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Things Fall Apart

             I really enjoyed reading the book Things Fall Apart. Achebe did an excellent job of portraying the pre-colonial culture of the Ibo. This book was not only educational, but entertaining as well. His ability to focus mainly on one individual and still show the complexity of the entire clan's beliefs and self-governing tactics was incredible. It is hard to believe that he was able to show us so many aspects of the pre-colonial culture in so few pages. This book definitely left me wanting to learn more about their culture. Some of the areas, I feel, really stood out to show they were a civilized people included their social organization, their economic system, and their religious beliefs. The Ibo seemed to have a very structured social order. Everything from the way one attains status in the village to the way the people receive their guests leads me to believe this. The use of titles in the village to determine status demonstrates that they had a hierarchy of sorts in place, much like we have judges, mayors, senators, and a president. For instance, the egwugwu acted as judges by passing sentence in disputes between the people. Their use of titles also seemed to make up a sort of government. Along the same lines, the way they interacted shows that they were a civil people. They seemed to try to settle everything peaceably, if at all possible. As Achebe pointed out, they believed that a "war of blame" was an unjust thing. Also, the way they interacted between each other leads me to believe they were not the "savages" the English had thought. The sharing of the kola nut and palm wine between neighbors shows a mutual respect for each other. They seemed to have a deep feeling of kinship not only among their families, but with the clan as a whole as well. Although it may be considered somewhat primitive by English standards, the Ibo had an existing economic system as well. Their economy was based on bags of cowry.

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