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I need to find as many passages as I can that refer to "chi" in Things Fall...

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yellek | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted September 29, 2013 at 7:27 PM via web

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I need to find as many passages as I can that refer to "chi" in Things Fall Apart.  Below are the ones I have found.  Can you help find another and explain it?

Chapter 14, a “man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi.

Chapter 4, "But the Ibo people have a proverb that when a man says yes his chi says yes also." (pg 27)

Chapter 3, He had a bad chi or personal god, and evil fortune followed him to the grave, or rather to his death, for he ha no grave." pg 18

Chapter 9, “But she had grown so bitter about her own chi that she could not rejoice with others over their good fortune. “ (pg 79)

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 30, 2013 at 5:27 AM (Answer #1)

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Your second reference to chi is actually on part of the quote, and this is a very important quote that includes another reference to chi. Note what the narrator tells us about the character of Okonkwo through the following quote and how it reveals the kind of person that he is:

At the most one could say that his chi or personal god was good. But the Ibo people have a proverb that when a man says yes his chi says yes also. Okonkwo said yes very strongly; so his chi agreed.

This is an interesting quote, as it reveals that people are impacted by their chi. It is not simply a case of somebody's life being shaped by the personal god or chi that they have without any involvement or input from themselves. The quote indicates that such matters are shaped very much by the willpower of the chi, and as Okonkwo was the kind of man who had massive willpower, his own chi responded in kind, and this is what lay behind his dramatic rise to power in his village and amongst his people. This quote demonstrates that Okonkwo is a character to watch; a character whose willpower is so strong that he has the potential for greatness, but also for tragedy. 

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