The entails a place known as Umuofia, which is a cluster of nine villages situated in lower Niger. Umuofia does not only have a great population, but it also has a powerful clan that is skilled in war, advanced social institutions, and is proud of its traditions. Okonkwo, the main character, is a wealthy and decorated warrior of the Umuofia clan. The actions of his spendthrift and cowardly father, Unoka, haunt him, as he died with numerous village debts unsettled. In response, he became a farmer, clansman, warrior, and family provider. Therefore, this paper will expound on the themes of power and family, customs and traditions, and class of cultures, as expressed in the novel.
Power and family is a significant theme in the novel. All men in Umuofia are expected to perform an extraordinary activity to obtain respect. Okonkwo is an epitome of power. As the novel commences, he shoves Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling tournament, an act that added to his fame. Additionally, the physical appearance of Okonkwo indicates authority. “He was huge and tall, had a wide nose and bushy eyebrows that added to his severe look. He breathed heavily, and it was rumored that when he slept, his children and wife in their houses could hear him breathing.” Besides, unlike Unoka, his lazy father, Okonkwo has won many titles.
The traditional Igbo culture demands that men must assume total control of their household. Also, the Igbo family has several main ideas that establish the roots of an ideal family, which include unity, respect for the past fathers, and mutual respect amongst each other. The father does not only provide for the family but also defend its honor, which explains why Okonkwo takes care of his family with a heavy hand. The colonization of Umuofia by the white man exposes their religion of class of cultures. First, the people of Umuofa worship many gods. They worship Agbala the oracle of the Hills and Caves when they have neighborhood disputes and when they want to determine their future. The Igbo have varying customs and rituals that go along with a specific god. It is evidenced by the week of peace in which they honor the goddess Ani to bless their crops.
Lastly, there are non-religious facets of the Igbo culture. For example, they have different rituals and ceremonies that surround marriage and courtship. Arguably, it is an important cultural aspect for men to have more than one wife. Achebe creates the themes of customs and traditions through a presentation of validity, strength, and beauty of the traditional life and values. The Igbo customs and traditions are filled with beauty and pride, which is evidenced by individuals who are motivated to lead a simple life and believe in the poetry of life. Their behavior highlights sharing in the sorrows and happiness of others. Also, they are willing to assist others at work. Among their greatest customs and traditions is the feast of the New Yam. The Igbo people use this festivity to thank the earth goddess, the source of all fertility. To this end, Achebe is portraying a society that grows in the pillars of its democracy, music, art, and justice.