Fear as the Sculptor Cracking Open the Igbo Society Things Fall Apart focuses on the traditional Igbo society culture and religion In the book Achebe never labels Europeans as bad and the Igbo good he chooses to hold an optimistic attitude throughout the book However in many ways his description of the Igbo parallels with his optimism Achebe s punctilious attitude towards the Igbo society exhibits a unique perspective on white men He includes major events and scenes in the novel as an opportunity to point out the flaws and virtues of both the clan and the colonists The events and scenes connect the reader with the historical side of the novel and reveals information about Igbo society s and characters traditions and values Igbo lifestyle and culture is highly stylized from its rituals to actions performed for certain ceremonies Most of these formalized actions occur in an attempt to show respect to some external being Another man an ancestral spirit or a god
Respect and knowledge of one's role in society is very important another institution s that rituals address and honor is the family unit Common culture seeks to hold the family and the clan together by means of promises Peace is crucial the Igbo Living a generally aggressive and violent lifestyle to them it's important to reduce the tension between the people of the clan The Week of Peace is a tradition to honor the earth goddess Ani before the planting of the new crops No work is done during that week and the villagers visit their neighbors and drink palm wine Samikoglu 2 With religious beliefs incorporated the attitude towards this tradition becomes serious as the week passes by The Week of Peace encourages both cultural and religious morals to be appreciated that shapes the society Achebe s protagonist Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart exhibits moral ambiguity While he s pleased appreciative and respectful of the clan s customs he s also irrational aggressive and his turbulent temper often threatens the clan s very traditions he tries to protect During the Week of Peace Okonkwo's youngest wife Ojiugo leaves her hut to get her hair braided without having to cook dinner Okonkwo gets mad because of her wife s negligence He walked back to his obi to await Ojiugo s return And when she returned he beat her very heavily In his anger he had forgotten that it was the Week of Peace 32 Okonkwo carelessly commits a crime and breaks the peace during the sacred week Ezeani the priest of the earth goddess reacts to the beating and punishes Okonkwo Take away your kola nut I shall not eat in the house of a man who has no respect for our gods and ancestors 32 The priest symbolizes the outcome from the people
The clan takes religion really seriously People's fear of Gods shapes their beliefs traditions and customs This quote reveals more about Igbo society and character s values Religion is pivotal for the clan and its lifestyle Fear of religion and Gods become very distinct with priest s worries We live in peace with our fellows to honor our great goddess of the earth without whose blessing our crops would not grow Samikoglu 3 You have committed a great evil Your wife was at fault but even if you came into your obi and found her lover on top of her you would still have committed a great evil to beat her The evil you have done can ruin the whole clan The earth goddess whom you have insulted may refuse to give us her increase and we shall all perish 33 Priest s warning increases the tension because now it's not just about Okonkwo it's also about the clan He warned all of them about the punishment they might receive from the Gods because of Okonkwo's behaviors
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