Things Fall Apart And Traditional Igbo Culture Run Hand In Hand
A lot of events in Things Fall Apart are
very close to folktales that are
traditionally told in Igbo culture. There
are three main stories that I could relate
to one another. They are called Obaledo,
The King's Drum, and Why The Hawk
How 'Obaledo' Relates To 'Things Fall Apart'
In the story, someone was told by another person they trusted not to do something, or it would have consequences they do not want. In 'Things Fall Apart', the same thing happens. Okonkwo is told by his friend, his closest ally and probably his only friend for that fact, to stay out of Ikemefuna's death. Ikemefuna thought of him as a father and he said it would be wrong to take part. Okonkwo did not heed his warning and went with his clansmembers regardless. And like the girl in the story, his snails caused the fire to go out. Because he went with them to kill Ikemefuna, it caused him to be weaker and eventually kill him out of fear. Now, because he did not listen to his trusted friend, he killed a boy who looked up to him.
So the fire is out, because he cooked the snails.
The demon is on it's way now. Okonkwo is riddled with guilt, and anger because he is guilty. He is confused and certainly frustrated. It is similar to the daughter's walk to get wood. She was frustrated the fire went out, and scared she would get in trouble. The demon for Okonkwo was his gun exploding. He killed a boy and therefore had to leave the clan for seven years. Because of this he lost credibilty, his honor, and had to leave his land.
Just like the daughter lost her beauty. They are close parallels for certain and is only the beginning of Achebe's use of real folktales as events in his book.
One day there was a hawk who fell in love with a hen. He paid the price to keep her as his own and he waited while she went to the fattening house to fatten up to be his wife. He waited and waited and finally she arrived. The hawk was overjoyed and they were happy for a short time. But the hawk had to leave for a few days and the hen grew restless. While out and about, she came across a handsome cock and decided she wanted to be with him instead. So she ran away to be with him as his wife. When the hawk came home and saw that she had left him, he was furious. He went to the hen's family and demanded that they give him back his bride price but they had already spent it and could not give it back. He took his situation to the council and they declared that because the chickens were unable to give him the hen or the bride price, he was allowed to steal chicken eggs or chickens themselves any time that he wishes.
Why A Hawk Kills
This folktale does not line up perfectly with events in the book, but it is certainly reminiscent and could be taken as something that happens. In 'Things Fall Apart' there is a trial because there is a man who was a wife that was taken back to her family because he was accused of beating her every single day with no break. They stated their arguments and it was similar in the sense that the bride's family did no longer have the bride price that they were paid and could not return it when the husband came for it. But the difference is that because of his abuse against his wife, he had to give sacrifices and pay more cola nut and other foods, AND apologize and swear to never hurt her again in order to get her back.
But the premise is still the same and is very close to the traditional Igbo story.
How 'Why A Hawk Kills Chickens' Relates To 'Things Fall Apart'
Achebe's Goals In 'Things Fall Apart'
'Things Fall Apart' is a book riddled with true folktales that are told in Igbo culture. Many events overlap with multiple tales and many could reach.
The story of the tortoise and the sky could show how Okonkwo abuses his power and treats the people who care and love him wrongly, so in the end they no longer care.
The tortoise with a pretty daughter relates to Okonkwo's loyalty to Enzima and prides her as a daughter, even wishing she was a son, but in the end she is still a girl.
Why the bat flies at night is extremely similar to the twisted actions of the white guards to abused the clan leaders and raised the decided price needed for their release.
Achebe tells not only a story that discusses the true side of Igbo culture and creates his own tale using accurate things that would happen; he uses real folktales for his events. Everything circles back to Igbo culture. He wants to teach people about his society and he figures out a way to use real culture to explain it.