While reading Things Fall Apart, I noticed quite a few differences in culture. There is many different ceremonies and practices in place in the African heritage. The yam growing feast is one example of something we are not used to. To think that you spend the day feasting in hopes of a good harvest seems silly. The men and women both have very distinct roles whereas in America sometimes the roles cross and the lines blur. Women in the African culture were in charge of running the household and taking care of the family. They would be in charge of cooking and cleaning as part of the household chores. They are owned by their husbands. Women are viewed as a piece of property. The husbands can marry multiple wives and therefore have many children. The more wives a man has the more masculine he seems. Along with this though, he needs to be able to keep his family under control. If he doesn’t have control of his family, he can kiss his masculinity goodbye. It is accepted for the men to abuse and beat their wives and children. Okonkwo beat his wives.
He even shot at one. He was never close emotionally with any of his family. He was lacking in personal connections. Some may believe that this is why his son swayed from his father’s strict lifestyle for a more relaxed one. In the culture of Okonkwo’s people, it is expected that if you have twins, you bring them into the forest and leave them there to die. In our society today that is completely unheard of let alone expected. This is also similar to human sacrifices as well as killing someone due to their ill fate. Okonkwo’s adoptive son Ikemefuna was killed by the men of the tribe. Okonkwo took part in this because the oracle concluded that Ikemefuma must die. Okonkwo kills Ikemefuma to show the other men in the tribe that he is not weak. It is ironic that Ikemefuna is, besides Okonkwo, the manliest man in his family. The tribe members honored many Gods. This is something that not many religions do anymore. They believed a separate God took care of every little thing. I believe this is part of the reason they had so many feasts.
They wanted to properly honor each God so they would continue to bless them. When Nwoye, his son, decides to go against his father’s wishes and convert to Christianity, he is disowned by his father and also shunned by most of the townsmen. This reminds me of the Amish. If they decide to leave their Amish ways behind them, they are also disowned and shunned. This is a custom still practiced in some parts of the country. There are missionaries today who aim to convert people to their religions. They spend their lives trying to convince people that their way is the right way. Some people are responsive to it, others are not. They don’t stop trying though. They believe they are pleasing God with their works. They believe that they will be rewarded in the afterlife. The customs of the people in Things Fall Apart and the customs that we practice today are very different. I think that we could all learn from one another and that is why there has been so much change in the past. Not only women’s rights but also laws against domestic violence, as well as many different religions being taught and coming about. All in all I believed that society has improved upon itself but also has a lot of work to do.