Ezinma: The "Ogbanje" Child in Achebe's "Things
However, both stories also explain relationships that are out of balance. These stories may provide parallels to Okonkwo's gender imbalance. wrapped in a dirty rag, the medicine man breaks Ezinma's bond with the world of the ogbanje. Some agonizing moments that members of Okonkwo's household undergo Ekwefi has a special relationship with Ezinma, “an only child and the centre of her mother's Ezinma is born an ogbanje (55), a child who endlessly appears in her. Ezinma has iba - a fever - and Okonkwo leaves to cut some plants in the nearby bush Their relationship is one beyond simply mother and child because of The medicine man believed that the children were ogbanje, an evil childlike spirit .
Chielo, who leads a double existence as a widowed mother of two as a and priestess, is in a sense a second, spiritual to Ezinma.
In one intriguing scene Chielo asks Ekwefi how Ezinma is. Perhaps she has come to stay," answers Ekwefi. While a survive Chielo's know that who words have live, infancy usually villagers ogbanjes Soon deeper meaning. This ill, turns she comes out to be a journey of healing and release for Ezinma, the last one she takes to the spirit world.
Things Fall Apart Teacher’s Guide
Ezinma appears to stabilize. After Chielo brings her back to Ekwefi and Okonkwo, She grows into a healthy and beautiful woman. Perhaps the only surviving ogbanje characteristic is Ezinma's periodic moodiness, when the only person she can tolerate is her father Ezinma seems aware that her father's In her relationship with Okonkwo, is toward her attitude uncommonly loving partly due to his troubled relationship with the spirit world.
Because of her peculiar spirituality as an ogbanje, Ezinma's love can give great comfort to aman who has offended the deities by beating his wife during theWeek of Peace and by killing Ikemefuna, who called him "father. This desire to be strong and well to become aman of great stature in Umuofia. Okonkwo respected pushes Okonkwo treats Ezinma as would any father who remembers the trauma he and Ekwefi have gone through in coping with the "repeater" infant.
After 10 rebirths, when Ezinma seems inclined to stay, Okonkwo accepts the child who comes after such struggle; he College Literature admires her gift for survival, her strength to resist wandering between the spiritual and human worlds: She has the right tells his friend Obierika For this daughter the normally stoic spirit," Okonkwo Okonkwo will do things he would never do for anyone else.
Only Ezinma can awaken Okonkwo's account On qualities. During his remorseful isolation after stabbing Ikemefuna, Okonkwo allows only Ezinma to enter his hut to bring him food and tolerates her mother-like must finish scolding: He instigates, albeit in a blustery manner, the search for Ezinma's iyi-uwa. He even comes into Ekwefi's hut the night Ezinma falls ill and tends to his daughter himself? On the night when Chielo takes Ezinma on a spiritual journey to theOracle's cave, Okonkwo disobeys the cannot find his wife priestess and, like his wife, secretly follows his daughter.
When he and daughter after several searches, he admits that he "had become gravely worried" one another at the mouth of the cave, And when the couple finally find takes Ekwefi in his arms, the only act of uninhibited love he allows himself Okonkwo the novel. On the one hand, we seeOkonkwo as feminine stubbornly suppressing both the women around him and what he views The traits? A stern romance, husband, lack he of physical responds strength, failures in authority to Obierika's disapprovingly story of the old married couple who "had one mind" He dismisses as "awoman's tale" the folktale about the Ear and the Mosquito, which celebrates the primacy of women son Nwoye's lack of interest in warfare and stories of And he attributes his heroism to the too many hours Nwoye has spent listening to his mother's stories.
On the other hand, Achebe shows us that Okonkwo himself is not immune to emotional excesses, as evident in his abuse of his wives over trivial disagreements.
Similarly, he seeks refuge in his "motherland" when he commits a "female" crime by mistakenly killing a boy during Ezeudu's funeral Above all, the child who pleases him the most of is not his son but his daughter Ezinma. These ironic juxtapositions Okonkwo's manliness and the circumstances of his life ultimately betray the fallacy of an exclusively masculine ethos. If Ezinma is a source of comfort for Okonkwo throughout his troubled life, it is because she subdues his manhood, balancing the masculine and the feminine attributes to make him a full person.
TFA Study Questions
Grappling with her own tentative nature and the anxiety of others, she not only displays a unique personality but serves to reveal the psychological depth of those characters with whom she interacts? Okonkwo, Ekwefi, and Chielo. However, just at the peak of her prominence at the end of Part One, Achebe pushes Ezinma into the exile and the cultural upheaval in background and focuses instead on Okonkwo's Umuofia after the arrival of Christian missionaries.
The author allows us glimpses of Ezinma on only a few occasions, as if to suggest that his undermining of the ogbanje child is deliberate and significant. In traditional Umuofia, prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the ogbanje child has been the tangible evidence of the intertwined Igbo cosmos, unifying the human and the the Judeo replace Chukwu with spiritual in one earthly body. The missionaries and priestesses with Christian God, personal chis with Christ, the medicine-men Christian ministers.
