Free Study Guide Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe BookNotes|
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THINGS FALL APART BOOK REVIEW
Okonkwo is seen here as a man fearful of being seen as womanly or agbala, a word that not only means woman but represents a lack of economic success. The two are equated and therefore reveal the little power woman have in this society. So frightened is he of being seen as soft, Okonkwo exagerates his manly qualities, being severe and tyrannical and not containing any emotions that are not associated with masculinity.
Okonkwo’s rules his house in a tyrannical manner. This is mainly because of his desire to distance himself from the kind of weakness his father used to exhibit. Keeping weakness of any kind at bay becomes an obsession with Okonkwo and is his tragic flaw and pushes him to “extract” respect from his family members. That his eldest son Nwoye, is lazy causes Okonkwo extreme anxiety, though the boy was only twelve years old. This obsession with masculine behavior will result not only in personal tragedy but will affect Igbo society as a whole with the invasion of British culture.
The concept of revenge and the justification for war is also shown in this chapter in the town meeting. If any woman of the village is defiled or murdered by a man from another village, revenge is taken in the form of a war or an offering. When the orator speaks about the murdered woman, the entire crowd is swept with anger. Any man or woman of the village is considered to be part of its family and therefore the villagers demand revenge. This scene is a typical example of a ceremonial town meeting where the speaker greets the crowd while turning in all four directions.
The division of the sexes is not just in social behavior but manifests itself physically as in the set up of individual obis, or huts, with the man’s obi being the central focus of his unit while the wives form a circle around his. Also, the Igbo worship the gods with an offering of kola nut, food and palm wine. These gods may take the form of wooden objects representing not only personal gods but ancestral spirits as well.
Certain superstitions of Igbo culture have been portrayed in this chapter. It is said that in the night, dangerous animals become even more sinister, so a snake should never be called by its name since it can hear but should instead be called a string. The powerful aspects of language are shown here to have both good and bad qualities.
In moonlight however, the tempo is different and the old remember their youth. One of the Ibo proverbs to define this was “When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk”. This saying represents the belief of the moonlight being the protector in contrast to the darkness.
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. 09 May 2017