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Many societies have beliefs rooted deep in ancient religion Some beliefs include polygamy polytheism and patriarchy or rule by men One such culture is that of Achebes Things Fall Apart Polytheism and polygamy are custom in the clan and the role of each family member is very defined The men are overly domineering The women and children are treated poorly and often beaten Life in Achebes Umuofia would seem very different to someone living in modern day America Chinua Achebes 1959 novel Things fall Apart takes place in the 1890s just before British colonization The novel focuses on the nine Ibo-speaking villages of Umuofia which is Ibo for People of the Forest Umuofia is the village in which Okonkwo Achebes protagonist prospers in everything and is able to secure his manly position in the tribe Now known as Nigeria this land was a primitive agricultural society completely run by men Umuofia was known and as Achebe says feared by all its neighbors It was powerful in war and in magic and priests and medicine men were feared in all the surrounding country 11 Perhaps its most powerful and feared magic was called agadi- nwayi or old woman it had its shrine in the centre of Umuofia if anyone was so foolhardy as to pass by the shrine past dusk he was sure to see the old woman12 The people of Umuofia are very devoted to their religion and their magic These ancient beliefs were believed to give the people some sort of power over their oppressors One custom of Umuofia that would be very different from Western culture is Polygamy the practice of having many wives This custom is practiced in the connected nine villages of Umuofia In fact a mans wealth is partially measured by the number of wives he has A wealthy man described in Things Fall Apart had nine wives and thirty children Okonkwo had three wives and eight
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