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Chapter 9

posted Oct 28, 2011 19:40:42 by
Achebe dedicates a whole chapter to the subject of ogbanje. What does the ogbanje reveal about Ibo society? How does the ogbanje balance against the “throwinging away” of twins? Does Achebe seem to validate the belief in ogbanje? Why do you think he devotes so much of the chapter to this mysterious part of Ibo culture?
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3 replies
KEL02 said Oct 30, 2011 21:44:26
The ogbanje reveals that children in Ibo culture are an essential part of life. The ogbanje plagued Ekwefi, and caused her to become very bitter, "Ekwefi had nothing but good wishes for her..but she had grown so bitter about her own chi that she could not rejoice with others over their good fortune" (79). This reveals that children are very important to mothers, and without them, the balance of life would be disrupted. The ogbanje balances against the "throwing away" of twins, because they both represent evil spirits that need to be destroyed. Achebe doesn't directly validate or invalidate the belief in ogbanje, however i think that the fact that Ezinma continues to live after the medicine doctor visits her reveals Achebe's validation of the belief in ogbanje. I think he devotes so much of the chapter to this mysterious part of Ibo culture, because he wants to reveal values about the culture that westerners were unaware of. He was revealing how little we know about the Ibo society.
BRANDK02 said Oct 30, 2011 21:49:11
The ogbanje is possibly meant to demonstrate that Ibo people are hesitant toward secular solutions. This is particularly important on the eve of colonization. The practice theoretically counteracts the murdering of infants because it suggests that life cannot be extinguished through worldly death. Thus, Ibo people reason that killing the actual being only returns the soul to the womb. Achebe does seem to stand by ogbanje because he does not discredit the incidence in which Ezinma supposedly locates the iyi-uwa of her late former manifestation. I believe that the spiritual processes of the Ibo people are displayed in order to explain why colonization ran such an devastating course. European opportunists who valued the here-and-now faced little opposition from a population that downplays the importance of the human being. Furthermore, the excavation of the iyi-uwa represents the tendency of native peoples to settle conflicts in the interests of emotional reassurance. Historically, the Europeans would label them as imprudent and proceed to pit tribes against each other in an effort to initiate widespread fragmentation.
MEAGHAN02 said Oct 31, 2011 02:46:55
I agree with Kelly that the ogbanje is an essential part of the Ibo life because they analyze things very differently than we do and it is a big part of their lives. They impact families greatly. This balances the act against "throwing away" twins because in the Ibo society, they are both feared and they feel the need to dispose them. "This man told him that the child was a ogbanje, one of those wicked children..."(77). This proves that they viewed those children as evil. I think that it is unknown if Achebe validates this belief because he only states their beliefs and doesn not show any forrm of opinion directly.
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