Members | Sign In
All Forums > Group 2

Chapters 12-13

posted Nov 01, 2011 19:02:13 by
At the end of Part I, Obierika contemplates his society. What issues does he consider? What conclusion does he reach? Why might Achebe end Part I with this contemplation? Are there any traditions or belief in American culture that confound you? Why?
page   1
3 replies
BRANDK02 said Nov 01, 2011 23:54:47
Obierika questions the true righteousness of the Earth goddess. It does not make sense to him that the Ibo people so blindly embraced a deity who punished men beset by misfortune as severely as the deliberate criminals. He then begins to doubt that the children expelled at the earth's command actually committed any wrongdoings. Finally, he wonders why a goddess who is supposedly omniscient would wrathfully punish an entire village for the crimes of one individual. Obierika seems to realize that justice can be found outside of the Ibo religion. By recalling that "if one finger brought oil it soiled the others" (125) with a hint of what I interpret as sarcasm, Obierika satirizes the theocratic justice system's inclination towards whimsical and radical solutions. Achebe might have ended the first part with this contemplation because it disrupts the serenity of the clan government. By voicing criticisms through this modest and intelligent character, Achebe possibly suggests that the clan actually is suffering at the hands of the unthinking majority. This, in turn, takes the first stab at Umuofia's well-being just before they enter into the age of imperialism. In all honesty I do not find myself confounded by any aspects of contemporary American culture. This is because I have been raised to accept the values of our society and have been conditioned to believe that, by challenging these values, I will only afflict myself with emotional discomfort (which I think is kind of funny but also kind of sad). However, I believe that it is totally reasonable for a foreigner to see the flaws in our society. For example, some might wonder why we Americans choose to eat ourselves to death in submission to an opportunistic fast food industry whose interests obviously lie in profit maximization. Others may wonder why we are so obsessed with cleanliness and sterilization: Our society alone does not seem to consider that, theoretically, we are entirely capable of surviving in the absence of cleansing products and that people did so quite well up until the 1870's. In fact, the truth is that soap purely represents the birth of modern aggressive marketing campaigns. So that's kind of funny too
[Last edited Nov 01, 2011 23:58:24]
MEAGHAN02 said Nov 02, 2011 00:13:59
At the end of Part 1, Obierika is shown contemplating his society. He wonders why Okonkwo is being punished in such a shameful, hard way for unintentionally committing a crime. Obierika also questions why twins, like his wive's, have to be thrown away when the twins have not committed any crime. Obierika remembers that their Earth goddess says that twins are a danger, and she would spread her vengeance to the whole village if they did not obey her. He remembers, "And if the clan did not exact punishment for an offense against the great goddess, her wrath was loosed on all the land and not just on the offender"(125). Obierika realizes that he and the other village members are too afraid to go against the goddess. I think that Achebe ends Part 1 with this contemplation to foreshadow that society may begin to question beliefs and maybe try to change some of their traditions to make them more modern. It could also mean that the Europeans may come and persuade them into believing their own faith, and change society. Something in the American culture that confounds me is why our society is so self absorbed and that many Americans are not good at seeing other people's perspectives on religious beliefs. For an example, many Americans assume that Christians who are against gay marriages are selfish and cruel because to most Americans, they do not understand why they would be against that. Most Christians are against gay marriages because in the Bible, God says that to act upon it is sinful. They believe that it is okay to have those feelings, but not to act upon them, and most Americans are oblivious to this. A similar example seen in the Islam religion and having to fast for extremely long periods. Many Americans just assume that they are crazy to harm themselves, but Muslims fast because in the Qur'an, Allah asks them to, and Americans are judging of these practices before they even fully understand them.
KEL02 said Nov 02, 2011 01:51:23
Obierika contemplates why Okonkwo was punished so harshly for a crime he committed inadvertently. As he contemplates this, he connects it to the throwing away of the twins. He realizes that these "justified" acts may not be completely fair. Obierika is unable to reach a conclusion, however his final statement hints at Umuofia's future. I agree with Brandon that Obierika's proverb, "if one finger brought oil it soiled the others" (125) is meant to show sarcasm. However, i also think that it could be looked at in a different way. Obierika could be still caught in the struggle from accepting change and modifying traditions. He speaks of how certain rituals may be unfair, but then contemplates that the Earth goddess must keep control, because an individual affects the community. I think Achebe ends part one with this contemplation, to foreshadow how colonization will change the minds and ideas of the Ibo people.
Login below to reply: