Nigeria has a rich culture stemming from the many civilizations that inhabited the land. In the novel Thing Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe brings light on to the great Igbo people, a society Nigeria hosted for centuries. The tale follows a man named Okonkwo as he tries to make amends for his father 's failures and a name for himself within his village. This path leads Okonkwo to become reckless and unreasonable. Through this, readers are exposed to the village’s judicial system, revealing that the clan’s laws based off sexism, superstitious nature, and deep religious ties.
As with most primitive societies, the Igbo was ruled by a few elite, all of which were male. Those able to obtain power in the village are male, while women are viewed as servants or commodities. This notion is clearly visible in Okonkwo’s actions, an example being his insults - “Only a week ago a man had contradicted him at a kindred meeting which they held to discuss the next ancestral feast. Without looking at the man Okonkwo had said: ‘This meeting is for men.’ The man who had contradicted him had no titles. That was why he called him a woman. Okonkwo knew how to kill a man’s spirit.” (page 26) The fact that such a remark was tolerable at a such an event shows exactly who holds the power in the clan. Not only are women the butt of insults, but the law in Umuofia allows the brutal beating of women. In a quarrel with his wife Okonkwo nearly kills one of his wives, but more shocking than that is the villages lack of response. Upon wandering around his compound, Okonkwo finds an outlet for his boredom in a recently cut banana tree “As a matter of fact the tree was very much alive. Okonkwo’s second wife had merely cut a few leaves of...
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Igbo culture was the main factor that crafted Umofia’s government in the tale. While Chinua Achebe’s novel takes place in a fictional land, his sources come from the direct descendants of that time period, and the tales they speak all depict a land where the government had as much influence as religion, mainly due to the fact that government was run by religion. Unlike modern day Nigeria, where the official ruling system is a federal republic, and the laws are made by the people, the Ibgo villagers believed that their laws come directly from the gods. With these different mindsets it’s easy to understand why the Igbo were law abiding citizens, as any infraction of the law meant they also unpleased the gods.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart, London: Heinemann, 1958; New York: Astor Honor, 1959. Print.
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