Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe
Taking Two-sided Notes Chinua Achebe 1. Religion 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. 4. 4. 5. 5. TFA/Other 1. Marriage 1. 2. - 3. - 4. - 5. 6. - Igbo People 1. - 2. 2. 3. 3. 4. Family/Commerce 1. 5. 2. Society 1. Kola Nut 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. 4.
Vocabulary • Afrocentric- Centered on Africa or on African-derived cultures • Eurocentric- Centered Europe and Europeans as focal to world culture, history, economics, etc. • Proverbs- a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought; adage; saw • Folk tales- any belief or story passed on traditionally, especially one considered to be false or based on superstition. • European Morality- Based on the ideals of Christianity • Restitution- reparation made by giving an equivalent or compensation for loss, damage, or injury caused; indemnification • Oral Tradition- a community's cultural and historical traditions passed down by word of mouth • Consensus- majority of opinion • Tragic Flaw-the character defect that causes the downfall of the protagonist of a tragedy • Characterization- the creation and convincing representation of fictitious characters
Vocabulary Cont. 11. Conflict- external or internal 12. Theme- a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc., as in a work of art 13. Diction- style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words 14. Purpose- the reason for the written work 15. Audience- the persons reached by a book
Chinua Achebe • Born Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe on 16 November 1930 • Raised by Christian parents • Lived in in the Igbo village of Ogidiin southeastern Nigeria • Excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies • Became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures • Began writing stories as a university student • Worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service • Gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart • Written in response to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (Claimed it to be racist) • Lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s and returned in the 1990s after a car accident left him partially disabled • Currently is the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island
Things Fall Apart and other works • Best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958) • Most widely read book in modern African literature • Focuses on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of values during and after the colonial era • Relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition • Combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory • Has also published a number of short stories, children's books, and essay collections • Written in response to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Igbo People • Also referred to as the Ibo(e), Ebo(e), Eboans or Heebo (Igbo: Ndị Igbọ) • Find their home in a rich and fertile crescent created by the lower Niger River within Nigeria • Speak Igbo, which includes various Igboid languages and dialects • Also speak English alongside Igbo as a result of British Colonialism • Are among the largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria • Are mostly farmers in rural areas of Africa • Were a politically fragmented group before British colonialism • Weren't many centralized chieftaincy, hereditary aristocracy, or kingship customs • Changed politically under British colonialism in the 19th century • Introduced Eze (kings)into most local communities by Fredeerick as "Warrant Chiefs" • Became overwhelmingly Christian under colonization
Traditional Society • Political organization was based on a quasi-democratic republican system of government. • It guarantees its citizens equality. • Communities were governed and administered by a council of elders. • Title holders were respected because of their accomplishments and capabilities but were never revered as kings. They often performed special functions given to them by such assemblies. • Law starts with the Umunna which is a male line of descent from a founding ancestor. The Umunna can be seen as the most important pillar of Igbo society. • Their indigenous calendar had a week with four days, a month consisted of seven weeks and 13 months made a year. In the last month, an extra day was added. This calendar is still used in indigenous Igbo villages and towns to determine market days. • They settled law matters via mediators, and their banking system for loans and savings, called Isusu, is also still used. • The Igbo had a traditional ideographic set of symbols called Nsibidi. • A system of slavery existed among the Igbo after and before the arrival and knowledge of Europeans.
Igbo Religion • In Igbo mythology, which is part of their ancient religion, the supreme God is called Chukwu ("great spirit"). • Chukwu created the world and everything in it and is associated with all things on Earth. • The Igbo people believe that all things come from him. • Everything on earth, heaven, and the rest of the spiritual world is under his control. • Minor deities are also worshiped. • When an individual deity is no longer needed, or becomes too violent, it is discarded. • The Igbo believe in reincarnation. People are believed to reincarnate into families that they were part of while alive. Once a child is born, he or she is believed to give signs of who they have reincarnated from. It is considered an insult if a male is said to have reincarnated as a female. • The birth of twins and other multiple births in most parts of Igboland was seen as an abomination. Multiple births were believed to be only what animals should produce and single births were believed to be what only humans should produce. Twins were killed by abandonment in the community's evil forest or in some cases were instantly killed. After the birth, the mother of the twins went through cleansing rituals to purify her from the abomination. The practice of twin killing among the Igbo has long since died.
Burials • The body of a prominent member of society is placed on a stool in a sitting posture and is clothed in the deceased's finest garments. • Animal sacrifices may be offered to them and they can be well perfumed. • Burial usually follows within 24 hours of death. • The head of a home is usually buried beneath the floor of his house. • Different types of deaths warrant different types of burials. • For example, children are buried in hiding and out of sight, their burials usually take place in the early mornings and late nights. A simple untitled man is buried in front of his house and a simple mother is buried in her place of origin in a garden or a farm-area that belonged to her father. A disgraced person or twins would be simply left in the evil forest. • Presently, a majority of the Igbo bury their dead in the western way.
