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Chapters 12-13

posted Nov 01, 2011 19:02:40 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?
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5 replies
TOMM04 said Nov 01, 2011 22:11:24
Prior to his contemplations, Obierka is part of the group of men that "cleansed" Okonkwo's property after his gun exploded and killed a sixteen year-old young man. It was a complete accident, yet Okonkwo is exiled from the village for seven years. Obierka is puzzled by the punishment of his friend. He asks himself why someone should suffer such an awful punishment for something that was a complete and utter accident. Achebe's tone is very ominous and foreboding when he writes, "But although he thought for a long time he found no answer...he was merely led into greater complexities" (125). An Ibo questioning his own villages tradition is unheard of, but that is exactly what this highranking and successful man is doing. Achebe is foreshadowing a possible change in Ibo society, and change that will most likely come from European settlers. Because American traditions are so infused in my life, it is hard to find one that jumps out at me, but there are many that would confound foreigners.
SCOT04 said Nov 01, 2011 22:58:10
Like Tom said, Obierka is questioning the village's punishment against someone who has done something accidental. Obierka is not only questioning Ibo society when he does this, but he is also questioning the will of the gods. All of Okonkwo's property must be burned because the village believes that it is the only way for them to cleanse Okonkwo from his accidental sin. Again, the Ibo society believes that they will be punished by the gods for something that an individual did on his own. This idea reminds me of a team or organization's reputation being tarnished because of the actions of one of their members. Achebe is using Obierka as a direct foil to Okonkwo. We all know that Okonkowo hides his feelings and fears weakness. In this chapter Achebe reveals that Obierka has also kept feelings inside of him that are finally coming out at the end of chapter one. The fact that prominent men are starting to question their society shows that they will be open to change when imperialism occurs.
KAR04 said Nov 02, 2011 00:17:49
Obierka contemplates Onkonkwo's expulsion and other Ibo traditions. He is the first character seen to question any Ibo practices, such as the throwing away of twins asking, "what crime had they committed?" (125). His contemplations represent that not all Ibo traditions make sense to the people, however they still adhere to them anyways. He does not reach any conclusions, despite thinking for a long time. The only reasoning he can think of is that if they do not do as the Earth goddess tells them, she would damage the whole community. I think that Achebe used Obierka's contemplations to end part one to demonstrate that the Ibo people do think about their customs, however their fear of the supernatural drives them to abide. He also uses Obierka to represent the potential change. Like Tom, I find it difficult to think of one specific American tradition that is confounding, but I recognize that there are probably many to foreigners.
BRENDAN04 said Nov 02, 2011 01:40:17
At the conclusion of part 1, Obierika is contemplating about the morality in the customs of Ibo society. He questions the banishment of Okonkwo from the tribe for seven years, because of an accidental killing caused by a malfunctioning gun. He wonders how it is possible for someone to be punished so heavily for an accident. His contemplation on Oknokwo's situation, leads to Obierika questioning more rituals of Ibo society. He recalls the throwing away of his twins into the Evil Forest, and wonders what had the twins done to recieve an early death. Even though he wonders about Ibo traditions for a long time, Obierka "found no answer", and as Thomas said, his thoughts only led to more complications. Through his thoughts, we see the rebellious side and the want for change welling up inside Obierika. I always thought that in American culture, sending someone to jail for involuntary manslaughter, which is the accidental killing of another person, was astounding and insane. Even though this is the same exact problem that Obierika is questioning, it nevertheless bothers me that some one can be put in jail for something that is not their fault.
MOLLY04 said Nov 02, 2011 11:13:48
At the end of part 1, Obierika finds himself questioning the traditions of the Ibo society. He is puzzled over the tradition that Okonkwo must leave the village for 7 years because he accidentally killed a 16 year-old member of society. Although Obierika does not actually agree with the tradition, he does nothing about his feelings and destroys Okonkwo's land because challenging the traditions of the Ibo was unheard of and led to consequences. Yet Obierika's contemplation of Okonkwo's punishment suggests a change in the Ibo society or rebellion. Achebe could be foreshadowing that colonization is heading for the Ibos. Like mentioned before, it is difficult to find one example of similarity in America but some of our traditions may seem ridiculous to foreigners.
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