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Things Fall Apart Motif- Chi

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Colin Lilya

on 14 February 2013

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Transcript of Things Fall Apart Motif- Chi

Chi Things Fall Apart Chi Quotes In Book Chi and Okonkwo Chi in relation to a theme Chi and the Plot Chi in relation to a theme In the Igbo society, an individual's "chi" was its personal god. The chi was thought to have influenced their every daily life, either for the better or the worst, and helped to determine a person's "destiny." As it was thought to have been the job of the chi to protect them, everyone had a statue to honor their chi. "That was not luck. At most one could say that his chi or personal god was good." Pg. 27
When Okonkwo was young, he won the title of "greatest wrestler in all the land," and the others didn't attribute that to his personal strength or hard work, but to his chi. At the beginning of Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo appears to have a good chi due to his titles and wealth, but as misfortune fell upon him, so did the prodigy of his chi. Despite the fact that others allocated his achievements to his chi, he seemed to think otherwise, like perhaps that they were a result of his hard work. However, when misfortune condemned him, he blamed his chi. This displayed his enormous pride and lack of personal responsibility because he could not accept the fact that he may have made the wrong decision. The representation of the chi helps to characterize Okonkwo as prideful, along with other qualities. Chi plays a major role as not only the source of internal conflict within Okonkwo, but also as the reasoning for many decisions which both drove and limited Oknonkwo and his fellow villagers. The concept of chi nurtured Okonkwo's tragic flaw, in a way. Because he could merely blame his mishaps on his chi, he was never really forced to take responsibility for his own actions and curb his pride. Because of the limits that Okonkwo's chi drove his pride, he was tragically flawed; a flaw that led to his eventual downfall. Chi does correlate to another main theme in the Things Fall Apart which, would be the struggle between change and tradition. The relation between this theme and the chi may not seem too important but it can change your perspectives on how many that you've already read in the book. As Christian missionaries tried to convert local clansmen, and did succeed with a few converts but have you ever thought about how those new converts have left behind the thoughts of chi and how there was once a chi determined their life and the way he/she may have thought. Instantly, the belief a person having their chi or "personal god" was gone. "He had been cast out of his clan like a fish onto a dry, sandy beach, panting. Clearly his person god, or chi was not made for great things." Pg. 131
After being cast out of his clan, Okonkwo is related to a fish out of water, doomed by a chi that "was not made for great things." " The saying of the elders was not true-- if a man said yea his chi also affirmed.Here was a man whose chi said despite his own affirmation" Pg.131
A person's chi does not always agree to what the person may think is right, and the chi acts upon it's own will. One the main themes throughout Things Fall Apart was the varies interpretations of masculinity. In the terms of the Umuofia clan a man must never display the traits of a "agabala" or women. Masculinity as an overall theme does relate to chi because a person's chi controls or determines one's good fortune or destiny. So, if a man does not have any other choice but to act or portray characteristics of a women due to the situation surrounding the person may cause the people around him/her to look down upon them due to the lack of masculinity. Chi and the theme of masculinity do not go hand and in hand but depending on the situation this theme and motif can create a relation with one another.
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