Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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Before reading any novel, I always do some biographical research on the author and what influenced him to write his/her piece. I also do research on the historical information about the time of publication and the influence on the work. According to research, Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria on November 16, 1930. While in college he studied theology and history, which influenced him to develop interest in indigenous Nigerian cultures. In his novel Things Fall Apart, which takes place in the 1890s’, portrays the fray between Nigeria’s white colonial government and the culture of indigenous Igbo people. He shatters the stereotypes the White Europeans set upon the Nigerian’s. Although he shatters Nigerian stereotype, he is careful that he does not himself stereotype White Europeans in the process.

There were plenty of Ibo customs I came across while reading this novel. Some of them were very interesting that I have heard of before and very few of them were disturbing to me. A direct definition of a custom would be a specific behavior that is particular to a certain society. One custom I have heard before that my mother till this day still tells me is that when your left eyelid twitches it means that something bad will happen to you or that you will see something. This is mentioned in the story when Ezinma and Efweki are preparing a meal before the wrestling matches. Ezinma questions Efweki about what it means when her eyelid twitches and Efweki tells her. Another interesting tradition I came across was that only the husbands’ first wife alone was allowed to wear the anklet of her husband’s title. In the story Okonkwo’s first wife does not have a name and is only mentioned as Nwoye’s mother. I think that this is significant that her name is never mentioned because it shows how humble women are compared to men in the Igbo tribe. It shows that women are not respected and that the first wife is only good for having as many kids as possible. A few other appealing...
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