Umuofian Society In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Register to read the introduction… This custom is practiced in the connected nine villages of Umuofia. In fact, a man's wealth is partially measured by the number of wives he has. A wealthy man described in Things Fall Apart, had nine wives and thirty children. Okonkwo had three wives and eight children. Polygamy is not something many Americans are accustomed to. Western culture teaches that monogamy, as opposed to polygamy, is the proper, accepted form of marriage. Western culture places that morality into its people, often from youth. In Western culture, having more than one partner in a marriage is often cause for divorce; however, in Umoufia it is practiced and even encouraged by most of its people. Another common belief in Umoufia is polytheism, the worship or belief in many gods. Included in their practice of polytheism is their chi, or personal god. Achebe says, "A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi" (131). He goes on to say, "Unoka was an ill-fated man. He had a bad chi, or personal god, and evil fortune followed him to the grave..." (18). Achebe demonstrates that this is a god of great importance that foretells one's future. It is custom to make sacrifices to the gods, like Unoka in Achebe's novel tells, "Every year... before I put any crop in the earth, I sacrifice a cock to Ani, the owner of all land. I also kill a cock at the shrine of Ifejioku, the god of yams" (17). This shows the importance of ritual, and religion in Ibo society. Okonkwo believed he was successful because he killed a couple of roosters, not because he planted good …show more content…
Women were required to cook, clean and take care of the children. If these duties were not taken care of, the women of Umuofia could be beaten. The Ibo tribe not only allowed, but encouraged wife beating. Achebe's Things Fall Apart describes beatings on a few occurrences. The first happens when Okonkwo's second wife does not come home to cook him an afternoon meal. Achebe says, " Okonkwo was provoked to justifiable anger when his youngest wife... did not return early enough to cook the afternoon meal." Achebe goes on to say, "Okonkwo bit his lips as anger welled within him ... when she returned (Okonkwo) beat her heavily" (29). Okonkwo beats Ojiugo again when she calls him a "gun that never shot." Here is one severe case of beating in the tribe, but not involving Okonkwo, Achebe describes as," my sister was with him for nine years... no single day passed ... without him beating the woman." Achebe goes on to say, "when she was pregnant he beat her till she miscarried" (91). After this trial was finished, Achebe quotes one of the elders by saying, "I don't know why such a trifle should come before the egwugwu"(94). This would show the overall indifference towards the suffering and ill treatment of the women of the tribe. Achebe shows that the Ibo women have valuable parts in the society, though. The women paint the houses of the egwugwu. A man's first wife is also shown additional respect. Achebe shows this through the palm wine ceremony at Nwakibie's obi, "Anasi was the first wife and the others could not drink before her, and so they stood waiting"

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