Igbo Character Analysis

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Proverbs in Achebe’s novels constitute and identify the Igbo social patterns and their identity through the words of wisdom and beliefs. The elders or the wise people utter the proverbs to articulate the oral and rural manners of the Igbo people. Eira Patnaik reveals in his article;
“[c]ultures that employ the oral mode of communication are more likely to value compressed succinct expression, what better vehicle of communication than the proverb, which by its very nature penetrates to the heart of the situation and character, lending at the same time, to succinct thought a freshness of expression and ingeniousness of idea.”(Patnaik 1982:98)
The proverbs are not merely the vehicle of communication but also the representation of social identity
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He convinces his people by taking into account the people’s psyche and draws attention and emotional support by using the proverb “Wisdom is like a goatskin bag; every man carries his own” (AOG: 16). It implies the meaning that one’s character is indicated by one’s abilities, the way one carries one’s goatskin bag. One can carry one’s goatskin bag straight or askew, depending on one’s disposition. He proves by the saying that the people may have different opinions and they go with them whatsoever they like. Ezeulu’s as a great orator convinces the Igbo people to maintain the cultural ethics of the society. The Igbo people followed the new religion. The disruption of their culture is pointed out by Ezeulu expressing the apologies and persuading them to join the clan again. He appeals the people of Umuaro, “when a man sees a snake all by himself he may wonder whether it is an ordinary snake or the untouchable python”. (AOG: 143) Ezeulu’s appeal to all the villagers is an attempt to maintain the social identity through the unique culture of the Igbo people during colonial…show more content…
In the defence of him, Ezeulu says that “Unless the wind blows, we do not see the fowl’s rump.” (AOG: 60) The people of Umuaro reminded Ezeulu that it is an abomination against the God Ulu and the man who did the crime must be punished. But the eloquent Ezeulu says that such crimes are the parts of the tribe and the seriousness of it must be neglected by considering the impact of new religion. He continues, “a man who brings home ant-infested faggots should not complain if he is visited by lizards.”(AOG: 61) though Ezeulu didn’t want anyone to pity on his son’s act, he didn’t ignore the religious implications of Oduche’s act. He supports Oduche to embrace the religion Christianity and the culture by saying, “A man who has nowhere else to put his hand for support puts it on his own knee.” (AOG: 133) Nwaka, the rival of the Ezeulu states that the conversation of Ezeulu with Winterbottom is responsible for the disruption of the culture. It makes an impact on the cultural identity of the Igbo people. According to Nwaka, “A disease that has never been seen before cannot be cured with everyday herbs”. (AOG: 133) When Ezeulu sends his son to know the Christian religion it makes the feelings of fear and the beginning of the pacification of the Igbo
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