As a result the unity of the Igbo cosmos is threatened by the Christian theology, which prescribes a strictly mediated communion between the human the and context In this the divine. Yet for Achebe this reminder is ultimately crucial.
He places a great deal of faith in the power of the past to heal thewounds of the present. Ezinma is a vivid expression of his faith. Amid pervasive change, she stands out as a symbol of hope, renewal, and continuity for both Okonkwo and Umuofia. After all, the ogbanje's cycle of births and attests deaths as much to cosmic unity as it does to the human determination to survive even in the gravest adversity. During his exile inMbanta, Okonkwo views Ezinma as his most permanent link to his native village.
He may lose Nwoye to Christianity, but he can count on Ezinma as a kindred spirit. She shares his bitterness about being away she goes about violently the family's last harvest in Mbanta, from home. During on cassava the the small tubers, crop "poor soil" of exile On uprooting blaming Okonkwo's request she agrees to turn down her many suitors in Mbanta in order to marry in Umuofia enabling Ezinma will be her father's offering to Umuofia, him "to return with a flourish and regain the seven wasted years" Regarding Umuofia's uncertain destiny, the ogbanje child again bears the promise the arrival of the Christian mission, of continuity and renewal.
With the Umuofia residents become like "living dead" themselves, on the one hand suffering the clash of the alien with the traditional, and on the other trusting their determination to tran scend the chaotic present with a renewed sense of cultural identity. Why is the exile ironic? When and how is the white man introduced?
What attitudes toward the Igbo people do the white men bring and how do their attitudes determine their treatment of the Igbo people?
How does Achebe use incidents to paint the general character of the white colonizers? Character and Conflict 1. How does Okonkwo achieve greatness as defined by his culture?Okonkwo kills Nwoye
Why is Unoka, who suffers from a swelling in the stomach, left to die in the evil forest? How does Okonkwo differ from his father? What are his feelings toward his father? Cite examples in the attitude and actions of Okonkwo that show the Igbo division of what is considered manly and what is considered womanly.
Why is Okonkwo unhappy with his son and heir? How do his feelings toward Nwoye compare with his feelings toward Ikemefuna? Why is Ikemefuna killed? How does Nwoye react to the sacrifice? Okonkwo changes significantly after the killing of Ikemefuna.
Why does Nwoye convert to Christianity? How does his conversion affect his relationship with his father? How is his portrayal different from the Igbo characters? Compare and contrast him with other white colonists. How do his actions show disdain for Igbo traditions? Setting and Society 1.
The novel begins in Umuofia and ends in Umuofia. What surprises you about life in an African tribal community? What preconceptions did you bring to your reading that were either reinforced or changed?
Why do the community celebrations make Okonkwo unhappy? Igbo culture is patriarchal. What is the role of women in the community? Does their role make them less valuable than men? How does wife beating reflect the community attitude toward women? Near the beginning of the novel, we learn that Okonkwo has several wives. What does this arrangement reveal about family life in the community?
Describe the Igbo extended family system. How does it help Okonkwo to survive his exile in Mbanta? Compare and contrast Umuofia and Mbanta.
How do their similarities and differences add to an understanding of the Igbo culture? A significant social marker in Igbo society is the honorific title system.
Describe how the use of titles allows Igbo members to compare themselves with each other. What is the symbolic meaning of the Week of Peace for the Igbo people? Agriculture is important in the Igbo community. How does sharecropping contribute to the prosperity of the community? How does it affect individuals? What is the significance of the yam? What is the purpose of the New Yam Festival? How is it related to the religion of the community?
Explain the concept of ogbanje. Show how it is reflected in the relationship of Ekwefi and Ezinma. What do these rituals reveal about the level of sophistication of pre-colonial Igbo civilization? How does pre-colonial life in Umuofia differ from Western society? Cite examples of any similarities and differences. Themes and Motifs 1. How is the theme of fate or destiny illustrated through the actions of the characters? Fear is pervasive throughout the novel. How does fear affect the actions of Okonkwo?
How is the concept of change and the response to change presented in the novel? What is the significance of the song sung at the end of Chapter Twelve? How does this new song convey the theme of change?
How does Chukwu compare with the Christian concept of a supreme being? Use the conversation between Akunna and Mr. Brown to support your comparison. How is Christianity depicted? Why does Achebe focus on the Trinity? How does education advance Christianity among the Igbo people? What are the human consequences of the collision between the two cultures? Describe both the societal and personal clashes.
Ezinma: The "Ogbanje" Child in Achebe's "Things
Imagery and Language 1. Achebe seamlessly merges Igbo vocabulary into the general text. Explain how he helps readers to understand Igbo words and concepts that have no English language equivalents.
How does this use of language convey a sense of Igbo culture? Explain the importance of folktales in the informal education of the children. Why does Nwoye like the tales of his mother better than those of his father? How does the legend of the old woman with one leg help to explain why the other clans fear Umuofia? How does the language of the women and children differ from that used by the priests, diviners, and titled men? What is the significance of this difference? Wrestling is a recurring image.
In addition to the literal match at the beginning of the novel, what are other examples of the theme of wrestling and how do they contribute to the overall theme? What is the significance of the drums in communication among the villages of Umuofia?