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Chapters 12 and 13: Opposites and Tensions

Masculine vs feminine customs, happy vs sad occasions and the dramatic twist which concludes Part One of the novel

Jasmine Ong

on 18 May 2010

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Transcript of Chapters 12 and 13: Opposites and Tensions

Double click anywhere & add an idea Chapter 12 and 13
Opposites and tensions Chapter 12 The wedding of Obierika's daughter, Akueke
"It was really a woman's ceremony and the central figures were the bride and her mother" (97)
The bridegroom and relatives bring palm-wine for the bride's immediate and extended family
In return, the bridge and her mother are responsible for feeding the crowd Analysis of Chapter 12 Unity of the village
The entire village is involved, and all the women help prepare the feast, even Ekwefi, who is exhausted from the previous night's journey chasing Chielo
Sitting in two semi circles forming a circle symbolises unity within the village and among the villages of Umuofia
A time of happiness, peace and cooperation before the coming of the white man shatters that rapport Chapter 13 The funeral of Ezeudu
Because Ezeudu is a great warrior, he is given a grand funeral, with warriors and egwugwu present
Just as the beating of drums and firing of guns reach their peak, there is a cry of pain and shouts of horror
Okonkwo has accidentally killed the dead man's son with his gun
Irony of how the man who was mocked for his poor marksmanship has shot dead a young man
He has to be punished as he has committed a serious crime against the Earth goddess
But as his is the lesser crime ("male" and "female" crimes), he is banished to his motherland, Mbanta, for seven years
Obierika and other men dressed as warriors come to destroy his property
They have nothing against Okonkwo but have to cleanse the land, for Okonkwo has polluted it with the blood of a clansman
"If one finger brought oil it soiled the others" (109) Analysis of Chapter 13 Funeral customs emphasis the relationship between men and their ancestors
Achebe: "A man's life from birth to death [is] a series of transition rites which [bring] him nearer and nearer to his ancestors"
Unlike Okonkwo who obeys laws unthinkingly, Obierika reflects deeply about these matters and wonders about the "greater complexities" of these customs
"Why should a man suffer so grievously for an offense he had committed inadvertently?" "What crime had [his twins] committed?"
Okonkwo, who had been regarded in such high esteem in Chapter 12, is banished in Chapter 13, marking the beginning of his decline Who exemplifies Igbo values better- Okonkwo or Obierika? What Igbo values does Okonkwo hold dear? How does Obierika complement/ offset Okonkwo?
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