What is the role of weather in Things fall Apart? How does it work symbolically or otherwise in relation to important elements of the novel such as religion? are rain and drought significant?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The effect of the weather and its spiritual implications are shown in Part I of the book. One of the chief beliefs of the Igbo people is that of "chi". "Chi" is the "personal god-force or fate" of a person. A person with weak chi can only succeed by working extremely hard. Unoka, Okonkwo's father, had weak chi, and was said to be a failure. Okonkwo believes he has inherited his father's weak chi and therefore, he works very hard. This idea also give Okonkwo an excuse when things go badly for him. He does not have to take personal responsibility for his actions; bad things are a result of the bad chi he inherited from his father. Therefore, when a drought destroys Okonkwo's harvest, he blames it on his chi. The next year, he survives because he works extremely hard and possesses an iron will. Okonkwo's will and determination are characteristics that help him survive in the beginning of the novel, but his failure to change his traditional beliefs will eventually destroy him.

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Things Fall Apart

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