Things Fall Apart Ch. I, II, III

23 Apr

“Things Fall Apart”, a novel written by Chinua Achebe, who is a Nigerian writer, which narrates the story of Okonkwo, a member Nigerian tribe Ibo in the late 1800. From the first pages, the novel starts to demonstrate the culture and traditions of the tribunes, which is very fascinating.

The first three chapters of the novel starts with introduction of the characters. It introduces Okonkwo, the main character, and his father. In the introduction we find out a lot of information about the traditions of the Ibo people. We learn that the male members of the tribe get a title due to their positive accomplishment. We find out that Okonkwo’s father hasn’t had any title, and was called “agbala” which in their language meant “a woman” and also meant “a man who had taken no title”. It was very interesting for me why does this tradition relate a title-less man to a woman. They treatment of the opposite sex in the traditions of the tribe was very interesting, and we can learn it from the first 3 chapters of the book as well.

A woman in the Ibo is considered to be more dependent. She cannot decide for herself, and her destiny is decided by the male she is controlled by, initially her father and later on her husband. Men of the tribe are free to have as many wives as they can afford, also depending on their title, and there is nothing a wife can do about it. For example, as we can see in the book, as one of the members of another tribe kills the wife of Ogbuefi Undo, the daughter of the killer is given to him as a replacement. But there is one interesting point that we learn from the third chapter of the book. Wives are being respected, and if a man has more than one wife, his first wife is respected by all the others. We can see that during the feast at Nwakibie’s house, as the wine is opened, his wives are the ones who are invited to the feast and they have to drink wine first. There is a rule though. The first wife of Nwakibie had to drink the wine first, followed by the other wives. Then they left the feast and the male were left alone.

From the first three chapters, we learn about the main characters of the story, about how they reached their achievements and about their character. Within the storyline, the author gently gives information about the traditions of the tribe and their culture, which doesn’t make the book feel like an encyclopedia.


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