African Culture
"Things Fall Apart" - short summary of the book,
analysis of African Culture before by appearance of white man.
Things fall apart, is the story of an Ibo village- Umuofia , which takes place
in the late 1800s. Things Fall Apart analyzes the destruction of African culture
by the appearance of the white man (Christian Missionaries) in terms of the
destruction of the bonds between individuals and their society. Christian

Missionaries try to convert the people of the Ibo society to Christianity, and
in their efforts of doing so, they bring about a downfall in the social and
cultural structure of the people in this society. Like the title suggests
‘Things fall apart’ in the society largely due to the interference of the

Christian Missionaries. The main character in this story are Okonkwo – a"strong" man whose life are dominated by fear and anger. Okonkwo was known
throughout the village for his strength and valor. He was the greatest wrestler
alive! Okonkwo had achieved quite in his life, he was a wealthy farmer, a
husband with three wives, a title-holder among his people. However, Okonkwo’s
childhood was not a happy one. Okonkwo’s father Unoka, was quite an
unsuccessful man. He did not hold any titles, which was considered a shame in
his clan. Unoka was lazy and improvident when he was young, he owned almost all
of his neighbors some amount of money. Probably the only thing that Unoka was
good at was at his flute, with which he wasted most of his time. Unoka was a man
who didn’t care much about tomorrow. When Unoka died he was heavily in debt
and had taken no title at all. Okonkwo had to fend for himself right from
childhood. Fortunately a man in his clan was judged on his own worth and not
that of his father. Age was respected among his people but achievement revered.

And Okonkwo was a man of great achievements. However, such a childhood left
quite some scars on Okonkwo’s life. Okonkwo was scared of failure, to be
called weak. So to put up a show of his strength and manliness, he was a very
stern and aggressive when it came to treating women, because that is what was
considered to be manlike in the Ibo Society. B. Give specific example of values
of the culture described in the book and explain how they are important to the
development of the story. Respect: ‘Age was respected among his people but
achievement was revered’ – People of the Ibo culture had respect for age. An
old person was looked up upon, given due respect. At the same time, a person
with abilities and achievements was also honored, like in the case of Okonkwo,
whose fame rested on his solid personal achievements. He was a wealthy farmer ,
a champion in wrestling and a *successful man. Similarly even the art of
conversation was rewarded very highly, a person with good conversational skills
was respected for his ability! Success: The measure of a man’s success was
mainly based upon the number of wives he had, the size of his barn and the
number of titles he had taken. In all there were 4 titles, the highest and most
difficult to achieve being the fourth. A man with many titles was looked upon
with great respect in the village. Belief in the Supernatural: The people in
this culture had firm belief in supernatural powers. They believed that after
death their ancestors became spirits called egwugwu. They believed in the power
of the Oracle (a holy spirit who preached and advised the people), and its
decisions. One who disobeyed the Oracle was punished. Okonkwo had to goon an
exile for seven years because of such laws against Male Domination: The Ibo
society showed prominent male dominance. In the Ibo society anything strong was
likened to man and anything weak to woman. The husband was the chief of the
family. Bigamy was allowed. The tribe also allowed wife beating . The novel
describes two instances when Okonkwo beats his second wife, once when she did
not come home to make his meal. He beat her severely and was punished but only
because he beat her during the Week of Peace. He beat her again when she
referred to him as one of those "guns that never shot." Role of Women:

In his novel Mr.Achebe shows that the Ibo nonetheless assigned important roles
to women. For instance, women painted the houses of the egwugwu. Furthermore,
the first wife of a man in the Ibo society is