Essay on The Between Spirit And Flesh

2060 Words Oct 29th, 2015 9 Pages
Prior to the arrival of Europeans in southeastern Nigeria, the Ibo people had a vibrant and intricate culture. They were self sufficient, optimistic about the future, and carried a deep sense of their own history. Their culture and worldview seems to have centered around a deep rooted connection between the visible world and the invisible world. The natural and supernatural were inexorably intertwined and all things were unified (Anele, 43). There existed a sort of hierarchical cosmological view in which the universe is imbued with spirits, and forces, that interacted with matter. Therefore everyday life was bound to the spiritual world. At the top of the hierarchy was a supreme being that created the universe, then came spirits, local deities, ancestors and finally man. All are interconnected, interact with, and affect one another (Anele, 42). This, I believe, is the most significant characteristic of Ibo culture.
The interaction between spirit and flesh is immediately seen in the first sentences of Achebe’s book. He introduces us to Okonkwo, a man renowned across the nine villages for his wrestling ability. At the age of eighteen he fought one of the greatest matches the town had ever seen. In fact, the only match to ever have been better was one between a human and a spirit of the wild (Achebe, chpt 1). The Ibo were convinced that in the dark of night, whistling would attract evil spirits. Therefore children were counseled not to whistle at night (Achebe, chpt 2).…

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