Category: Novel Study

Things Fall Apart -Analysis of Chapter 7

Chapter 7

With the killing of Ikemefuna, Achebe creates a devastating scene that evokes compassion for the young man and foreshadows the fall of Okonkwo, again in the tradition of the tragic hero. Along the way, the author sets up several scenes that juxtapose with the death scene: The opening scene of the chapter shows the increasing affection and admiration Okonkwo feels for Ikemefuna, as well as for Nwoye.

On the journey with Ikemefuna and the other men of Umuofia, they hear the “peaceful dance from a distant clan.” In Chapter 2, the author comments that the fate of Ikemefuna is a “sad story” that is “still told in Umuofia unto this day.” This observation suggests that the decision to kill Ikemefuna was not a customary one. Before dying, Ikemefuna thinks of Okonkwo as his “real father” and of what he wants to tell his mother, especially about Okonkwo. These elements combined suggest that the murder of Ikemefuna is senseless, even if the killing is in accordance with the Oracle and village decisions.

The murder scene is a turning point in the novel. Okonkwo participates in the ceremony for sacrificing the boy after being strongly discouraged, and he delivers the death blow because he is “afraid of being thought weak.” At a deep, emotional level, Okonkwo kills a boy who “could hardly imagine that Okonkwo was not his real father” — someone whom Okonkwo truly loves as a son. Okonkwo has not only outwardly disregarded his people and their traditions, but he has also disregarded his inner feelings of love and protectiveness. This deep abyss between Okonkwo’s divided selves accounts for the beginning of his decline.

For the first time in the novel, Okonkwo’s son, Nwoye, emerges as a major character who, in contrast to his father, questions the long-standing customs of the clan. Achebe begins to show the boy’s conflicting emotions; he is torn between being a fiercely masculine and physically strong person to please his father and allowing himself to cherish values and feelings that Okonkwo considers feminine and weak.

Resource Site: cliffnotes.com

Summary of Chapter 6- Things Fall Apart

On the second day of the festival, everyone gathers at the village playing field to watch the wrestling contest between men of the village and men of a neighboring village. The first matches, between two teams of boys fifteen or sixteen years old, provide entertainment and excitement before the main events. One of the victorious boys is Maduka, the son of Okonkwo’s good friend Obierika. Neighbors greet each other and tension builds until matches between the real wrestlers begin. The current priestess of the Oracle, Chielo, talks casually with Ekwefi about Okonkwo’s attack on her and about Ekwefi’s daughter Ezinma, of whom Chielo seems particularly fond. As the drums thunder, two teams of twelve men challenge each other. Many expect the final match between the two greatest fighters in the villages to be uneventful because of the similar styles of the two wrestlers. However, the spectators are thrilled when the local fighter, Okafo, takes advantage of one of his opponent’s moves and suddenly defeats him. The crowd carries the victorious Okafo on their shoulders with pride.

Resource Site: https://www.cliffsnotes.com

Things Fall Apart- Analyzing Okonkwo’s Personality

 Deep down Okonkwo really cares for the persons around him; however, caring was an attribute  of his father and he wants to be the complete opposite of him( he sees caring and showing feelings as womanly things)  thus  shows a lot of anger towards his family.

• Okonkwo is a good father, although he beats his children and does not treat them with affection. He beats his children so that they will become successful and hardworking and not lazy as Unoka, his father.

• Okonkwo is a good role-model and motivation to the clan because he is the epitome of a hard-working and successful man. This is due to the fact that, he started with nothing and became one of the most successful persons in the village.

• Okonkwo is a “No-nonsense” person. He is all work and no play as he sees festivities, gatherings and time away from work as idleness and irrelevant events. This makes him angry and listless.

• Okonkwo cares too much about others opinions. He does not want people of the clan to look at him and say or even think he is weak or compare him to his father. This is shown when he decides to go with the men to kill Ikemefuna, although an elder told him not to.

•Okonkwo uses his father to judge others. An example of this is he sees similarities between his father and any man who he considers weak or feminine.  For instance whenever Okonkwo thinks that Nwoye is portraying a lazy character. he despised it and would curse and hit him. He does this because he is judging his son based on his father’s behaviour.

written by: Students of Dinthill Technical

Things Fall Apart: The Role of Women in Society

Much of the traditional Igbo life presented in this novel revolves around structured gender roles.

 

Essentially all of Igbo life is gendered, from the crops that men and women grow, to characterization of crimes. In Igbo culture, women are the weaker sex, but are also endowed with qualities that make them worthy of worship, like the ability to bear children.

 

The dominant role for women is: first, to make a pure bride for an honourable man, second, to be a submissive wife, and third, to bear many children.

 

The ideal man provides for his family materially and has prowess on the battlefield. The protagonist in the novel is extremely concerned with being hyper-masculine and devalues everything feminine, leaving him rather unbalanced.

 

Much of the gender theme in the book centres around the idea of balance between masculine and feminine forces – body and mind/soul, emotionality and rationality, mother and father. If one is in imbalance, it makes the whole system haywire.

Things Fall Apart: Summary of Chapter 5

ust before the harvest, the village holds the Feast of the New Yam to give thanks to the earth goddess, Ani. Okonkwo doesn’t really care for feasts because he considers them times of idleness. The women thoroughly scrub and decorate their huts, throw away all of their unused yams from the previous year, and use cam wood to paint their skin and that of their children with decorative designs. With nothing to do, Okonkwo becomes angry, and he finally comes up with an excuse to beat his second wife, Ekwefi. He then decides to go hunting with his gun. Okonkwo is not a good hunter, however, and Ekwefi mutters a snide remark under her breath about “guns that never shot.” In a fit of fury, he shoots the gun at her but misses.

 

The annual wrestling contest comes the day after the feast. Ekwefi, in particular, enjoys the contest because Okonkwo won her heart when he defeated the Cat. He was too poor to pay her bride-price then, but she later ran away from her husband to be with him. Ezinma, Ekwefi’s only child, takes a bowl of food to Okonkwo’s hut. Okonkwo is very fond of Ezinma but rarely demonstrates his affection. Obiageli, the daughter of Okonkwo’s first wife, is already there, waiting for him to finish the meal that she has brought him. Nkechi, the daughter of Okonkwo’s third wife, Ojiugo, then brings a meal to Okonkwo.

Things Fall Apart Background Information

Political Context

• Approval of the entire clan is necessary before any major decision is made.
• Egwugwu, the representative of the ancestral spirits, are integral in administering tribal justice.
• Ndichie, the elders of the village, have a place of honour in the clan and their advice is respected.
• The priests get their power from the Oracle, and their decisions are never questioned.

Religious Context

• Ordinary people gain access to the gods through the Oracle.
• The gods do not show themselves physically, but speak through the priests or priestesses.
• The ancestors, embodied physically in the egwugwu, are revered.
• There is the belief that the ogbanje, or spirit child, returns to plague its mother, ensuring that all her children die.
• Twins are taboo and placed in the ‘evil forest’.
• The concept of the chi, or a person’s identity in the spirit land, is important in Igbo religious beliefs.
• A good chi can mean success, while a bad chi can mean misfortune.

Economic Context

• Sharecropping provides a financial base for young men who do not inherit a barn from their fathers, or are simply in a financial crises.
• Cowrie shells are the medium of exchange.
• The family unit provides the basis for economic success.
• Each individual, even the children, has a specialized role that contributes to the family’s