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Chapter 9

posted Oct 28, 2011 19:40:56 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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5 replies
ZACH03 said Oct 30, 2011 17:52:37
The ogbanje reveals the mysterious and superstitious side of Ibo culture. The ogbanje is supposed to be a child who keeps being born and dying shortly after, thus an explanation for why children sometimes die soon after birth. In this way, the Ogbanje reveals that if there is no explanation for why something occurs, Ibo society will make one. I feel that Achebe neither validates nor dismisses the belief in ogbanje; he just states the belief. I think he devotes so much of the chapter to ogbanje because he is trying to illustrate the very different beliefs of the Ibo. I also belief that he is trying to show how every culture has its own beliefs that may seem strange to other cultures, but are very important.
COLIN03 said Oct 30, 2011 22:59:10
The ogbanje reveals the Ibo explanation of why children die young and the mother continues to give birth to children who die within there first year. I don't think Achebe validates the belief because he emphasizes Ekwefi's deteriorating emotions as she loses child after child. He devotes chapter 9 to the subject of obanje to show foreigners that the Ibo aren't merciless child killers, but have a limited understanding of disease and how fragile children are in the first years of life. This balances throwing away the twins because the Ibo believe that the ogbanje is the same child being reborn repeatedly so technically there is no loss of life.
TEREN03 said Oct 31, 2011 00:03:28
Achebe also doesn't validate the belief because he demonstrates Ekwefi's futility in her attempts to thwart the ogbanje with names for her children that counter death. The chapter is devoted to this concept because Achebe wants to show how the Ibo use their spirituality to explain most of the things that they experience in life.
EM03 said Oct 31, 2011 01:05:26
I think that Achebe, as Colin said, devotes a whole chapter to the idea of obanje to explain the reasons behind the killing of children. The idea of killing a child is horrable and puts a bad light on the killer. I also think that the idea of Obanje is highlighted to show how the Ibo culture respods to disease. He dosent want people to think of the clan as mean, so he made the clan look ignorant instead.
MAT03 said Oct 31, 2011 21:17:32
I believe that Achebe dedicated a whole chapter to the Obanje idea because from the surface the idea of Obanje and the throwing away of twins seems cruel and unreasonable, but after Achebe explains the culture and reason behind it, it seems less bizarre and more just a part of their way of life. I do not think he validates the belief in Obanje because he isnt trying to deem it necessarily "right", he is more so trying to allow the reader to get a taste of the Ibo culture that we might call taboo. The Ibo society, after viewing numerous deaths of infants, looked for an explanation on why these children died and why the children that died kept coming from the same women so they looked for they reached the conclusion and formed the Obanje belief.
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