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The traditions and values in a society or civilization are essential for its fate and future well-being. The author, Chinua Achebe explains this idea through the novel Things Fall Apart .

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Introduction

The traditions and values in a society or civilization are essential for its fate and future well-being. Many times, a society's health is being reflected upon individuals and group attitudes toward the traditions and values. The author, Chinua Achebe explains this idea through the novel Things Fall Apart in which the Umuofian values of religion, personal achievements, and male superiority are questioned by many individuals. These questions spark conflict among the tribe and its people. As a result, the inflexible Umuofian traditions and values cause the culture's to fall apart. The religion in the Umuofian tribe has a dominant control over the social and political life of its people which caused the tribe to break apart. The head of the religious hierarchy in the tribe consists of the oracle which is perceived as the most "supreme" (Clayton 1). Being the most supreme ruler, the Oracle has the absolute power in making arbitrary decisions in both social and political issues. The Oracle is fixed in its decisions and not tolerant of any changes. Therefore, even the most far-fetched decisions are expected to be carried out in full obedience. In the scene where Ikemefuma is told to be killed, the messenger, Ogbuefi Ezedu confronts Okonkwo and says "The Oracle of the Hills and the Caves has pronounced it. ...read more.

Middle

Besides religion, the emphasis on individual values and achievement cause major downturn in the Umuofia tribe. The Umuofia tribe greatly focuses on the value of masculinity by demonstrating the significance of the wrestling match. In the beginning of the book, Okonkwo has a lot of fame by "throwing Amalinze the Cat" (Achebe 3). Since this society stress the value on physical strength, individuals have to prove themselves in order to receive a high position in the tribe. Thus, individuals will eventually become obsessed with strength and fearful of weakness. Okonkwo is one prime individual who is greatly impacted by this notion. During the slaughter of Ikemefuma, the author states that Okonkwo "[draws] his machete and [cuts] him down. He [is] afraid of being thought as weak" (Achebe 61). The action that Okonkwo made is rather irrational and rashful based on his fear of weakness. However, the cause of Okonkwo's attitude is influenced by the tribe's culture of achievement and masculinity. As individuals such as Okonkwo try to become strong, they become unnoticed that their downfall is right at their doors. As a result, the tribe's unity is broken as a whole due to individual downfalls in the society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Consequently, women are deprived of their natural abilities and a division among males and females occurs in the tribe. In addition to men's superiority, men could also abuse their power by beating their wives. The author states that "Okonkwo [walks] back to his obi . . . and when she [returns] he [beats] her very heavily" (Achebe 29). Since wife-beating is common in the Ibo tribe, women have a large opposition against the superiority of men. The form of opposition comes through passive questions and doubts which provide a further insecurity in the tribe. Fables and folktales told by women suggest the fact that female questions and ideas are implemented into the male culture of the Ibo tribe. The unequal rights of women and the disrespect for female virtues lead to the devastating fate of the Ibo tribe. The authoritarian attitude towards the questioning of traditions and values in the Umuofia tribe result in the downfall of the tribe. In fact, the dominant control of religion over individuals' life, the emphasis on the value of achievement, and the lack of feminine importance contribute to peoples' distrust on higher authority. When people doubt and seek change in a society, the welfare of a nation falls apart just like the Umuofian village in Things Fall Apart. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lau 2 ...read more.

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