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Notion of Balance

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Notion of Balance

Things fall apart, a novel about Igbo culture in Nigerian region, recounts variety of themes behind
the content, such as power of religion, importance of social status, tolerance, gender issues, and so on;
however in this essay, different, but not least significant topic will be considered notion of balance. To
begin with, the novel has as an epigraph part taken from William Butler Yeatss poem The Second
Coming, for as much as whole poem is built upon the idea of balance in every aspect of life. William
Butler states that when things are departed far from the centre and therefore balance becomes distorted,
anarchy is prevailing over the world. This context is literally akin to Umuofian community in pre and post
colonial times. Chinua Achebe describes the reality of relatively primitive culture, meanwhile portraying
both perfections and imperfections, opposite of every appearance, damage and even the benefit brought
by Christian missionaries.
Readers are well aware that, patriarchal system was predominated in the small village. Males
were the ones who could receive the titles, they were the ones who served as judges, took part in the most
important sport events, made the most important speeches, their thought were more valued and respected.
Males showed this superiority in family affairs too; even the fact of polygamy represented it, sometimes
via moral abuse and violence, no matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women
and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man. Unworthy and untitled men were
called women, or Agbala, which was considered as greatest insult. Yet particular customs show that this
supremacy of the males in some ways in evened. For example, the holiest place in the town was Oracle of
the Hills and Caves, which was called Agbala. No one had ever beheld the Agbala, except his priestess.
These priestesses were usual women in Umuofia, who carried that particular responsibility; People
believed in goddesses, such as goddess of the earth Ani. In addition, one of the most important
professions, such as in medicine, was occupied again by the women, and medicine itself was called agadi-

Notion of Balance
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nwayi, or old woman. Moreover, there were rare cases, when husbands truly respected their wives, for
example Ozoemena and his first wife, who died together with her husband, and had ideal understanding
of each other. It may sound ridiculous, to speak about gender equality in such tribes, however the roles are
redistributed according to their capabilities. For example, women had their special type of crops to take
care of, which was easier to do; they did cooking and looking over children, comparing to heavy job of
the men in and outside the household, obi. This outlines the notion of balance, and its importance into
regulating the gender structure peacefully and more or less fairly.
Main character Okonkwo, achieves prosperity through his physical intensity and courage,
because he was a man of action. He became known in 9 villages and even further as the youngest
wrestler, who won all the battles, he succeed into building two barns full of yams, huge household, large
family with three wives and eight children, though he did not have a start in his life, because his father
Unoka, was weak, cowardly man and failed to live worthy life. On contrary, there were men of the words,
rather than of action. Elderly people of the village, or ndichie, were the ones who distinguished as wise
class of the society. They thought of all the proverbs, myths, small stories that later influenced people, and
were transmitted from generation to generation. Both of the characteristics were highly valued, and it
determined the strength of Umuofia, since it was feared by neighboring countries, because it was
powerful in war and in magic, and in its priests and medicine men. This power did not only depend on
the size of an army or equipment, but the balance between the physical and mental dominancy was
dreadful for surroundings.
Ibo people have a proverb that when a man says yes his chi says yes also. Chi is consideration
of the personal god, which accompanies every individual and imposes luck or ill-fate to its future life.
Umuofians have a faith of Chukwu supreme god, which has sent the messengers to direct the lifestyle of
villagers. They also believe that when a man is at peace with his gods and his ancestors, his harvest will
be good or bad according to the strength of his arm.