The Ibo beliefs constitute an important element that is at the origin of holding them together. To what extent is this true?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The importance of the Ibo's traditional beliefs can be seen in the actions of the main character, Okonkwo. His belief in his traditional culture is the main rationale for the behavior. His fear of not being able to live up to the traditional beliefs about masculine behavior color his entire life. His inability to change and adapt to the white man's culture eventually causes his downfall.

Okonkwo's life is permeated with traditions that go back many generations. His entire goal in life is to be the kind of a man his father wasn't. In order to be successful, Okonkwo is driven to work hard himself and he becomes a rigid taskmaster to the rest of his family. His motivation stems from his goal to be respected member of his tribe. This means he will follow the traditions of growing as many yams as he can, buying as many titles as he can and marrying as many women as he can. Thus, he treats his own son, Nwoye, harshly because he doesn't see the "masculine" Ibo traits in him. Instead, he treats a captive boy, Inowye, better than his own son and then ruthlessly kills the boy because he is afraid he will not be thought of "as a man." When his customs and beliefs are challenged by the white man, Okonkwo is left with no chance at the respect he craves and "Things Fall Apart" for both Okonkwo and his people

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Things Fall Apart

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