Igbo Traditions In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Have you ever read a novel about African cultures and traditions from African point of view? The novel Things Fall Apart, a tragedy by Chinua Achebe, centers on one tragic hero in Igbo village of Umuofia in Nigeria and the effects of European arrival on his life and Igbo clan. Throughout the novel, Achebe introduces Igbo customs to the reader by creating several occurrences and how they react on them to claim that the Igbo is civilized before the Europeans arrive. The significant difference between Igbo and Western cultures is the way wisdom is passed on: Igbo oral traditions transmit values and knowledge orally by allegorical tales, while Western literary traditions educate people through generations by written texts, just like the novel itself.…show more content…
Achebe has written the novel in the hope of providing the reader a deeper understanding of Igbo customs and removing the stereotyped view of African tribes shaped by Europeans. Even though Igbo cultures and traditions are civilized, Westerners in the novel view the Igbo as savages who are violent and kill people for no particular reasons. However, practically, when there is a conflict between Mbaino and Umuofia in Chapter 2, the villagers in the novel “would not go to war against it without first trying a peaceful settlement. (Achebe, 12)” This clearly suggests that the Igbo do negotiate first when there is a conflict between two groups and start a war only if the former does not work. Without understanding the real Igbo culture, the District Commissioner in the novel decides to title his book “The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.(Achebe, 209)” As Nick Knudsen mentions in his Prezi, Irony in Things Fall Apart, this shows the Commissioner’s ignorance of how culturally sophisticated the Igbo are, and demonstrates the fact that Europeans are clearly in the wrong, without passing judgement on them. Throughout the novel, Achebe suggests that just because Igbo society pass on knowledges orally, does not mean that they are primitive. By using Western literary tradition, the author implies a message…show more content…
What makes them interesting in the novel is that the author, who is an Igbo man educated in Western culture, presents these two traditions in the novel Things Fall Apart, and portrays similar stories from each tradition to suggest that they have the same outcome. By having these two traditions, the novel exposes the reader to a unique perspective and unfamiliar cultural
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