English IV Honors
7 December 2012
Democracy becomes a reoccurring theme that is attempted in many societies like the Igbo society. Although the Igbo system of government is not perfect it does illustrate origins of democracy that seem to be better and instituted more in the Igbo culture than the European culture. The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe depicts the life of a Nigerian man named Okonkwo who desperately tries to overcome the negative name his father has implicated on him. Although The Igbo society does not hold any person to the wrongs or rights committed by their family, Okonkwo is still worried of being seen as lazy and not successful. This fear drives Okonkwo to wanting to become successful, until one day he makes a mistake by accidently shooting a young boy and his therefore kicked out of the clan. Time goes by while Okonkwo is situated in his mother’s land, where he learns great qualities and retrieves his values. When he comes back to his land of Umoufia it is controlled by the white missionaries, and he feels that everything is declining and causes him to take a stand. Okonkwo fought to retain his culture back to their traditional values, but was unsuccessful causing him to hang himself. The Igbo society is more democratic than the Europeans because they give women more rights; and every man has the same opportunity to succeed in life.
The Igbo system of government is highly effective because it allows a person not to be limited and concealed to the worth or achievements of their family. Okonkwo is a perfect example Achebe says,” It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father. Even as a little boy he had resented his father’s failure and weakness” (Achebe 13). Even though Okonkwo’s father was an agbala (a man who had taken no title) this did not govern Okonkwo’s future. Okonkwo, in the Igbo system of government is still able to rise in society even though his father did not achieve greatness. The Igbo system of government allowed Okonkwo to gain fame at the age of eighteen when he threw Amalinze the Cat in wrestling. Amalinze had never before been thrown in his 5 years of wrestling, which gave Okonkwo a lot of respect. Okonkwo was therefore well respected by many of his peers; Okonkwo then asked Nwakibie for 400 hundred yam seeds, and Nwakibie granted Okonkwo this request. Even though the harvest was very treacherous, Okonkwo still survived and worked through it. This meant Okonkwo could bypass any struggle that presented him in the future because he endured such a difficult obstacle. In Europe’s society this would have not been possible, because Okonkwo would be viewed and looked down upon to the mere rankings of a peasant because of his family’s past. Even with Okonkwo hardworking attitude and great fighting skills it would still be very difficult for him to rise above his rank and climb up in social classes because of what he is already initially distinguished with. Rhoads say, “Achebe Refers his Igbo society to a series of standards which both Africans and Americans can seek goals- a degree of redistribution of wealth a combining of male and female principles , compelling art and poetry