Igbo Culture

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China Achebe exposes both the flaws and successes of the Ibo culture in the novel Things Fall Apart. This novel takes place in and African colonization, dripping with rich, ancient culture and traditions. The characters are an excellent representation of every aspect of culture, symbolizing modern day issues in the reader's lives. Because the characters are very well developed and accessible to readers, it bridges the gap between reader and novel. Achebe uses a diverse collection of characters to symbolize and relate the Ibo culture to western views and cultural issues. Okonkwo is an excellent example of the classic man in the Ibo culture. Okonkwo takes an abundant amount of pride in all that he does, which can often lead to conflict both…show more content…
He thought of his father as a weak and sensitive man, which is something a proper man of the culture should not be, and feared becoming like him. “Even as a little boy he had resented his father’s failure and weakness, and even now he still remembered how he had suffered when a playmate told him that his father was agbala. That was how Okonkwo first came to know that agbala was not only another name for a woman, it could also mean a man who had taken to title.” (p. 12). This allows readers to connect to him, either through similar personal experiences, or at least enough prior knowledge and schema to feel connected. This aspect of Okonkwo illustrates how vital strength and pride is in their culture. Physical strength is also obviously important to Okonkwo, as well as the rest of the tribe. Achebe made this very evident with his appearance in the wrestling match. This event is a critical event in the culture, and it is taken very seriously by all. It almost resembles a sporting event, which helps the readers to connect and understand the significance of this match.…show more content…
Okonkwo directly sees his own father in Nwoeye and this is something that makes him very uncomfortable. He shows signs of having identical feelings towards his son as he does for his embarrassment of his father. Nwoeye is a more fragile and soft heart, contrasting to the finery harshness of his father. When the missionaries come and spread their religion, Okonkwo is quite against any idea of change or alteration of the traditional culture. Nwoeye, on the other hand, is eager to embrace the change and escape from what he believes the flawed Ibo culture is. Unfortunately, his is still too afraid of his father to speak his mind openly. "Although Nwoeye had been attracted to the new faith from the first day, he kept it a secret. He dared not go too near the missionaries for fear of his father." (p. 149). Nwoeye lives in fear of his father's wrath. Similarly to how Okonkwo did not want to mimic his own father; Nwoeye does not want to emulate Okonkwo in any way. By creating this tense character dynamic, Achebe makes both men seem more vulnerable and accessible. Reader's are more easily able to connect with one of the two sides, allowing for better understanding and perspective. Nwoeye's attitude regarding Okonkwo is also made evident when Okonkwo murders Ikemefuna. He feels betrayed and scared because Ikemefuna was one of his first friends and brothers to turn to.

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