Comment on the usage of proverbs in Chapter One of Things Fall Apart.

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

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Proverbs are mentioned in relation to the conversation that Okoye and Unoka have in the opening chapter of this tremendous novel. Achebe uses them because, above all, he is trying to create an impression of this tribal society in all of its beauty and mannerisms, and, as we can see if we read the novel, proverbs were used extensively by this tribe to show the way that the art of conversation was so important. Note what the text tells us about the use of proverbs for this culture:

Having spoken plainly so far, Okoye said the next half a dozen sentences in proversb. Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten. Okoye was a great talker and he spoke for a long time, skirting round the subject and then hitting it finally.

This quote helps us to identify the importance of conversation in this culture and the way that proverbs were considered to be akin to gem stones in a good piece of conversation. Clearly Okoye uses proverbs to help "skirt round" the issue, avoiding direct confrontation and openly demanding his money back from Unoka. Proverbs therefore are something that the skilled communicator is able to use in this society.

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missnehajain | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Chinua Achebe is writing about the African society. Ibo is the proverb used representing the whole of African society culture....also how there tradition,language,culture all is overpowered by the Britishers...The fear of avoiding western or Britain culture consequence has been so dominating that even after British people have left there land they were fearful about the prior consequences.

earlier the Africa was known as black world or land...because must be there was very much dense forest. Britisher Say's or believe that they have enlighten the country. now what is the significance of enlightening it can be or must be in the spiritual sense. Chinua Achebe here is trying to motivate or or again trying to reinforce the African culture he wants to take out the fear from African people's mind which was once colonized by the Britisher's.

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