In the novel "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe, how does the author portray Igbo culture and tradition? 

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kcoleman2016 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his novel Things Fall Apart, author Chinua Achebe subtly reveals Igbo culture through three different methods.

First, he illustrates the sociocultural, philosophical, and practical elements of Igbo culture through anecdote. The different stories and events that follow the life of Okonkwo, his protagonist, and his family members reveal different elements of Igbo culture through exposition. 

However, Achebe contrasts this natural and familiar revelation of Igbo culture with a presentation of Igbo culture through a Western imperialistic lens. With the appearance of the white missionaries and later colonists, Igbo culture, along with its superstitions, religions, and social practices, is painted as foreign and "inherently inferior." 

The most interesting portrayal of Igbo culture is in fact through the style of the novel itself. Achebe writes Things Fall Apart in the manner of Igbo narrative, drawing many seemingly unrelated events and anecdotes together to paint an overarching narrative with richly complex characters, conflicts, and themes. This style is drastically different from Western culture, with its direct trajectory, and is an implicit demonstration of Igbo cultural values and practice.