Taro is used for cooking like a vegetable, for puddings, and making breads (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (Ed.), 2014). Both of these items cassava and taro are poisonous if not prepared correctly, this task is taken care of by the women of the tribe. The other crops that were produced by the Igbo were corn (Maze), melons, okra, pumpkins, and beans. The crops of the different families can show the wealth of the family, as a great farmer has control of the family (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (Ed.), 2014). There is a definite divide of the roles of the Igbo tribe’s men and women.
In the novel, Chinua Achebe created a definite divide in the roles of the men, women, and children that is also true in the real life of the tribes. The men are the heads of the family, same as it is in other cultures. They are not a monogamous culture as it is in the US, as the men can have multiple wives, which makes them a polygamist society. The fathers of the potential bride and groom negotiate the arrangement of the wedding (Rank, 2014). The man makes the rules of the compound and the men of the tribe make the rules for the village to follow. The roles of family are that the different wives make meals and then serve the...

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