Conflicts in Umuofia

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July 11, 2012

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Conflicts In Umuofia
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Different types of conflicts in the Igbo’s society

Conflicts in Umuofia
Chinua Achebe was born Albert Chinualumogu in Ogidi, Nigeria on November 15th, 1930. Achebe wrote many novels, but “Things Fall Apart” is the famous one among them. Achebe studied English, History, and Theology at the College of Ibadan. He was a Senior Researcher Fellow at the University of Nigeria and professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. The novel “Things Fall Apart” was written during the period where Nigeria was about to become independent from the “Britain” (Rhoads, 62). Chinua Achebe is strongly amazed and pleased to teach the whole world through his books and novels the past and unknown history of Africa precisely the Igbo’s society where he came from. He took his time to picture and spread out through the novel the socio cultural problem of the colonization of Umuofia by the Europeans. Achebe had many reasons to write about Africa and specifically about the Igbo’s culture because at this time African writers used to generalize Africa in their books or novels. The novel ‘Things Fall Apart” presents the various controversial conflicts in Umuofia village before and after the colonization of the village by the Europeans. I will analyze the various conflicts in Umuofia’s society especially the conflict between Umuofia customs culture and the Europeans culture. Chinua Achebe’s famous novel “Things Fall Apart” has enlightened my knowledge about African’s culture and raised many questions. The situation before and after the incoming of the Europeans, the various conflicts in the society can lead us to get a better understanding of the conflicts that had risen after the colonization. The incoming of the Europeans disturbed everything. It had effects on their judicial system, their religion, culture, economy, language, tradition. It is a new system, a new life for Umuofia. The Europeans made so many changes. They brought education, built hospitals. Therefore, the changes had raised a cultural conflict between Umofia’s people and the Europeans. A new religion, new justice system, a new language, the division of the society, the conflict between Okonkwo and his son, the trade, Okonkwo’s death, all constitute the conflicts brought by the Europeans. Umuofia was a peaceful village. The people who lived in this village respected each other. They had their own culture, their own gods, and their own rituals different from any other culture. In Umofia’s culture, they had so many gods like the Earth god, “Agbala- the oracle of the Hills and Caves” (Achebe, 12), she could predicted the future, and they had to listen to Agbala, and follow her instructions; Chi was another god, which could be considered as a judge. Achebe stated in “Things Fall Apart,” “A snake was never called by its name at night, because it would hear. It was called a string” (9). It was like superstition. They believed that the snake could do any harm to them, so they were afraid of it at night and used other names to call it. People of Umuofia had strong connections with their belief, their culture. Men in Umofia were considered as everything; they were the one that can do the hard work like harvesting the yams, climbing the palm oil, and to get involved as a member of the clans. Men symbolized power while women symbolized weakness. However, in the Igbo’s society, they did not accept any violence toward the women. Men had to respect their wives, even though some of them broke that rule sometimes and beat their wives. The case of Uzowulu beating his wife and get punish for what he did can be an example used by Achebe to show the value of the respect toward women in “Things Fall Apart.” Women had to stay home to take care of the house, to cook, to take care of the kids, help the men in the fields and they were able to harvest only the coco-yams. In addition, the...
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