Examine the role of the supernatural in Things Fall Apart.  

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is as much a novel about the relationship between Christianity and traditional African religion as it is about the relationship of British colonialism to the Igbo people of Nigeria. Set in the second half of the nineteenth-century, Things Fall Apart is an historical novel weaving imaginary characters with real events. It should be noted that although from a modern, western point of view, many of the elements of Igbo belief would be considered supernatural, for the characters in the story and the Igbo of the period, these phenomena would have been considered precisely the reverse, part of a vision of nature in which gods, spirits, the land, and all living creatures were part of the same world.

Within the novel, Okonkwo is described as having an unbalanced chi, or spiritual nature, something that westerners would consider supernatural. He is described as displeasing Ani, an earth goddess, and her displeasure driving part of the plot. The Oracle which demands the sacrifice of Ikemefuna is another supernatural element, as are the ogbanje, the changelings who are reborn, and their sacred stones. Another supernatural element is the belief that twins offend the earth god, and thus the practice of killing one of the pair of twins. A final supernatural element is the belief in ancestral spirits. 

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