How Does Achebe Depict Ibo Culture in ‘Things Fall Apart’?

1543 Words Sep 2nd, 2008 7 Pages
How does Achebe depict Ibo culture in ‘Things Fall Apart’?

Chinua Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart, is a story of a traditional village in Nigeria from inside Umuofia around the late 1800s. This novel depicts late African history and shows how the British administrative structure, in the form of the European Anglican Church, imposed its religion and trappings on the cultures of Africa, which they believed was uncivilized. This missionary zeal subjugated large native populations. Consequently, the native traditions gradually disappeared and in time the whole local social structure within which the indigenous people had lived successfully for centuries was destroyed. Achebe spends the first half of the novel depicting the Ibo culture, by itself,
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There are passages in this novel, however, that implies a more critical attitude on Achebe’s part. Despite the sophisticated aspects of the Ibo tribe, they still perform parts of their system of belief which are considered uncivilised and primitive. However, these measures can be considered a way of dealing with difficult or unpleasant circumstances. One example Achebe uses to depict the injustices in Ibo culture, is where it was believed that a child who died and return to its mother to be reborn again, several times, was the work of an evil spirit or an ogbanje child. If this occurs then a ‘medicine-man’ would “...bring out a sharp razor from the goatskin bag slung from his left shoulder and mutilate the child.” (P.56) It was assumed that in doing this that the ogbanje child “…would think twice before coming again.” (P.57) Twins, like an ogbanje child, were also greatly feared and were “thrown away” (P.89) at birth. Both of these examples show how the Ibo tribe rely on their primitive systems of belief to deal with incomprehensible circumstances.

Nearer the end of the novel, Achebe finalises and concludes