Marriage The process of marrying involves • asking the young woman's consent • introducing the woman to the man's family and the same for the man to the woman's family • testing the bride's character • checking the woman's family background • paying the brides wealth. • In the past, many Igbo men practiced polygamy. The family is made up of a man and his wives and all their children. • Men sometimes married multiple wives for economic reasons so as to have more people in the family, including children, to help on farms. • The family is made up of a man and his wives and all their children. • Beyond the family unit is the extended family, consisting of all the sons in a family and their parents, wives, and unmarried daughters. • The extended family may have anywhere from five to thirty members. • Ideally, all of the members of the extended family live in one large compound. • Once a daughter marries, she moves in with the family of her husband. After Colonialism • Since Colonialism, Igbo people now tend to enter monogamous relationships and create nuclear families, mainly because of Western influence. • There are circumstances where a marriage between two women is allowed, such as when a woman has no child and the husband dies.
Igbo Attire Men • Men would wear loin cloths that wrapped round their waist and between their legs to be fastened at their back, the type of clothing appropriate for the intense heat as well as jobs such as farming. Women • Maidens usually wore a short wrapper with beads around their waist and other ornaments such as necklaces and beads. • In most cases Igbo women did not cover their breast areas. • Women traditionally carry their babies on their backs with a strip of clothing binding the two with a knot at her chest, a practice used by many ethnic groups across Africa. • Both men and women wore wrappers. • Uli body art was used to decorate both men and women in the form of lines forming patterns and shapes on the body Children • Children were usually nude from birth till their adolescence. • Sometimes ornaments such as beads were worn around the waist for spiritual reasons. *** After the rise of Colonialism, the way the Igbo dressed changed. These changes made the Igbo adopt Westernized clothing such as shirts and trousers for the men. For women, a puffed sleeve blouse along with two wrappers and a head tie are worn.[
Igbo Farming,Commerce, and Cuisine • The yam is very important to the Igbo as it is their staple crop. It is considered a man’s crop, only planted and tended to by men. • There are celebrations such as the New Yam Festivals which are held for the harvesting of the yam. During the festival yam is eaten throughout the communities as celebration. Yam tubers are shown off by individuals as a sign of success and wealth. • Other crops could be planted and harvested by women. In addition to these crops, women would also negotiate trading on market days. Cuisine • Other foods include cassava, garri, maize and plantains. Soups or stews are included in a typical meal, prepared with a vegetable such as okra to which pieces of fish, chicken, beef, or goat meat are added. • Jollof rice is popular throughout West Africa. • Palm wine is a popular alcoholic beverage among the Igbo. • They are also famous for creating dark chocolate. They have it with every meal as a ritual to their sun god, Azebo.
Kola Nut • The kola is a symbol of life, a sacrament like communion. • The Igbo kola is always accompanied by wine or drink. • The Kola can only be cut with a knife and is blessed and served by the oldest man unless no man is present. • The kola blessing is employed in all occasions, formal and informal. • A Kola with one lobe is a dumb kola or Ọjị ogbu. It is called ọjị mmụọ, that is, kola of the spirits. It is not eaten. • A Kola with two lobes is equally a dumb kola and it is not eaten. This is the main reason why the Igbo do not use the gworo or cola nitida for rituals or in serious traditional celebrations. • A Kola with three lobes is called ọjị ike, ọjị ikenga, that is, kola of the valiant. Only warriors or brave men and consecrated or ordained persons are permitted to eat this kola, as a matter of principle. • A Kola with four lobes is called "ọjị udo na ngọzi", that is, "kola of peace and blessing”. It is the normal kola. The number four is very sacred among the lgbo. • A Kola with five lobes is "ọjị ụbara mmadụ, ọmụmụ na ụkwụọma that symbolizes increase in procreation, protection and good luck. • A Kola with six lobes indicates communion with our ancestors, that is, "ọjị ndi mmụo na ndi mmadụ jiri gbaa ndụ". • A The smallest part or lobe is not eaten but is thrown away for the ancestors to eat. In like manner, kola with one lobe is not eaten by man, that means that it is not broken during ceremonies because it belongs to the ancestors, an attitude reminiscent of the direct link between the living and the dead in Igboland.
Predictions With your seat partner, review your notes from today. • Predict what elements of the Igbo culture was a threat to the Christians. • In your opinion, what did the Europeans overlook about the Igbo people and their culture in Europe in their quest to prove that Africa was the Dark Continent and its inhabitants natives?