The Culture of the Ibo, an African People: Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a story based on the traditional beliefs and custom-mades of the Ibo people. Achebe portrays a practical view of Africans, particularly the Ibo tribe, which opposes the view that a reader might have formed after checking out other works, such as Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Although Achebe explains the fact that the people does not mainly consist of savages, the reader still needs to keep an open mind about the ideas that exist.
The reader may at first be appalled at some of the beliefs, but it needs to be brought into consideration that they are lead chiefly by customs and custom-mades. A number of these customs and customs originate from their concepts on particular occasions, being patriarchal, and religion. The Ibo culture involves a number of well known events. The Week of Peace comes at the end of the unwinded season and before the harvest and planting season. This is a time where all members of this society shall live in total peace no matter what the situations.
If this peace is broken, it is to be called a great evil and as a result will be penalized. Achebe offers a case in point, which will be talked about later in the essay. Another Ibo occasion is the Feast of the New Yam, which looks like Thanksgiving in the American culture. This banquet 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 due to the fact that it began the season of plenty-the brand-new year”(page 36).
This excerpt from the introduction of chapter 5 shows the significance of the occasion. Following the New Yam Festival is the popular wrestling match. This occasion is more of a custom as it happens every year on the second day of the brand-new year. “There was no festival in all the seasons of the year which provided [Ekwefi] as much enjoyment as the wrestling match”( 39 ). This supports Achbe’s effort to express the enjoyment for the friendly competition. By these examples, the reader may presume that the Ibo people can be referred to as rather ordinary, but Achebe also goes into detail about individuals of the tribe.
The Ibo people can be depicted as profoundly patriarchal. This is where the reader might start to feel pushed back as Achebe describes male as being venerated as leader and explains ladies as gentle, weak and loyal to their males. The women’s job remained in your home cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids. The men’s job was out searching, fighting, and raising hard crops such as yam. The guys were likewise enabled to beat their other halves, who in return might not protect themselves. A prime example of this masculine supremacy is the primary character, Okonkwo.
Okonkwo defies any indication of weakness, consisting of the female race. The Ibo society defines a man who is weak or acts womanly as agbala, which means “woman”. “However [Okonkwo’s] wives and children were not as strong, and so they suffered. But they attempted not grumble freely”( 13 ). This quote enhances Achebe’s idea of masculinity. Although the Ibo culture might express supremacy in the male race, their power does not exceed that which is provided to the numerous gods they praise. Religious beliefs in the Ibo culture can be shown as polytheistic.
Their tradition has a God for each phenomenon. This society does not use kings or authorities to discipline its people, like many other societies, however rather they utilize spirits. Their greatest spiritual and judicial authority is Egwugwu. There are not any written laws so the choices on punishments count on the gods. “Okonkwo broke the Week of Peace by beating his better half and was punished, as was the customized, by Ezeani, the priest of the earth goddess. Okonkwo was said to “have committed an excellent evil”( 30 ). “The evil you have done can destroy the entire clan.
The earth goddess whom you have insulted might refuse to give us her boost, and we will all perish”( 30 ). This demonstrates how much the tribe respects and depends upon their gods. The Ibo religion likewise features many superstitions. The biggest of the superstitious notions is their personal chi, or Supreme Being. The chi is unique for each people member and allegedly determines his/her success and character. “Male could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi”( 131 ). It would be of no value to challenge one’s chi. Other superstitious notions includes warning the kids not to whistle on dark nights for worry of fiends.
Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is about the specific culture of Africans, in this case the Ibo tribe. It portrays a precise analysis for those who might have believed Africans as being savages. The Ibo society worth an adherence to their cultural customs, as do other cultures, which makes them greatly civilized. Although a few of the traditions practice might seem rather shocking to the reader, the society can not be referred to as mindless or barbaric. The Ibo people is an extremely complex society with special values and significance. Achebe satisfies his function in disclaiming the stereotype of relentless Africans.