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Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

The beliefs of the Ibo people embraced both the traditional gods of their ancestors, as well as the Christian rituals of the European colonizers. Look over the passages that cover the death and burial of Ezekiel Odia. How do these belief systems work together? Where do they clash?

Aku-nna and her brother, Nna-nndo, are raised according to their gender. What are the major differences in how their roles are defined? Although gender roles in America might not be as rigidly defined and the differences in raising boys and girls may be very subtle, do you think children in the United States grow up with any restrictions based on gender? List these restrictions, however slight, as they might appear, for instance, in the American home, or in teacher expectations in elementary school, or in relationships between young men and young women in high school.

Ma Blackie is often caught up in her culture's traditions. However, she is an intelligent woman who has lived in the city and her thoughts differ slightly from the other woman in her village. In what ways does Ma Blackie break, or at least stretch, some of the boundaries imposed on her by her village traditions?

Menstruation signals the emergence of a young girl into womanhood. In The Bride Price a traditional ceremony is performed to honor this transition. In American culture, there is little, if any, celebration of this passing from one stage to the other. If you could create such a ceremony, what elements would you include? Think about this transition as a rite of passage and write a description of such a ceremony. How could you use similar passages (like the metamorphosis of a butterfly) to symbolize change? Do you know of a poem that might be read to honor this transition? What role could men play? How might you use music, dance, and costumes?

There is only slight, overt mention of Europeans and European culture in The Bride Price. However, despite the subtle references, European culture is definitely a strong and intrusive issue in this story of the Ibo people. Find passages that make references to the colonial powers. How are the Ibo people influenced by the European culture? Think in terms of the schools, the churches, and the European laws.

Most of the world is ruled under a system of patriarchy—social organization marked by the supremacy of the male (or father) and the...

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