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Chapters 12-13

posted Nov 01, 2011 19:01:59 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
CADYL01 said Nov 01, 2011 22:41:29
Okonkwo considers how he had to flee the village for a "crime he had committed inadvertently" (125), and how he had to throw away his wife's twins who had committed no crime. He thinks about these issues, remembering that "if one finger brought oil it soiled the others" (125). This saying of the village elders demonstrates the Ibo belief that even mistakes, if not punished harshly, can destroy the clan. I think when Okonkwo ponders this belief he begins to doubt it. He realizes that a mistake or accident is not necessarily a sign of weakness, such as him killing the young man. His gun "had exploded and a piece of iron had pierced the boy's heart" (124). Okonkwo had no control over the incident and he realizes the flaw of the belief. I think Achebe ends part 1 with this realization because it demonstrates how even traditionalists, like
Okonkwo, can change given the right circumstances. It also may help to explain how the white men colonize so easily. In American culture, there are many traditions and beliefs that do not necessarily make sense. For instance, there are still some Americans who reject scientific thinking, such as evolution. It confounds me how such a basic concept, which has been proven scientifically, and been fought over in courts can still remain an issue.
SAR01 said Nov 01, 2011 22:48:03
Obierika considers why a man should suffer for an offense that he had committed inadvertenly. He also considers why his wife's twin children were throw away when they committed no crime. Obierika reached the conclusion that, "The Earth had decreed that they were an offense on the land and must be destroyed" (125). If the clan did not go by the great goddess, her wrath and anger was taken out on the entire village. It was entirely up to the great goddess what was done with the twins and the punishment for Okonkwo's actions. Achebe might end Part 1 with this contemplation because it end with us understanding Obierika's thoughts and keeps us thinking about what happens next and all the possibilities that can come from this. There are no traditions in American culture that confound me at this point.
KALI01 said Nov 01, 2011 22:51:14
Achebe ends Part I with Obierika contemplating his society. He questions why Oknonkwo should be punished for a crime he didn't even mean to commit, or what twins ever did wrong to deserve death as a baby. It didn't seem fair. But, Obierika reached the conclusion that the Earth had decided these fates. If the offender was not solely punished, the Earth would punish the whole community. This belief in the Earth's punishment further exemplifies the Ibo belief in superstition.I think Achebe might've ended Part I with this contemplation because Part I in general is focused on the traditions and customs of Ibo society, but no one has questioned them yet, so this might foreshadow an event that will occur later in the novel, such as colonization. I also think it should be noted that Achebe ends the chapter with a proverb, "As the elders said, if one finger brought oil it spoiled the others" (125). This not only represents the a punishment for one man affecting everyone, but also the fact that if one person brings the idea that people must follow these customs, everyone else believes it too. Some of the holidays we celebrate confound me. How was Santa Claus just made up, and the Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy? All these fake characters may seem normal to us, but in other cultures people may not understand them because they are very strange.
JAMESF01 said Nov 02, 2011 00:38:27
He considers that it isn't fair that people should be punished for a crime that they did not commit on purpose. Eventually he falls back on the old belief that if the tradition wasn't crried out harm would befall all of them. However it shows that change is going to come soon to the village and some of the traditions may be forgotten. He ends part 1 in this way to foreshadow the imperialism part of the book, when everything will fall apart. An american tradition that confounds me is the constant debating we have over every little thing. Who cares if god created the universe or if we evolved? If we can't work together to make this country great and prosper, we will be left in the dust and our lives will be miserable while we still fight over ideas that have no place in the advancement of our country.
JAMESA01 said Nov 02, 2011 04:03:33
Obierka considers how fair the punishments for certain crimes really are when committed by accident. he considers whether or not burning down all of okonkwo's huts and land was a fitting punishment for an inadvertent crime. he also thought of his twins that had to be killed, thinking "what crime had they committed? the Earth had decreed that they were an offence to the land and must be destroyed" (125). in the end he reaches the conclusion that if one was to not follow these rules than they would be slain by the goddess. he ends the chapter with this only so he can foreshadow the doom and despair of the European invasions in the coming chapters. I am confounded by abortion in our country mainly due to the fact that its pretty much murder. that said it should be allowed for rape cases.
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