Chi and it’s significance in Ibo Culture

6 Oct

In “Things Fall Apart”, Achebe uses several literary elements to describe a particular character or a specific event in the novel. One of the literary elements in the novel is a motif. Achebe mentions about chi several times throughout the novel which makes “chi” itself a motif. Achebe uses chi as a motif because chi is considered as a significant symbol for the individuals and the Ibo culture as a whole. In Ibo culture, the Ibo people have a strong belief and greatly honor their chis. In Ibo society, in order to be successful in life, they have to be positive, have the right conduct and work efficiently to make their chi happy. On pg. 20, Okonkwo is described as successful and also tells us how he achieved his success. It also describes if his chi is bad or good: “At an early age he had achieved fame as the greatest wrestler…..when a man says yes his chi says yes also. Okonkwo said yes strongly, so his chi agreed” (p. 20). This indicates that being competent and working efficiently instead of being lazy and giving up satisfies his/her chi in Ibo culture. Therefore Okonkwo is successful in life. Thus, it implies that chi is a significant part in Ibo culture because chi acts as an impetus that coerces people to act positively and be productive in their work that leads them to success.

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